La Chiva Loca in Downey specializes in Guadalajara staples like pozole, goat birria, and, of course, tortas ahogadas. These tortas are made with an extra firm birote salado that gets nicely chewy after taking a cannonball dive into hot tomato salsa. The red sauce is deceivingly spicy and manages to seep into every bit of your torta as the bread absorbs the salsa like a sponge. The pickled red onions on top also add a nice acidic bite to La Chiva’s tender, slow-cooked carnitas and beef. Most torta ahogada shops in town will stick to meat fillings, but another Jalisco classic that loves taking a swim in salsa de tomate is milky panela cheese. La Chiva’s panela torta ahogada comes with thick slabs of white cheese that serve as yet another porous vehicle for spicy salsa (yes, it’s a spongy cheese in some spongy bread). The final result is a perfect bite of bread, queso, and salsa that will have you forgetting all about that 9 a.m. conference call you powered through this morning.
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