Cook’s Tortas has been open for a year, but I haven’t had a chance to visit until this weekend. It’s in the same spot that used to be Paul’s Kitchen, for you old school Monterey Park residents. When I walked in, I was faced with a huge chalkboard full of all sorts of wonderful torta combinations. The restaurant boasts of handmade bread baked every morning and fresh ingredients, which is one reason why I was excited to try it. It also seems vegan and vegetarian friendly, always a plus in my book.
I ordered the ‘mojito’ torta, which contains roasted pork, garlic mojo, and slow cooked onions ($7). The pork was tender and fell apart easily. The garlic mojo was light and if I didn’t know it was there, I wouldn’t have noticed. It isn’t a punch-in-the-face amount of garlic, which is nice sometimes. The onions were soft and sweet, but don’t expect carmelized onions because they’re not.
The star of the torta was the bread. It had a slightly crispy exterior which gave way to a chewy, delicious interior. It was the perfect texture for a torta.
The BF ordered a modified grilled veggie torta ($7). It usually has mayonnaise and cheese on it, but he just asked them to leave it out. The resulting torta had garlic mojo, tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. I had a bite of this and thought it was pretty good as far as grilled veggie sandwiches go. It would have been better with a healthy smear of veganaise on each side of the bread. And maybe an avocado or a grilled portabello mushroom. Despite that, I think the BF was pleased with his sandwich.
Each sandwich also comes with a side which you can choose from in a glass display case by the cash register. The only vegan side seems to be the mixed fruit. I picked the potato salad, which was better than I expected. It was mixed unevenly so that there were some dry parts, but an extra dollop of mayo would have made it a pretty decent salad.
Cook’s Tortas is located in a convenient location right off of Atlantic Blvd. The food tastes fresh, the people are friendly, and their watermelon agua fresca (about $4 for a huge cup) is such a nice treat on a hot day. The prices may seem high compared to the other Mexican places around, but I’m willing to pay the extra buck for a place that has a vegan option.