Tortilla Tuesdays: Vallarta Market

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Dave Lieberman

I love Vallarta Market. When I made the San Fernando Valley my home, it was my local store, replacing a late-but-not-lamented Lucky and a Jons. I was excited to hear that a Vallarta is finally making its way to Orange County, land of Northgate and El Metate. I love the tres leches cake, the agua fresca bar, the fresh produce and the tejocotes enmelados (honeyed hawthorn fruits), and the meat counter is a thing of tawdry beauty.

But I do not love its tortillas.

I love the way they look, thick and not perfectly round, looking like they came from a mom-and-pop tortillería. I love the smell, the slightly sour tang of cal singing through the earthy scent of corn. They feel right, too, rough, with an obvious distinction between the light and the dark sides. They even taste good, as good as most other supermarket tortillas.

The problem is they lack structural integrity. Even eaten within a couple of hours of purchase, they flake apart. They puff up oddly when reheated on the comal, and they must be held together by molecules of prayer because as soon as any even slightly moist filling heats them, they dissolve.

The search for the perfect tortilla must, alas, continue. At least there are plenty of other reasons to visit OC's one and only Vallarta Market.

Grade: C-

Vallarta Market, 2394 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim.

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