Thursday, August 5, 2010

Las Ricas Tortas

Tuesday August 3rd 2010
Las Ricas Tortas, 4930 Linbar Dr, Ste #2, Nashville, TN

Has anyone noticed a recurring theme as of late, where my meals are barely able to be enjoyed because someone keeps slipping me a mickey of shocking heat, inhibiting my focus, leaving my attention no other place to fall? Well, if you haven’t, I sure have, and its getting old I tell you, old.
We set out to find Las Ricas Tortas, a place that had come recommended by a few co-working acquaintance types, with little knowledge of its location except that it was somewhere behind a Hooters. There was a little trouble finding it, driving up and down the same stretch of road, never quite making it as far as needed until we figured we’d gone too far in the wrong direction. Eventually I had to admit defeat and seek guidance from the technology possessed by the modern cell phone, which led us straight to Hooters.
What lay behind it though was not as we’d hoped, a big Las Ricas Tortas sign, a clear view of the building. Instead we were set loose in a maze of vacant industrial parks and dreary apartment complexes pulling u-turns, donuts, figure eights.
Once located, there was a moment where we reconsidered, and tried to decide if we really should go in or not. I don’t know how either of us expected it to look, but definitely not like this. Its bright, brand new sign, spelled out in wacky lettering was a deterrent, it reminded me of a Smoothie King, or an El Pollo Loco, or some other B level chain. But we’d come all this way with this place in mind, so we went in.

It was while waiting for my food when I made my first mistake. A trio of El Yucateco hot sauces were over on the side of our table. I’ll never forget this brand, because the first time I tried it I’d mistaken it for a much milder hot sauce I’d had somewhere else and proceeded to drown my taco in it, fully realizing my mistake moments later. One of the bottles, a variety I hadn’t seen before, came with a warning; XXX EXTREMELY HOT was written right on the label. This was odd to me, because the other kind that was so unforgiving to me before came with no such warning. I guess curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to try half a spoonful of it to see if they were serious. The moment the sauce rolled off the spoon and laid upon my tongue, it hit me, of course they were serious. Why would they be kidding? Further examination of the bottle revealed the phrase “Original Mayan Recipe”. Be careful of this stuff, it’s out there.
A pastor con queso torta especialle is what I had. Tortas are something I rarely order, this was maybe only my second time having one. I figured since it was in the name of the business, it was the thing to have. It proved to be alright, a rather average sandwich roll filled with seasoned pork that had a nice crisp and chew to it, large chunks of frying cheese, and minced jalapenos. What exactly did it I’m not sure, but halfway through the thing, yet again, I was floating aimlessly on another plane of thought, the heat turning knobs in my brain that were meant to be left alone. Was it the El Yucateco Mayan recipe? That seemed like it had warn off with the aid of my large horchata a good minute or two before I had actually started eating. Was it the jalapenos? Or the seasonings in the pork? Or the containers of sauces I had helped myself to at the sauce bar? I couldn’t tell you for sure, but there I was again spending my cash (I won’t say hard earned, it was earned quite leisurely), on food that creates an invisible sauna-like force field around my body, impenetrable to assistance, that only weakens with the passing of time. Looks like that’s how it is for me these days.
Based on the recommendations we’d received I expected more than what we got, not to say that it was a bad place, just average. It being a good distance from my house and regular stomping grounds, I don’t see it being a regularly visited place, but if I happened to find myself stranded on the side of I-24 by the Harding Place exit, or applying for a job at the Hooters, or looking for some sketchy focus group office inside one of those industrial parks, I’d probably swing in for something to eat.

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