There’s a good chance that British explorer Captain Cook would not recognize cochinita pibil, and the Yucatan pork specialty is not quite textbook at Cook’s Tortas, the Monterey Park sandwich shop that Elvira Zamora, Antonio Zamora and daughter Elyan Zamora co-founded with former partner Ricardo Diaz, but that’s part of the appeal. Cook’s Tortas, which debuted in 2008 features a glass front, grey and white tile floors and a blackboard menu that touts a rotating, 500-deep, sandwich repertoire, many with interesting tweaks.
Cochinita #301 ($8.59) consists of tender chunks of slow cooked pork stained with mild achiote paste, tangy onion escabeche, chopped cilantro, and earthy black beans on soft, almost spongy sour ciabatta, which Cook’s cooks bake in-house. The only thing I would have enjoyed was the classic Yucatan salsa that’s bright orange and packs habanero bite. Each torta comes with a small side, and my choice was apples and cream, chunks of skin-on green apple tossed with raisins and pecans that provided a tart, cooling effect.