Hefty tortas, happy tummies at Barriga Llena
The torta has long been an "other" on the menus of Mexican-food restaurants, an afterthought to burrito and taco mainstays. So if you want...
Seattle Times Ticket editor
7815 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
Etc: Free parking in adjacent lot to the south of the restaurant; no obstacles to access.
The torta has long been an "other" on the menus of Mexican-food restaurants, an afterthought to burrito and taco mainstays. So if you want a good torta — a classic Mexican sandwich — head for Barriga Llena, where it's all tortas, all the time.
Owner Edgar Mendoza has run Barriga Llena (the name means "full belly") in Federal Way for six years, and this new Green Lake location on Aurora Avenue North opened about six months ago. Mendoza brings us the on-the-go attitude of his native Mexico City, where, he says, the style is to have everything on the torta — the lettuce, the tomato, even the refried beans. "That way you can go on your way, eating," the proprietor explains.
The menu: Barriga Llena's house special is the Barrigona ($6.99), a sandwich with a full belly of its own, packed with breaded, fried steak, pork, chorizo, hot dog and Oaxacan cheese. The rest of the tortas come on the same delicious fresh-baked buns — toasted on the grill — loaded with one or two items (both priced the same at $5.99). And there are some "others" on this menu, too: quesadillas and hot dogs, plus Jarritos sodas in old-school skinny glass bottles (sodas just taste better in glass, don't they?).
What to write home about: The chorizo and carne asada torta (a combination called the Argentina) was the clear winner, with the thin-sliced steak fried in a light, flavorful breading and the house-made chorizo spicy but perfectly palatable for my two kids.
What to skip: The only miss was the meatless Torta Suiza, a combination of three cheeses — Oaxacan, Mexican white cheese and American. The yellow cheese was completely bland, and Mom salvaged this torta by scraping it off and augmenting the white cheeses with a bit of the yummy breaded steak spilling out of the steak-and-pork Alemana on the table. (Shhh! Don't tell the kid!)
The setting: Barriga Llena's tiny storefront locale is decorated with colorful murals and painted tabletops that represent Mexico City landmarks. A cheery room on a rainy Seattle night.
Summing up: Our total for three tortas, three sodas and a quesadilla came to $25.38 with tax. Yes, you read that right. Imagine: Family night out, great food, and leftovers for lunch the next day, all for under 30 bucks. When the torta life is this good, who needs a burrito?
Raina Wagner: 206-464-8147 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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