OC TOP 100: DISH #23 – AGUAS FRESCAS
Translated, aguas frescas, literally means fresh waters. They are punch-like drinks usually made with fresh fruit that can be quite refreshing. Many places that sell them will have large jars displayed in a colorful array from which the liquid is ladled out of as you order it. I imagine it is like drinking from a rainbow. On the left, is the Cantaloupe, which is quite refreshing since there aren’t many other drinks with that flavor. In the middle is Jamaica, a Hibiscus based punch that tastes like fruit punch. On the right is Horchata, a milky creamy cinnamony delight made from rice. There are many other flavors such as Mamey, Strawberry with Milk, Orange, Pineapple, Lime, and Fruit with Milk. But I would tend to veer away from the Pineapple and Orange, as they tend to resemble watered down versions of the juices. Just don’t get the medium sized as you get almost twice the amount in large for about 25 cents more. And since they are made with real fruits, it doesn’t have a cloyingly artificial taste.
But tortas are the true specialty here. It’s a good thing that the Sinaloa region is known for something more than their drug cartels. I decided to be brave and tried their Picosito. It is filled with carne asada, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado. They warned me that it would be super spicy. My first few bites into it definitely proved to have some good heat, but then I noticed that the heat level kept getting stronger and stronger. I lifted up the bread to see what could possibly be so freaking hot, and then realized that what I had thought were grilled onions were actually grilled habanero peppers. Holy Mother of God! The pain was unbearable. At this point tears were streaming down my face and I had fluid coming out from nearly every orifice in my body. I paid my bill in a rush and ran to the Baskin Robbins across the parking lot to get some ice cream to alleviate the burn. It took a full 30 min before the heat subsided to more manageable levels. Needless to say, Part Two hit me later on that night. The lesson here is simple…don’t order this torta unless you are some kind of masochist.
The Vegetarian torta is by far more innocuous. With tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese it is much better when doused with their spicy red salsa.
I was only able to get a small sampling of their tortas, as there are many many more in various combinations of different meats and fillings.