The humble torta is one thing. But the cemita – originating in the Mexican region of Puebla and served throughout the day at Cemitas Puebla – is quite another.
“Cemita gets its name from the seed that’s on top of the bun. It’s almost like a French brioche,” said owner Tony Anteliz.
Anteliz has updated his father’s original shop on the city’s West Side, modernizing the surroundings in trendy West Town but keeping the recipe intact.
“A true cemitas has avocado, chipotle peppers, Oaxacan cheese and this herb called papalo which, unfortunately, we only have seasonally, we only have in the summer but we’re working on getting it all year round,” he said.
The basic cemita begins with that seeded bread, slightly toasted, with a bottom layer of fresh avocado and a squeeze of homemade chipotle sauce. Then thinly-pounded pork loin that’s breaded and fried, plus a mound of stringy, creamy Oaxacan cheese, and finally, the top layer of bread. There are other options as well. If you didn’t want that Milanese version with the thin, fried pork, you could get marinated pork al pastor, sliced from the spit, as well as marinated pork shoulder.
“We have carne enchilada, which is marinated pork loin. Ham, chorizo, so yeah, a lot of pork, but good stuff all,” said Anteliz.
We are a city that loves its sandwiches, the Italian beef of course, being the most famous. But who knows, perhaps the cemita will one day takes its place among the city’s greats.
Despite the number of pork-laden sandwiches on the menu, there is a vegetarian option as well.
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