Toasted Bolillos packed with Milaneza, smoky Chuleta, melted Quesillo, Aguacate — ah the splendor of a well-made torta.
Fate has shined her foodie light on me. I daresay the best Mexicano food truck in King County — Meraz Tortas and Tacos — opened June 10 in my neighborhood, in Libreria Cristiana’s parking lot, no less. I got special dispensation from my Renton Patch editor to review a restaurant in Skyway as the city of , a possible first step toward incorporation of the West Hill neighborhood. My home.
As I hit the road to meet with a friend for a lunch date, my bag of tortas and bebidas beside me, War’s “Low Rider” (made infamous by Cheech & Chong’s “Up in Smoke”) came on the radio while I cruised in my torta-perfumed Subaru, headed north on I-5. Pure Destino.
Libreria Cristiana is squeaky clean in the spiritual sense, and Ayala's kitchen looked immaculate as well. Should you fear mobile restaurants, one look into this open kitchen should put your qualms at rest.
If you're in the mood to “dine in,” there is a picnic bench outside of the bookstore's windows, festooned with colorful streamers above. A gaggle of raven-haired girls flit about. One girl with long curly locks asked me questions about my religious affiliations, and told me about the chapel in back. If I was ever to become a church-goer again, this sincere angel had me convinced this was the place to go. Especially if the congregation feasts on such heavenly comida afterword.
The menu offers countless options to fall in love with: of the three tortas I brought to my friend, ranking changed with repeat bites, two in a close call for first place. I felt I should go for one vegetarian offering, so I bought the Suiza ($6.75) with Queso Blanco, Queso Amarillo, and Quesillo (aka the extremely delicious Queso Oaxaca) on a soft grill-pressed bolillo spread with mayonnaise, garnished with ripe avocado and tomato slices. Simple & delicious.
Going a bit deeper, I selected the Toluquena ($6.99) which offers one of my favorite Torta ingredients — Milaneza. This dish, a relative of wiener schnitzel, was brought to South America by Austrian immigrants. This is the chicken-fried steak of Mexico, thinly pounded beef, battered and fried, then air-lifted via spatula onto a torta roll layered with ground chorizo, tomato, mayo, avocado, pickled jalapenos, and Quesillo. This went back and forth as being number one.
Next was the seriously delicioso Texana ($7.25). Take Milaneza, add Chuleta (pork chop), and Quesillo, then layer on mayo, avocado, tomato, pickled jalapenos. The combination of breaded beef cutlets and chopped smoky pork were a dream come true. If you want Mexican street food without going south-of-the-border, this is your ticket.
I added chilled bottles of Jarrito’s Tamarindo soda and a Sangrita Senorial (no-alcohol Sangria) for $1.25 each to my lunch order. The sandwiches are mammoth, so I enjoyed leftovers for dinner at home with a glass of rose. My husband didn't want to miss out on this adventure, so I dared him to order the Cubana ($8.75), the most expensive and elaborate torta on the menu. This everything-but-the-kitchen-sink torta is almost impossible to get your mouth around, piled high with: Milaneza, Pierna (roast pork leg), Salchicha, Jamon, Queso Amarillo, Queso Blanco, Chorizo, Tocino (bacon), Pina, Quesillo. Man v. Food would probably be all over it, but we preferred the simpler combinaciones.
Tacos are only $1, and although I can’t promise to make it to church service, I will be back frequently to sample from the rest of the menu, like the 99-cent tacos, Huaraches ($5.75) and Chipotle Cemitas ($5.99).
Te amo, Meraz Tortas and Tacos.
Meraz Tortas and Tacos
12622 Renton Ave South; Seattle WA 98178
Open 11am-9pm everyday
*Editor's Note: The original version of this story mis-stated the name of the taco truck, which is correctly called Meraz Tortas and Tacos.