This month has marked the culmination of revisited old favorites in town. Perhaps it's the recent wave of new Memphis transplants who have yet to experience restaurants I had simply taken for granted. I've played the "concierge" hat this weekend, especially, introducing new friends South Main Trolley Night, impeccable seafood and a warm, familiar crowd at Tsunami, and a healthy quick fix at LYFE Kitchen. Yesterday's lunch at Las Tortugas acquainted a whirlwind of nostalgia and joy--It had somehow been about a year since I was able to enjoy the frescas and tortas and tacos and salsas. The original spot on Germantown Parkway (though a second location is in the works!) boasts no fanciness in decor or set-up, but instead a warm, wonderful greeting by owner Jonathan Magallanes at the cash register.
Having brought a new Memphian to try the restaurant for the first time, Jonathan whisked us into a tale of the Las Tortugas process and proper recommendations. Becci and I decided (with Jonathan's blessing) to split a few must-haves: tacos, tortas and mexican street corn. Jonathan was kind enough to give Becci a guacamole sampler to accompany our meal since we did not order the full chips and guac item--arguably the best chips and guac in town.
I am routinely drawn to the flaky fish tacos with avocado, lime and cilantro. We noticed, however, a Claybrook Farms brisket taco special in green Expo market on the register's accompanying white board. Great choice. Flaky brisket from a farm only miles away worked beautifully with the avocado, and an extra smoky barbecue-inspired sauce added a tasteful kick.
Becci and I also split the smoked chicken torta, which beats any typical sandwich and pleases our carb-mindful friends. The bread is hollowed out and grilled to mimic a crispy, almost tortilla-chip-like texture. Loaded with chicken, farmer's cheese, tomato and avocado, this Mexican take on a sub is a classic go-to at the restaurant.
And, of course, we savored the extra buttery, cojita-crumbled Mexican street corn with a squeeze of lime and sprinkle of spice. In my opinion, a trip to Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana is incomplete without the street corn side. No one masters it better in Memphis.
Here's to revisiting the old but good ones; the restaurants whose consistency and quality and passion once created and now sustain Memphis' culinary merit.