After all that driving around and lame tourist cheesesteak, the best sandwich of my trip was from a little counter in the back of a Mexican grocery, two blocks from Sean’s house.
Jalisco Mexican Grocery (1722 W. Gilpin Dr., Wilmington, Del.) only served three meats at the counter: beef, pork and tongue. Only two serving choices: taco, or torta, a sort of Mexican sub.
I had the tacos. Then, on my way back to I-95 for the seven-hour drive back to Buffalo, I got the tortas, $4 each, in beef and pork.
Stuck in traffic on the highway, a tendril of aroma reached out of the foil wrapping and tickled my nose. What the hey, I thought, I’m practically stopped anyway. I can dig into one of these bad boys.
So I did.
No lie: I considered turning around and going back for more.
Tender meat, more spiced than spicy, wedges of avacado, a little bit of mayonnaise or similar sauce, all on a griddled, crusty roll the size of a VHS tape. The heat came in the form of a plastic cup of chile salsa that was too hot for me to fool with.
This was my first torta, and it was a taste I wanted to repeat. But how could I do it in Buffalo, a town that is apparently the last place on Earth that Mexicans want to stay? Where even if you can find a Mexican restaurant with carne asada on the menu, you’ll never be able to tell that the meat is supposed to have met a chile marinade somewhere in its lifetime?
How, indeed? That is a question worth working on. Desperate times call for desperate measures.