I bought a bag--an enormous, three-pound bag, because that was the smallest available size--of tortillas at my local El Super on Saturday afternoon. At 3:30 p.m., when I checked out (and bagged the purchase myself, because that's apparently how El Supers keep their prices almost exactly the same as every full-service Mexican market in Orange County), the bag of tortillas was hot off the press.
When I say hot off the press, I mean that as I waited on line, I watched the tortillas come off the press, get put into a bag, and then I took the bag and paid for it.
At 5:50 p.m., when I went to heat them on the stovetop burner for dinner, half a dozen of them had cracked under the strain of being driven 1.1 miles in a car, and one of them was moldy. I've bought hundreds of pounds of tortillas since moving to Califas, and I've never, ever had a moldy tortilla. I debated driving back to the store, but then I thought about what El Super looks like just before dinnertime on a weekend, and I decided to just "eat" (no pun intended) the loss.
After inspecting the remaining tortillas, there was the problem of heating them. They were so thin and floppy that I couldn't heat them through without them falling apart on the burner cover, so we ate only partially-reheated tortillas. Then they disintegrated around a relatively dry filling of grilled grass-fed ribeye, chunky guacamole, and sautéed onions and bell peppers. It was a multiple-napkin dinner on Saturday.
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The taste? They tasted like the usual Maseca-type tortillas. They tasted like every other supermarket tortilla; better than Mission and Guerrero, but not much better. I've had better tortillas in North Dakota.
Grade: F. If your choice is between wrapping your Sunday carne asada in an El Super tortilla or in a piece of soft, mushy, Bimbo white bread, pick the white bread, every time.
There are four El Supers in Orange County, or look them up at elsupermarkets.com.
650 N. Euclid St., Anaheim; 714-533-3761.
1221 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim; 714-518-5490. (This was the location of purchase.)
2445 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana; 714-338-5023.
3700 W. McFadden St., Santa Ana; 714-775-9256.