Photo by Jennifer Rumiko Cahill
A big, beautiful explosion of a torta.
On a rainy day, the little striped pop-out awning on the Los Giles Taqueria tucked in the lot behind US Bank in Arcata looks like an oasis (953 G St.). (Yes, it's the same black truck you see up the street across from the Arcata Theatre Lounge in the evening.) Pressed for a recommendation, owner Osmando Hernandez hunches down in the window and suggests a torta ($7). Which one? He shrugs. "Carnitas is bomb."
This is no lie. And "bomb" is doubly descriptive when you try picking up this overstuffed sandwich, exploding as it is with guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese and mounds of carnitas. The flavorful pork is that ideal balance of juicy hunks and crispy where it's been pressed on the grill, with the occasional pearl of sweet fat. The grilled crust of the soft, buttery roll is the only thing holding all this together, for the moment anyway. Take advantage.
And if the rain is still coming down hard, Hernandez may just loan you his umbrella to protect you and your leftovers as you ford the flash sidewalk rivers. Bringing it back is a chance to order another torta. You might take advantage of that, too.