By Joe Ruiz
Students seem to be growing tired of the same options for lunch everyday at East Los Angeles College. Luckily a restaurant not too far from ELAC’s main campus has already begun to revive students’ and locals’ taste buds. Chago Ahogadas is a wonderful hidden gold mine in Montebello, serving authentic dishes from Guadalajara, Jalisco, México.
Chago Ahogadas just closed their location in East Los Angeles to a bigger location on 123 Washington Blvd, Montebello, Ca. Their new location is much better than their old building. The staff greets customers as they walk through the door, giving the feeling they have known them all their life. It feels like home. The aromas of all the authentic food bring back memories of Guadalajara.
The service is great and all the staff seem happy to serve customers. A dish that makes Chago Ahogadas special, a torta ahogada, was not a typical torta (sandwich). These are “drowned sandwiches,” in a delicious homemade sauce mainly consisting hot chili peppers.
It all begins with a homemade bread called “bolillo salado.” This is not an average white bread or Roman Meal. This is the perfect bread for tortas ahogadas, because it doesn’t get soggy. It has a thick, crunchy outside, soft inside and a slightly more salty taste versus sweet. It is then given the perfect layer of refried beans, which are delicious on their own. Chunks of “carnitas” (slow roasted pork meat) are then stuffed, joining the party with the beans and bread. The sandwich would already be great, but there is one last step. It is then immersed into the homemade hot sauce, making the bread moist, and soft.
The first bite was a delicious experience. I must warn all, the “Torta Ahogada” is very spicy. There are also less spicy options available.
For those who like just a little heat, I recommend the “Torta Media Ahogada.” It is half homemade hot sauce and half homemade tomato sauce. If customers can’t handle the heat, the “Torta Ahogada en Salsa,” is an option without hot sauce. The tomato sauce has the consistency of the hot sauce but tastes sensational. Customers may add the hot sauce on their own. There are bottles of their homemade “ahogada” sauce on the tables for your convenience.
Another dish is the “Tacos Dorados Sencillos,” which are fries tacos of either potato or beans. These tacos are prepared similar to the torta ahogada. They are in a deep dish with a shallow pool of their tomato sauce. The tacos are topped with fresh fine chopped cabbage and purple onions.
As the owner of the restaurant walked through and make sure how customers were doing, he informed customers that they would be adding more items to their menu. They will also now be open for breakfast, serving classic items like “chilaquiles.”
For a real Guadalajara cuisine experience, be sure to stop by and taste all the delicious dishes at Chago Ahogadas in Montebello.