When discussing his kitchen's culinary techniques with reporters from Community Impact Newspaper, David Reyes explained, "The difference here is we are not just laboring—we are putting our feelings in the ingredients." By honoring his family's recipes in everything from salsa to mole, Reyes nurtures a passion for his native country's cuisine. The staff echoes this feeling in the care and attention they put into each dish. They marinate pork in a savory blend of achiote, orange, and garlic before slow-roasting it for their signature cochinita pibil. They fire-roast poblano peppers and grill tender beef for tampiqueña plates. And they spend hours on the mole sauce, which, in accordance with Reyes' grandmother's recipe, has 25 separate ingredients.
Out in the dining room of both restaurants, guests sip fresh-fruit licuados and aguas frescas or indulge in BYOB amid walls of blue and yellow, and strings of colorful paper flags stretch across the ceiling. At the Fonda Santa Rosa location, Mexican paintings, ceramics, and framed copies of Reyes family recipes speckle walls with a touch of history.
Tortas El Angel’s cooks spill a cascade of lovingly spiced meats into french bread receptacles to forge the menu's 13 titular tortas. The sandwiches burst with flavorful skirmishes between explosive jalapeños and tangy chipotle dressing, mediated by the cubana torta's ham, pork, and sausage ($5.99¬–$8.99) or the beef and egg of the nortena torta ($5.99¬–$8.99). The selection of tacos ($1.65 each), whose diminutive size makes them ideal for bribing hungry librarians, showcases corn or tortilla discs buckling under the weight of chicken, beef, or pastor. Bend straws around a dulcet array of aquas frescas ($1.75¬–$2.25): from tamarindo as delicately sweet as the tears of Kool-Aid Man to the cinnamon-fueled party of horchata. Diners digitally supplement the authentic fare that fills El Angel's welcoming digs on the restaurant's free WiFi.