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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Heat Got Ya Down? Take a Torta Break

September 04, 1987|RUTH REICHL

It's been so hot this week that the air smacks your skin every time you walk out of the building into the downtown glare. At times like this, nobody wants to get into a car that's been standing in the sun. And so, looking for lunch the other day, I discovered that a new stand, El Capricho, has been opened in the Grand Central Market at 317 S. Broadway, (213) 617-2269 by the people who own La Salsa.

"World's Greatest Tortas" cries the sign, as cooks in the spiffy open kitchen build fat little torpedo-shaped sandwiches out of various meats, cheeses, avocado, tomato, onion and peppers. I was quite partial to El Pollo Gourmet (marinated grilled chicken and cheese), but I also liked Super Raton, made of three kinds of cheese. El Bistec Gourmet (steak, cheese, chiles) was tasty but tough, and I couldn't bring myself to try the Hawaiian torta made out of ham, cheese and pineapple. Most of the customers seem to stand and eat their tortas on the spot, but personally I prefer the comfort of my air-conditioned office.

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