Dear Foodies,

Memories (Barbara Streisand) . . . like the corners of my mind. How can I ever forget; driving around with my baby girl sleeping like a little angel in her car seat as my stomach (Mama was hungry!) growled. I will also never forget my sister saying … “A baby’s sleep is sacred” — so, I respected her advice. I would drive around (8 years ago) searching high and low for places that had a drive through window because unfortunately, the only place my daughter would sleep soundly was in a moving vehicle.

Of course, Whataburger (cheeseburger with grilled jalapenos and a crispy fried apple pie), Ms. G’s (bacon and egg taquito with wheat tortilla), and Shipley’s (glazed twist) were on my list of favorites. Now … lucky you! Lucky ME! There’s “Las Tortas” who has it all! It’s fresh, delicious, clean, convenient, original, and it also has a drive up window. You can’t miss the bright modern sign that reads “Las Tortas” on the corner of 10th and Harvey.

The look inside this small torteria is inviting and refreshing. The colors are cheerful and it’s a wonderful place to bring the family or enjoy a quick yet satisfying lunch or dinner.

The torta (gourmet sandwich or sub) happens to be Mexico’s most popular fast food because it’s convenient, healthy, and delivers bold and ethnic-inspired flavors. For instance there’s one named De Pierna Torta ($3.99 — generous portion) which has pork leg, chicharron, tomato, onion, avocado, Mexican sour cream and is served on French bread. It’s a pork lover’s dream, with flavorful cracklings. The bread is the secret behind a really good torta. It must be thick enough that it can seal all the flavors.

The bread most commonly used (in Mexico) is the Mexican bolillo which is slow-fermented sourdough-like bread. The owners opted to use a good quality baguette which has the same consistency as the traditional bolillo and because it’s more convenient.

The owners (Berta Gooela and Adolfo Hellmund) are from Tampico so naturally they added the “De La Barda”($3.99) Torta (Tampico’s signature sandwich) on the menu. It’s big and chubby, deeply filled, and infinitely satisfying. It has creamy black beans, ham, veal, queso fresco (raw milk cheese), Mexican chorizo, onion slices, tomatoes and avocados. The veal slices are very tender and offer a fantastic and delicate flavor. They spread the refried black beans onto the toasted French bread. I was happy to see they had fruity aguas frescas, which are natural and uncarbonated drinks.

I ordered the ice cold Mexican “Horchata” ($1.29) which is a milky, cinnamon-scented rice drink; this is Roma Castellanos (my Godson who will someday be a well-known writer, artist or soccer player) favorite drink.

“Las Tortas” has become a huge success because of their reasonable prices (combos with drink, torta, soup or salad $5.99) and quality. All of their salsas, soups, and flan ($2.49) are made from scratch. They also cater to vegetarians or people who want a healthier (delicious tasting) alternative. How about a Carprese sandwich prepared with pesto, tomato, mozzarella, olive oil and fresh basil with ciabatta bread? — Mama Mia!

Las Tortas does not have table service (there are tables to sit at), but the counter workers are cheerful and make ordering as stress-free as possible. They open at 10 a.m. weekdays so why not order a tempting “Huevo con Chorizo” torta to start your day? It has scrambled eggs, chorizo, beans, and sliced avocado. That’s a protein breakfast amigos!

How about having a picnic? Children’s combos (drink, half a torta, and dessert) are only $3.99 — and everyone is sure to get a mouthwatering and napkin inspiring lunch. The menu offers a torta or dish that will keep you satisfied.

Foodie Update! Now that Christmas is right around the corner why not have your company party catered? These are my top three options and suggestions (write this down Office Managers) —you’ll be glad you called them.

Las Palmas Restaurant — Home-style comfort food (she’s the Queen of Tex-Mex) * order the turkey dinner, Shelly’s chicken fried chicken or enchiladas — you can even have a party at her place for up to 45 people. 956-624-9414

Rosemary Catering — (met her at Julie Ozcelebi’s husband's surprise party) — delicious cakes and international cuisine 956-973-1593 or 739-7703 *order their cilantro chicken * everything she makes is sensational!

Coffee Zone (Chase Tower Lobby — McAllen) has the perfect festive place to enjoy a holiday breakfast or luncheon (25pp). Deanna Cochran will make sure all your needs are met. A variety of sandwiches, salads, quiches,soups and terrific coffee/desserts. * order the artichoke dip and quiche! 956-630-1057 *How about an Eggnog flan or a festive Yule log?

Your restaurant “Cheerleader,”

Madame Gourmand — loves Gourmet!

odettemac@gmail.com

Las Tortas, 956-630-3007, 2718 N. 10th Street, McAllen.