Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park 1

On my way to meet my cousin's new baby, I decided to grab some sandwiches from Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park to bring to the new parents. I had first visited the restaurant last summer with oldest nephew and lil' sis before we went to see Casablanca at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I don't know what possessed us to order the sandwich we did because it was so spicy that the three of us couldn't finish it, nor did we enjoy it very much. So Cook's Tortas stayed on the periphery as a place I should revisit at least one more time before I could blog it, but not as a restaurant that I had to eat at again right away.

So a year went by and I decided to try their food booth at AltaMed's 6th Annual East LA Meets Napa event. I liked my sandwich bite and agua fresca (Mexican fresh beverages) so much that I figured it was worth revisiting.

I liked the wall-sized chalkboard of menu offerings. This picture is old so the sandwiches are now $7.79 and include a free side.

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park 2

We'll start with my first visit last summer.

Selection of agua frescas. They cost about $3 each.

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We chose "red" fries ie. sweet potato fries to go with our sandwich and pineapple celery and cucumber lime agua frescas.

Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park 4

The ahogada, slow-cooked pork in spicy sauce and dipped in spicy sauce.

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In hindsight, I'm not sure why I ordered this because I don't like dipped sandwiches. Too mushy. It was so spicy that I couldn't really taste anything except the spice. Between the three of us, we couldn't even finish.

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This time around, I opted for the mojito, roasted pork, slow-cooked onions, and garlic mojo. Juicy and flavorful And no dip meant I could enjoy the ciabatta bread, housemade and different from the usual bollilos used in most Mexican tortas.

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I really loved the Cubano, ham, chicken, bacon, cheese, mustard, and pickled onions. Sooo yummy. As if you couldn't tell by the picture. Even splitting the sandwiches amongst the three of us, we didn't finish and I took a quarter of the Cubano home for later. And even cold, it was flavorful. The Cubano totally redeemed my first experience with Cook's Tortas.

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I got an order of sweet potato fries as one side, which Pablo scoffed down with enthusiasm, and an order of rice pudding. There are other side options of salads and fruit, but I think the sweet potato fries are best.

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When I went to pick up my order, I couldn't resist the palm-sized chocolate pecan cookie, $2.

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I also got a large pineapple celery agua fresca and my cousin, who normally doesn't like celery, really liked it too.

I haven't tried to eat the whole menu like Weezer Monkey did, but if you're a sandwich fan, Cook's Tortas is worth a visit. Just remember that if the menu says very spicy, it's very spicy. I liked my second visit better than my first, but Cook's Tortas has some serious fans. Actually, when I pulled up, a couple asked me to take a photo of them in front of the restaurant because they liked the sandwiches just that much.

Some other sandwich restaurant posts:
Banh Mi & Che CALI Bakery - Westminster (Little Saigon)
Banh Mi & Che Cali Restaurant - Alhambra
Bunk Sandwiches - Portland - Oregon
The Hat - Alhambra
Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen - Portland - Oregon
Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant - Los Angeles
The Oinkster - Eagle Rock
Tip Top Sandwiches - Garden Grove (Little Saigon)
Tito's Market - El Monte
Top Baguette - Westminster

Cook's Tortas
1944 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today, Tapioca Express Inc. - San Gabriel (Closed).
3 years ago today, "Meet Cute" Stockholm, Sweden.
4 years ago today, my cousins' housewarming.


  1. Oh man, those tortas look delicioussssss. I friggin' love tortas, but they're so rich and probably stuffed with tons of fats so I can't help but feel guilty over every bite of cheesy, smoky, greasy, chewy, meaty goodness. Have you ever made them at home? Is it even possible for regular home kitchens to come close to making a torta that tastes just as delicious?

  2. Also, Yay! You're back :D I hope all is well with you. So glad to see you posting again.

  3. OMG! the cubano sandwich looks fantastic! haven't found such thing here :(

  4. i have never tried a pineapple/celery drink. sounds interesting. the cucumber i have tried though.

  5. I love the aguas frescas flavors - and although I'm not a huge meat eater your mojito looks really good. Too bad about the ahogada - but then again ahogada does mean drowned in espanol because the sandwich is supposed to be drowned in sauce. PS> Happy 5 yr anniversary!! When are you coming to pdx next?

  6. Man, this looks fantastic! Esp those sweet potato fries. Reminds me a little of a place in El Monte called Titos. A little too far for weekday lunches and crowded as all get out, but great sandwiches.

  7. Haven't tried it yet (other than at E LA Meets Napa) but glad to see it was redeemed!

  8. I am so hungry (almost off work) and these pics make me even more hungry. Must find some snacks now.

  9. Moonypants,
    I don't know if these are any more fatty than any other sandwich shop. I've had regular Mexican tortas, not like these ciabatta rolls, and they tasted fine too. It's nice to be missed. :)

    The ingredients for a Cubano are simple enough to try and replicate at home.

    Even my celery-hating cousin liked the pineapple celery agua fresca.

    Yeah, I thought the drowned would be like a dipped sandwich. But I don't like those either. what was I thinking?! Just got back a few weeks ago. My parents are coming in a few weeks so not sure when I'll be home again.

    I love sweet potato fries! I blogged Tito's years and years ago. Love their NY steak sandwich.

    With that many sandwiches, I was bound to find one I liked.

    Don't read food blogs when you're hungry! That's what I've learned.


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