#EatTheWall: Mexican Tortas at Molli Cafe

For the next while, I will endeavour to eat all the cuisines whose race/culture that the Orange One has insulted or referenced over the past year:

  • Mexican
  • Punjabi (Indian/Pakistani)
  • Muslim
  • Chinese
  • African-American
  • Ukrainian
  • Jewish

I had some Southern fried chicken at Big Al’s pop-up at The Lion’s Den Cafe recently, so that takes care of African-American for now. I think if I eat at Efendi Uyghur on Kingsway (Globe & Mail review here), that’ll take care of both Muslim and Chinese 😀

For today, I re-visited Molli Cafe to try out their tortas. I tried their tacos before (pretty good) but my torta itch was only lightly scratched with the tortas from TK Sub Cafe so I was hoping Molli Cafe would do a better, more satisfying job.

In short: my stomach was VERY satisfied but the itch for tortas still remains.

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I admire this place. It still does a busy lunch service in a slightly out of the way location beside the gas station at Burrard and Davie.

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Their menu is still small but varied. They also have daily soups and features:

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Not only were they doing al pastor tacos, they also were offering an al pastor torta! So I got one each of the Cochinita Pibil (pork), Milanesa (beef), and the Pastor (pork & pineapple).

Their menu is available online, with specials posted to their Instagram account.

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Back at the office.

Three bags full.

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Each torta wrapped in foil.

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Each torta comes with a small container of salsa and some tortilla chips. The chips are thick, crunchy, salted, and reasonably fresh-tasting. Two of the salsas were pico de gallo, one of them tasted like chipotle.

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Cochinita Pibil ($9.75) with marinated pork in achiote sauce, black refried beans, cabbage, and pickled onions. These are about the standard size for a torta that I’ve seen in Vancouver, but just packed with fillings:

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One of the staff told me to eat these right away because the meats are very moist. She wasn’t kidding. She also recommended lightly toasting them, which I didn’t have time to do. It could help improve the bread situation, which I talk about below.

Note: I’ve always loved the avocado in tortas but the Cochinita Pibil torta is the one that doesn’t have avocado.

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Milanesa ($10) with organic breaded beef, havarti cheese, avocado, tomato, pickled jalapeno, onions, and mayo.

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The beef isn’t like a chicken-fried steak, more like a schnitzel. It looks like slices of pickles in there but those are actually pickled jalapenos (which weren’t that spicy).

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Al Pastor ($12, daily feature) with pork, pineapple, avocado, cilantro, and other stuff that I can’t remember.

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You can see an SD card-shaped piece of pineapple in this shot.

These tortas are packed with plenty of flavourful filling. Very moist, verging on greasy/heavy from the inclusion of cheese and/or mayo. These cost 2-3X the price of tortas from Duffins or TK Sub Cafe, but the quality of the fillings is quite a bit better. However, I wasn’t thrilled with the bread. I overheard another customer asking if they baked their own bread and they said “no”, which would be fine if I hadn’t encountered some tough spots in the bread. I’m not saying that Molli Cafe do anything like what I’m about to describe, but this is what I experienced: if you’ve ever frozen bread before (even crappy bread like hot dog buns or something) then tried to defrost it in the microwave, you might discover tough, chewy spots in your bread…even if you toast it afterwards, those inner tough spots remain. This is what I got in some parts of the bread here. I don’t know why this is, but it was something that detracted from the whole experience.

In general these are satisfying, if slightly messy and greasy, sandwiches. Fairly priced considering how much filling you get…looks to be about 3 tacos worth of filling except shoved into a torta. But I feel the bread could be improved. If there was a Banh Mi Saigon of tortas, that may be the ticket…

#eatthewall!

One thought on “#EatTheWall: Mexican Tortas at Molli Cafe”

  1. Loving your newly adopted theme eating. Agree about the rolls at Molli. I have yet to find a true torta bun anywhere in Vancouver. Duffin’s used to be the best, but I haven’t had one in ages, though I just threw a bag of them in the freezer. TK is close and housemade daily.

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