Sunday, August 14, 2011
The Search for Cemitas: El Delfin Jr.
Ever since the closure of the great but short-lived Pal Cabron, I've lost my best neighborhood source of cemitas...the Mexican sandwiches served on sweet bread. Since then, I vowed to search for other options for my Koreatown cemitas habit, which mostly means checking out the local food trucks.
One of the most visible cemitas trucks, El Delfin Jr. can regularly be found on the south side of Wilshire by the old Ambassador hotel site. The neon-orange truck serves cemitas, clayudas, tortas, tacos and burgers.
Why it's named with the Spanish word for dolphin, I don't know. While there is a small picture of a dolphin, the truck's main logo appears to be an unfortunately Hootersesque picture of a woman with cemitas where her shirt should be. Pal Cabron had its share of strangely drawn busty women as well. Something about cemtias seems to bring out mammary fixations.
They didn't have pork milanesa, so I ordered the cemita de milaensa de res (beef). It was served in the fairly standard manner with quesillo, papalo, avocado, a nice tangy salsa with pickled peppers on the side so you can add them to your taste (which for me means they all go in).
It was not bad, but it didn't measure up to the Pal Cabron standard, mostly due to the bread and meat. In contrast to the Cabron's puffy, perfectly textured, freshly baked rolls, the Delfin's roll was a sad, flat, stale piece of bread. The milanesa itself was thin, overly chewy and lacking in distinctive flavor. That being said, the overall flavor on the sandwich was not bad due to plenty of papalo, a really nice red salsa and the aforementioned pickled peppers. Still, bread and meat are the essential components of a cemita and you can't do that well if you're missing them. It's like messing up on the triple axle in an Olympic figure skating competition; you lose a lot of points.
So on we go...