February 28, 2009
Ever since Kayoko packed her bags and returned to the land of eternal sunshine and spotless minds, I’ve been having an ever-growing yearning to return to the good old days of the NY Umamiventure. In particular, I’ve been reliving and re-tasting in my mind the sultry sandwiches we ate during the Banh Mi Crawl, or the “International Sandwich Rager” as I like to call it. That day we ate a seemingly impossible array of Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches from the best that Sunset Park had to offer, and topped it off with some tortas from Rico’s Tacos (hence the term international) because it was also in the area–and because I’m not one to put an end to a rager. I rage. That’s what I do.
So one cold and dreary Brooklyn morning, on our way to Costco, V and I figured we’d stop by and have a banh mi. Unfortunately I failed to consider the effect that Chinese New Year would have on a Vietnamese sandwich shop (how did I not see this?), as Ba Xuyen was closed in observance. I had to figure an alternative, and quite honestly, when it comes to a banh mi in this neighborhood, there’s no alternative to Ba Xuyen, though others come close. And those who know me know I don’t like to come close. I like to rage. Ragers are number one, not number two.
Not wanting to leave empty handed–nor with an empty stomach–I had one of my greatest ideas to date: I remembered Rico’s Tacos was not too far off, and decided that’s how I’d celebrate Chinese New Year. As soon as I stepped inside Rico’s I realized the Year of the Ox was going to be a very good year.
Unfortunately there wasn’t any ox on the menu, as I certainly would have ordered that. But no matter, as I ordered the closest thing, the Caldo de Camarones (pictured at top); a dark red, spicy, shrimp-filled wonder of a soup that’s only served on weekends. V ordered the pozole, another weekend-only soup made with hominy, pork, chiles, and other seasonings:
But remember that I rage, so there’s no way I could have left it at just that; so we ordered a Torta de Milanesa de Res (breaded steak sandwich) along with the most intense torta I’ve ever seen, the Torta Cubana: Rico’s version of the Cuban Sandwich, done Mexican style.
Here’s the Torta de Milanesa de Res, a breaded fried steak cutlet made with Rico’s standard fillings of refried beans, tomato, shredded mozzarella, avocado, pickled jalapenos and carrots, and mayo:
And here’s the madness inducing Torta Cubana, made with all of Rico’s standard fillings mentioned above, plus a breaded fried pork cutlet, chorizo with scrambled eggs, and three hot dog style sausages. Lava ass will no doubt ensue, but that’s how you rage! AMMMMMazing: