99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita

photo by Danny Liao

There are times when you want not just a sandwich but a very particular type of sandwich: something less intense than the #19 at Langer’s, say, but with a bit more bite than a torta. In which case, you’re likely craving a cemita, the sandwich from Puebla, Mexico, that’s the specialty of Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita in Boyle Heights. The cemita will have slices of brilliantly green avocado, a web of hand-pulled string cheese called quesillo, terrific smoky chipotle chiles and your pick of meat, though everyone seems to pick the milanesa, a piece of veal that’s been pounded thin, breaded and perfectly fried. Everything will be improbably crammed into a toasted seeded roll that’s softer than its crunchy exterior would suggest. The sandwich is filling on its own, but you may also want to grab a taco arabe, filled with shredded pork rolled in a soft tortilla, for good measure. In any case, your craving will be supremely satisfied.

-- Tien Nguyen