It was a big loss for our small community of Colombian restaurants when El Carriel Bakery closed last year in Huntington Park. It was the best place in town for arepas, Colombian breakfast, and bandeja paisa, a hefty tray of meat, beans, a fried egg, and sides. But the place had the unkept look and low traffic that made me enjoy each meal there as though it might be my last. The space was empty for quite a while—there was even a rumor that the Cali-style bakery and kitchen would return—before their neighbor Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara acquired the space to open a take-out shop for large catering orders. They’re bringing a taste of Guadalajara to home bodies and do-it-yourselfers.
There’s an express menu of some of their classics like their signature tortas ahogadas, tacos, and menudo on the weekends that you assemble yourself for optimal freshness (and to keep those tortas from getting soggy). You can get a set of 4 tortas ahogadas, 4 tacos dorados, and 4 sodas for $32.96 for the family, and there are bigger sets that are perfect for turning up the heat at your Sunday football party.
Taquizas—DIY taco parties—are all the rage these days; everyone wants a taco truck to pull up on their lawn, but that can be expensive if you’re dealing with groups under the general vendor minimum of 50. But, your prayers have been answered, as Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara to go can handle party trays of grilled chicken, beef barbacoa, carnitas, carne asada, and al pastor for a professional caliber taquiza with all the sides for up to 35 people (larger orders require 1-day advance notice) on the same day. All you have to do is set up a table and your friends and family can prepare their own tacos—no taquero necessary—street style. Because this is LA, and we practically learn how to taco before we learn how to walk.
Tortas Ahogadas Guadalajara and Tortas Ahogadas Express, 6042 Santa Fe Ave, Huntington Park, (323) 587-3115, tortasahogadasinla.com