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[Photograph: Molly Durham]

Before now, I had never even looked at the torta menu at Taco Joint. Why do that when their tacos are so consistently great? Turns out the tortas are worth checking out. The panela torta ($7) may not be up to the standards of the gargantuan, crusty-breaded tortas of Tortas Frontera, but it holds its own.

I dove into this sandwich thinking it would be like a Mexican grilled cheese, but the warm slab of queso panela is soft but not melted. The black bean salsa and red jalapeƱo aioli create a spicy and creamy mixture that gives a hearty taste to this meatless sandwich. The bread is the softest (and without any crunch) of any torta I've met. So, it may not be worth straying from the awesome tacos here (especially the estilo baja), but if you're a regular and wanna switch it up, it's worth a try.

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