Tucked in at the back of an alleyway in the Rancho del Mar shopping center is a little taqueria called Sofia’s. The staff is friendly, the menu is hand-written on a white board, and they have my vote for the best chimichanga ever eaten.
Whether this dish was created in the American Southwest or brought from Sinaloa and Sonora in Mexico where it is called a chivichanga is unclear, but Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz in her Complete Book of Mexican Cooking refers to it as any burrito that has been fried.
I first experienced this plate as a teenager. A huge flour tortilla was packed with meat, rice, refried beans and salsa, deep-fried, and served with avocado and sour cream. At that active age, I felt minimal guilt about stuffing myself with the obscenely large portion.
I ordered Sofia’s amazing Chimichanga ($4.95) with chili verde. The plump package contained no fillers, just the pork in a traditionally flavored sauce with melted cheese. It was griddled, not fried, giving its flour tortilla wrapper a crisp and crumbly texture, reminiscent of puff pastry.
We also enjoyed an Enchilada dinner plate ($8.95) on which corn tortillas, stuffed with shredded chicken, were covered in a brick red sauce. They were served with lightly seasoned rice, creamy beans, salsa fresca, sour cream and seasoned guacamole.
Sofia’s had one house-made cooked salsa which was smoky, spicy, dark and smooth, and served with large crunchy tortilla chips.
Sofia’s is famous for burritos ($4.95 to $6.50), and the Burrito L.A. contains just meat and salsa fresca. For about $2.50 extra, Burritos, sopes, flautas, tortas and super tacos are served with choice of soup, salad or nachos.
There is even a kids menu ($2.25 to $3.95) with nachos, burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. | KP
Sofia’s Taqueria, 112 Rancho del Mar Center, Aptos, 688-1417. Beer and wine. Open daily from 11 a.m., closing at 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sundays. Visit sofiastaqueria.com.