I buy lots of group deals from Groupon, LivingSocial, Amazon Local and places like that. Lately I’ve felt like a lot of the places I’ve been to have been just kind of “meh” and not really impressive with their food or service, so when I finally went in to use one of my coupons to a little place called Tropical Fruit Paradise, I really wasn’t expecting very much. I read a couple of Yelp reviews saying they had good torta sandwiches and that was enough to get me to shell out money to buy two coupons – and as it turns out, this was a really excellent idea.
Let’s say that my first visit was the “scouting trip”. I went here alone for lunch one Saturday afternoon while Jake had to work for a bit. My Amazon Local deal covered $10 – just enough to get me one torta sandwich and one strawberry agua fresca. I had to pay tax and for my bag of chips, all in all a steal.
[steak torta sandwich - includes mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and sliced avocado with a side of salsa - $6.99]
I ordered just a plain old steak torta, just wanting to try something “basic” and simple here for my scouting mission. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The steak was well seasoned and marinated – cooked perfectly as well. It was juicy and cooked to medium and stacked high with lots of fresh veggies – red onion, tomatoes, green leaf lettuce and slices of perfectly ripe avocado.
The bread on the torta is also really nice – the bread is fluffy with a nice chew and is grilled on the inside. I could tell it was grilled on a stove to toast since the top of the was still fairly soft but had a really nice crunch from the grilling.
Since it’s a pretty large sandwich, I only ate half and brought the rest home to Jake. He ended up gobbling the sandwich in no time and thought – even cold – that it was one of the best torta sandwiches he’s ever had. I think I might have been onto something here.
[agua frescas - strawberry flavored - $2.49, large]
Ever since I got one of these at Frutilandia oh so many moons ago, I’ve loved them. I order them pretty much wherever we go – but I always get the same flavor! I can’t seem to branch out and try a new flavor, sticking with my standby strawberry favorite. The version here at Tropical Fruit Paradise seems a little creamier than other versions I’ve had a little less sweet – but still quite delicious in my book. I ordered one of these on both of my visits to Tropical Fruit Paradise. I can’t manage to tear myself away from them.
Must… have…strawberry water… arrrrgh!
[tostielote - tostitos, nacho cheese and corn - $3.99]
From here on out we’re using iPhone photos since I actually left my camera at home on our second visit. Lordy. Jake ordered this – it sounded totally weird to me, but since he was paying for it, I wasn’t going to complain.
I ate my words shortly after though since I did actually kind of like it. These are served right inside of a bag of salsa flavored Tostitos chips and topped off with nacho cheese, jalapenos and corn. Nacho cheese and corn?! Was this invented on purpose? I can’t see how that’s possible. I honestly believe someone had an open can of corn that got accidentally dumped in some nacho cheese and no one noticed until they started eating it and then decided it was good. I would never put “nacho cheese” and “corn” together otherwise. But for some reason it’s tasty? Even as I ate it I was in disbelief. Still kinda am.
[cubana torta - milaneza, chicken, ham, chorizo, egg, american egg, jack cheese + veggies - $7.69]
Jake and T shared this Cubana Torta – this thing is packed with goodies! Milaneza (which, in this case, it a thinly sliced breaded steak cutlet), chicken, ham, chorizo and an egg… with two kinds of cheese! This is definitely a rich sandwich with all of those layers packed into one sandwich – but you’re still able to wrap your whole mouth around the sucker since everything is thin enough to still make it a decent side.
I did have one little bit and the chorizo seemed to be the most dominant flavor since it had a little bit of a spicy kick to it. I thought the egg made it “too much” – but Jake totally loved this sandwich. We had this last weekend and just last night he told me he had been thinking about this sandwich for three days! I hope I don’t lose out to a sandwich!
The flavors really meld well together and the veggies and toppings are just so fresh and flavorful – it makes such a great difference.
[pachuquena torta - milaneza, carnitas, queso oaxaca - $7.69]
I opted to try one of their newest sandwiches – something they had just added to the menu last weekend – the Pachuquena Torta! This one has that lovely thinly sliced and breaded milaneza with some tender carnitas and is topped off with melty, oozing queso Oaxaca. I forgot to ask for this sans jalapenos so I had to dig them all out and toss them at Jake who actually likes those spicy things with the seeds and all.
I love the perfectly ripe slices of avocado here – along with the super fresh leafy lettuce (green leaf instead of that lame iceberg lettuce) and other fresh veggies. The bread here is perfect and makes for a great sized sandwich – it’s fresh and had a great chew. I’m so picky about bread but I can assure you their bread is top notch.
I know this place it gonna head into “rotation” territory if Jake was daydreaming about it. I’ve had some bad tortas in my time and I’m happy to finally report and say that I do like tortas after all!
In addition to tortas, Tropical Fruit Paradise also offers smoothies, juices, milkshakes, fruit salads, pico de gallo, escamocha, breakfast bagels, quesadillas, salads and wraps – a little bit of everything for a variety of tastes!
Tropical Fruit Paradise
10387 Friars Rd.
San Diego, CA 92120
M-Sa: 9AM – 7PM
Su: 10AM – 5PM
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- mary: Hi Kirk – Wow, you tried it 3-4 times?! I’m glad someone else can confirm that it wasn’t just me who had a bad meal!
- Kirk: Hi Mary – This place is terrible, tried it about 3-4 times when we moved a couple of miles away. Bitter orange juice, SYSCO products at...
- mary: Haha I thought so
- J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats: Sorry the food was kindof mediocre…however “barfed flowers all over the place” is the most perfect description for...
- mary: Hi CC – The one in Clairemont is kind of hidden, too. Must be some kind of weird theme… the wallpaper is pretty bad. I could also see the...
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