The Truck: Barriga Llena, found in truck-form on Mondays and Tuesdays (2nd Avenue and Pine Street, Seattle); Wednesdays (8801 E. Marginal Way S., Tukwila, WA); Thursdays and Fridays (Starbucks headquarters)
The Fare: Mexican tortas
The Stop: The guy standing inside the Barriga Llena truck told me that if I didn't like my torta, which he described as a "delicious Mexican sandwich," he'd give me my money back.
It was a charming offer, made in this cheery, confident voice that made me think nobody had ever asked for their money back.
While Barriga Llena in truck-form might not be a household name yet, its owner, Edgar Mendoza, is no newbie to the food business. He's had a restaurant of the same name on Aurora Ave N. for ten years and will soon re-open his Federal Way Barriga Llena at a new location.
Mendoza prides himself on being the first to introduce Seattle to these sandwiches that are popular in Mexico and Spain--and are apparently even mentioned in the Spanish translation of the Bible.
My order, the "Barrigona," was torta-lly delicious, even if left me standing at the curb with a food baby in my belly.
And after I took the first bite of my torta, barely making a dent in the crispy toasted bread of this mammoth-sized steak, homemade chorizo, pork, sausage, and cheese torta, I decided that Mr. Barriga Llena Truck Guy was right to be so confident.
The Barrigona torta combines steak, pork, chorizo, sausage, and cheese.
You wouldn't think that putting together so many different types of meat could possibly be a good idea. That somehow, the richness of the chorizo would cancel out the pork's gentle flavor, and the taste of the sausage would overwhelm everything else.
But these flavor combinations work. Each chomp--you need to be aggressive about your bites--is like discovering a new sandwich.
This is how it goes: You hit the first layer. That'd be the French bread, which wears a coat of avocado, beans, and mayonnaise. Maybe you catch a bit of the steak. You chew, wipe your face with your hand, and then embarrassedly wipe your hand with a napkin or more likely, your jeans--eating this is no graceful feat. And then you take another chomp. The subtleness of the pork tickles your senses and marries with the chorizo's smokiness.
After you get through half of this torta, you start to slip into that comatose state that comes with gorging yourself. So you stop eating reluctantly, put your torta back into its box, and wonder, wistfully, when you'll be hungry again.
If perhaps, you'd rather not be comatose after eating your lunch, try out Barriga's Hawaiiana torta, filled with ham, pineapple and Oaxan cheese, or the Choriqueso torta, which chorizo and cheese, like its name implies. It's sure to fill you up, but maybe, with less ingredients you'll be able to finish your meal.
Barriga Llena should have a torta truck that meanders through every neighborhood, the drivers slinging hefty French-breaded pork or chorizo or steak sandwiches at passer-bys. No need to play any songs to reel customers in, though. Hungry people would just follow their noses and stumble up to the truck, walking away sated, and maybe a couple of pounds heavier.