The insane Torta Cubana at Real Mexico in Columbia, SC
This monster sandwich contains at least the following fillings, griddled and then stuffed into the Mexican bakery version of French bread: ham, milanesa (breaded, fried pork cutlet), chorizo sausage, scrambled egg, hot dogs (I jest not), avocado, cheese, mayonnaise, and more.
If you saw celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" TV episode on San Francisco, CA, back in 2009, you saw him dive face first into this exact type of torta at the legendary Mission District corner store, That's It - The Center of the Mile.
(We used to stop in there for travelers of Tecate and Modelo on the way to Dolores Park when I lived in the neighborhood.)
Seriously. Look at those hot dogs.
Even after a couple of brunch-time top shelf margaritas, I couldn't finish even half of this sandwich. I guilted my business partner's boyfriend into taking it home with him, because he is avid about not wasting anything. Thanks, Derek!
Loved by local foodies for their small, street food-sized tacos smothered in chipotle chicken, queso fresco and cilantro, Real Mexico is the restaurant I recommend when people ask about an authentic Mexican place in the Midlands.
Close second: La Fogata. I also hear that El Poblano in Chapin is the bomb. For fresh, hipster burritos and salads? El Burrito, of course! For upscale agave nectar margaritas? Cantina 76, although their fancied up Mexican menu is just ok in my book. (That said, I would happily hoover up their queso, guac and salsa trio any day of the week.)
Out front at Real Mexico: a planter made out of an old candy dispenser. Is there anything more awesome than pansies and dirt planted in an old gumball machine?
That's right. There's not.