Sometimes mumbling leads to little adventures. I asked for hot chocolate at La Botana and I got horchata over ice, which happened to be perfect--as it turns out, the milky horchata has that same sugary edge that Mexican chocolate has.

There was no mistake about which torta I wanted, though--I had heard that the cochinita pibil (tangy, shredded long-cooked pork, akin to varities of Southern barbecue) was the way to go, and I was not misled. Pork really is the perfect meat for so many condiments and vegetables, many of them included in this sandwich: mayonnaise (although not enough of it for my taste), guacamole, refried beans, lettuce, and tomato. In essentials, the torta is a burrito stuffed into a soft bun, and the bun makes a nice background to the contrasts offered by the fillings: creamy and tangy, chewy and smooth, tart and (helpfully) bland. My cochinita pibil (this, like all of La Botana's tortas, is $4.95) wanted only a few dashes of hot sauce to be perfectly rounded.

Other torta options are chorizo (that intense and spicy sausage), lengua (tongue), birria (which sometimes means goat, and sometimes means a way to prepare beef--I couldn't figure out which), asada, pork, and al pastor, and a vegetarian version that I took home with me--not too hopefully, to tell the truth. It was actually wonderful, with cubed potatoes and chunks of mushroom taking up the density usually provided by meat and adding their own palette of flavors to the mix. It hadn't suffered from sitting around in my car for a few hours--in fact, it seemed to have matured, like a stew. Once again, the sandwich proves itself the happiest of foods.