By Cassandra VanKeuren Special to the Herald
World soccer, tortas and Mexican sitcoms playing on the television sets. That is what you will find at Aca Las Tortas and so much more.
Aca Las Tortas is a local franchise specializing in Mexican sandwiches and other traditional Mexican fare. But what I think is special about them is they are not Americanized like most Mexican restaurants in this area.
Their huge menu has many items that are unfamiliar to American diners. Some that caught my attention were choriqueso ($8), spicy pork sausage and spicy meat with nopales (prickly pear) served with melted cheese and tortillas. Or cactus salad ($4.99). Or pata (beef tendon) tostadas ($2.50).
Or veggie burritos ($7). All the veggie burritos come with nopales, cilantro and onions. Then you get your choice of vegetables such as potato and bell pepper or zucchini with corn or mushrooms Mexican style.
On Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant offers some specialty items that take longer to cook such as menudo (tripe) stewed in a red sauce or Barbacoa de Borrego (lamb that has been grilled and then stewed with vegetables).
My husband, my son, his friend and I were a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. So I went the easy route and chose a Barcelona Tortas ($8) and a lengua taco ($1.65). My husband settled on the enchiladas($6.75). My son chose a kid-sized cheese quesadilla served with rice and beans ($3.50) and my son’s friend ordered flautas chicken tacos ($6.50).
Our order came quickly. My sandwich had ham, melted cheese, breaded steak, Mexican fresh cheese, tomato, onion and avocado and was dressed with a chipotle sauce.
The bread was shaped liked a French roll but was much softer and was more rich in flavor. I really enjoyed the hot steak with the cool avocado and tomatoes. The fresh cheese was something I had not had before. It was a lot like fresh mozzarella but a bit firmer. It made the sandwich quite creamy. The sauce was smokey but not hot.
I enjoyed it but it was very filling. My husband was more than happy to share my sandwich.
Now for the taco! I grew up eating beef tongue — lengua — and was glad to see it on the menu. They prepare it by stewing cubes of tongue and then browning it just before serving.
The taco was made with a soft corn tortilla, meat and chopped onions and cilantro. This is my favorite way to have tacos. Don’t be scared of the lengua; it tastes like a very tender cut of steak. So tasty.
My husband’s enchiladas were five smallish corn tortillas folded over with shredded chicken inside, smothered with green sauce and topped with crema (Mexican sour cream) and crumbled Mexican white cheese. I stole a bit and loved the green sauce. It was savory and mild in flavor.
My son’s friend’s food was tasty and mild. It was topped with the same crema and white cheese and also lettuce and tomato. He said the meal was good and filling.
My son’s meal was your typical quesadilla, made with corn tortillas. What was interesting is that they did not serve him refried beans. The beans were just drained and put on the plate. I actually like them this way.
There are so many choices on the menu that I can’t wait to go back. Aca las Tortas also offers lunch specials, all of them under $5.
With three locations in Snohomish County, great prices and a to-go menu, Aca Las Tortas is sure to be your new favorite place to go for great Mexican food.
Aca Las Tortas
•22910 Bothell Everett Highway, Suite 105-A, Bothell; 425-485-7510.
526 164th St. SW, Lynnwood; 425-318-5391.
4817 Evergreen Way, Everett; 425-322-4240; www.acalastortasbothell.com.
Specialty: Authentic Mexican.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Many.