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Super Tortas Chilangas serves up Mexican-style sandwiches on Lodi Avenue

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Posted: Saturday, September 30, 2017 2:30 pm

Although small in size, Super Tortas Chilangas is hard to miss on Lodi Avenue. Its bright yellow exterior serves as a shining beacon, guiding hungry customers to their enormous Mexican-style sandwiches known as tortas.

The interior is equally small, and painted an equally bright shade of lime green. The refrigerator is always well stocked with sodas, both domestic and imported, and they make their own aguas frescas (water flavored with various fresh fruits) and horchata, so they are always prepared to quench any thirst.

Despite the small space, people come and go frequently, with some enjoying their meals at one of the cozy counters and others taking their meals to go.

With only 15 stools for seating, elbow room can be hard to come by. It makes sense that the majority of orders are taken to eat elsewhere, said owner Monica Valenzuela, who runs the restaurant along with her son, Obed Tejada.

"All kinds of people come in here. American, Chinese, Mexican, everybody is welcome," Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela, a self-taught cook, has owned the restaurant for six years. She enjoys serving her diverse client base, ranging from students and construction workers to lawyers, city officials and even tourists, watching the smiles on their faces as they enjoy the food she makes by hand every day.

Their most popular sandwich is the Torta Cubana, which features ham, breaded beef, yellow cheese, smoked ham, eggs, Mexican cheese, sausage and mozzarella cheese along with tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos, all between two thick, flat slabs of bread for $9.99.

This sizable sandwich, approximately the size of an adult man's head, can easily feed two people for a single meal, or one person for an entire day.

It's sandwiches like this that have earned the restaurant its name of Super Tortas.

Other popular menu items, also generously sized, include huaraches, consisting of a thick, fried tortilla topped with cheese, salsa and the customer's choice of meat such as chorizo sausage, carne asada, chicken or pork; alambres, a plate of steak, ham, pineapple, onion, bell pepper and melted cheese; and choriqueso, a plate of chorizo with melted cheese.

Besides dine-in and carry out orders, the restaurant also caters special events, even making chocolate tamales for the 2016 Wine and Chocolate Weekend. They have worked with Jeremy Wine Company for the past four years, as well as Jessie's Grove Winery, Klinker Brick Winery and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

Their next scheduled catering event is the next Wine and Chocolate Weekend, which will ne held in February 2018.

"My favorite events are when I cater for the wineries. I meet so many people," Valenzuela said.

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