Essential T: Oaxaca Town Café Serves Up a Double-Fisted Sandwich

Welcome to Oaxacalifornia. Here, have a torta.

The very best Mexican foods start with the letter T—tacos, tortas, tlayudas. Here we showcase the tastiest “T” bites from the streets of L.A.

Here in Oaxacalifornia—Los Angeles—we are blessed with dozens upon dozens of Oaxacan restaurants and loncheros, or traditional food trucks. Here in L.A., moles are as easy to find as a pastrami sandwich. Only two other places count more Oaxacan restaurants than L.A., Oaxaca and Mexico City.

Like all states in Mexico, Oaxaca marches to the beat of its own drummer, and has its own versions of typical foods, like tortas, or Mexican sandwiches.

Oaxaca Town Café is one of the few Oaxacan torterias, or sandwich shops, in town that specializes in the oversized sandwiches from one of Mexico’s most internationally admired cuisines.

The torta oaxaqueno you want to get both hands right now on is the chile relleno torta, which piles on smoky, refried black beans, Oaxacan cheese, and a flattened chile relleno filled with a sweet picadillo on the first floor of the bread before an equivalent stack of avocado, tomato, and lettuce are set between two pressed and toasted telera rolls.

Most Oaxacan restaurants in town have a Oaxacan torta on their menu. But there’s something about sitting at one of the coffee shop-style tables with your torta and a coffee in this quiet café at the western edge of Pico-Union’s restaurant row that feels like a perfect day in L.A.’s cultural landscape. You can even shop at the branch of mini-market Expresion Oaxaca connected to the cafe for Oaxacan products while you wait for your torta to be constructed.

In case the sandwich isn’t big enough, you’ll also find tlayudas here, those large, crispy Oaxacan tortillas topped with lard, beans, cheese, and meats—after all, we are in Oaxacalifornia.

Oaxaca Town Café, 3080 West Pico Blvd. LA, Los Angeles, (323) 766-2922