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At El Padrino, Meatless Monday Means Meatless Tortas, and That, Oddly Enough, is a Good Thing

At El Padrino, Meatless Monday Means Meatless Tortas, and That, Oddly Enough, is a Good Thing
Whitney Filloon

After last week's vegan pho fiasco, I wasn't too jazzed about another meatless meal, but reading Scott's V-Spot review inspired me, and I was encouraged to seek out tasty vegetarian options once again. El Padrino means "godfather", and that awesome name was enough to get me to stop here rather than continuing down Jefferson Boulevard to Tortas La Hechizera, my usual haunt for quick tasty Mexican food.

El Padrino is a tiny loncheria (I'm pretty sure that means "place of lunching" for all you gringos) with bars on the windows and just six tables. Two very friendly ladies manned the shop, one taking orders at the register and the other one right behind her at the flattop, piles of various meats sizzling as she chopped and flipped them with an oversized metal spatula.

Scanning the small menu of tacos and tortas, I ignored the potentially drool-inducing choriqueso option and honed in on the meatless stuff, ordering an egg and potato torta and an avocado taco with the standard cilantro and onions (on a flour tortilla, because store-bought flour tortillas > store-bought corn ones, although house-made corn tortillas are of course the best option). Spotting the giant beehive jars of aquas frescas behind the counter, I added a large piña. Total: less than eight bucks. After only a brief wait, I took my food to go in a paper sack and rushed home to devour it.

Hey, I never claimed to be a food photographer.
Hey, I never claimed to be a food photographer.

The torta's bolillo was slightly soggy from being tightly wrapped in foil on the way home, but after adding a generous splash of the included spicy green salsa to its contents (eggs, potatoes, lettuce, tomato, avocado and mayo) it was damn tasty and filling -- and messy, requiring the use of about twelve paper napkins. So filling, in fact, that I didn't even get to the avocado taco; it's now stashed away in my refrigerator and I plan to have it for dinner along with some cilantro-lime rice and a few Mexican beers.

By the way, if you're following this whole Meatless Monday thing, you might be interested in checking out this video, which illustrates the idea that eating fewer animal products could have a potentially dramatic effect on the environment and the economy. I'm just saying.


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