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First Look: Rica's Tortas

Jan 30, 2015 Restaurants

By Catherine McGregor. Photos by Ken Downie.

Not so long ago, a sandwich and a drink for lunch meant a trip to the supermarket for two slices of white bread encased in plastic, plus a can of something fizzy. These days the options are vast: should it be a bánh mì and homemade lemonade from Mì Vietnamese Baguettes on Federal St? A pulled pork sandwich and strawberry and basil fizz from Chuffed on High St? A cheeseburger and chocolate thickshake from Better Burger?

The choice just got harder with the opening of Rica’s Tortas, round the back of Mexico in Britomart. The menu at the streetside eatery, which continues to operate as Mexico’s overflow bar in the evenings, couldn’t be more simple: tortas, aguas frescas and paletas.

Unless you speak Spanish, that probably doesn’t mean much to you. Let us explain: tortas (all $10) are Mexican sandwiches, soft bread rolls packed with made-to-order fillings like dry-rubbed ancho prawns, 12-hour braised pork and roast eggplant in xocólate mole (a savoury chocolate sauce). Aguas frescas ($5), already on the menu at Mexico locations across the city, are freshly made soft drinks – Rica’s Tortas’ flavours include pineapple and vanilla, coriander and lime, and watermelon and cherry.

Finally, paletas, or Latin American-style ice blocks ($4). The range is the result of collaboration between Mexico’s executive chef Javier Carmona and the Clevedon-based paleta-makers Paleta; choose from hibiscus and blood orange, salted dulce du leche, white peach sangria and more.

The inspiration for Rica’s Tortas came from Carmona’s trip to Mexico last October, with a photographer and videographer in tow. Photos from their trip line the walls; check out the video below.

Rica’s Tortas at Mexico
51 Galway St


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