YUMMY – Cemitas Poblanas Don Adrian

©LA TimesI spent my formative years within an hour’s drive of the Mexican border, eating Roberto‘s carne asada burritos and Rubio’s Pesky Combos. Any time I see a sign with a name ending in “berto’s”… Alberto’s, Jilberto’s, Guadalberto’s… I begin to drool. While other people might turn to macaroni and cheese for comfort food, a perfect machaca burrito brings me tears of joy. Anyone from San Diego can relate: yes it’s true, we are Baja-style Mexican food snobs.

It’s for this reason that I generally don’t eat much Mexican food in L.A. When I do, I keep my expectations purposefully low to avoid heartbreak. I’ve had some great Oaxacan mole, but if I order a burrito or enchilada I’m aware that there may be far too much sauce drowning my food. I’ve learned to expect rice in my burritos even though I was raised to see that as culinary sacrilege. (Rice is just cheap filler! So wrong!)

Today I found a new Mexican comfort food, though… the “Mexican Hamburgers” at Cemitas Poblanas Don Adrian in Van Nuys. There are no burritos at Don Adrian (rice-filled or otherwise), no rolled tacos, just delicious cemitas (Mexican sandwiches from Puebla, Mexico)… and that’s more than enough. Each bite I took from the Cechina Adobada beef sandwich I ordered held an entire world of happiness. Seriously… YUM.

It looks like the LA Times agrees with me, too:

“Don Adrian’s baroque cemitas make Quarter Pounders look like sliders, yet they’re precisely assembled with a balance of impeccably fresh ingredients.

The bun is crammed with a thick layer of ripe avocado topped with equally thick slabs of cloud-white fresh panela cheese, then mounded with a sizzling filling and finally topped with a few fine strands of red onion, optional shredded string cheese, a fresh herb garnish and thick slices of roasted red jalapeño or a tonsil-torching chipotle chile purée, which the timid may order on the side.

Fillings represent an international grocery list from the Old and New worlds. Among them is proprietor Adolfo Huerta’s house-made cecina, produced with techniques passed from his grandfather (Don Adrian himself) to Huerta’s family, who made a business of the specialty back in Puebla.

Cecina purists order it in the simplest of ways — in the house quesadillas or in chalupas, where it’s simply grilled, mounded on a tortilla and garnished with a sparse scattering of string cheese and dabs of mild green salsa…”

If Don Adrian isn’t near you, there are other cemitas locations popping up around town. Check out yelp’s recommendations and give these Mexican sandwiches a try. They might just seduce you into putting away your culinary snobbishness and embracing a new comfort food. Worked for me!

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