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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Memphis Eats: Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

Two posts in one day!  Wowza!  I'm backkkk!  I'm going to keep with my Mexican theme and talk about my other favorite Mexican spot, Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana.  It is a Mexican restaurant, but putting it in the category with other Mexican restaurants in Memphis doesn't really do it justice.  I just went on and on about Las Delicias for its yummy, cheap uniqueness.  And it is great, but eating at Las Tortugas makes you feel like you've never really even had Mexican food before that moment.  

I didn't know about Las Tortugas, and we ate dinner at Iris when we moved back to Memphis.  The chef there, Kelly English, said that Las Tortugas was one of his favorite Memphis restaurants.  And as amazing as Restaurant Iris is, you sort of have to run straight to Las Tortugas to try it the very next day.  Sooo we did, and now it is one of our favorite places to eat when we get out towards Germantown.  So much so that it was my first meal I requested after I had my baby!  

All the ingredients are FRESH.  Fresh like you can see a minivan with the fresh produce that they have picked up that morning sitting out back behind the restaurant.  The owner, Jose "Pepe" Magallanes and his son, Jonathan, have been there every time I've eaten there.  His son is usually at the register, and no matter how crowded it is, will take the time to tell you all about the menu, what the deli is all about, and anything else you'd like to know.  There are various local and national newspaper and magazine articles featuring the restaurant on the walls, along with signs like this one to make sure those California folks appreciate the authenticity that Las Tortugas is:

This is just not your usual Memphis restaurant.  The food is authentic in a you didn't even know what authentic was until you tried it sort of way.  They buy the veggies and meat locally.  Everything is so, so delicious.  Lobster, brisket, chicken, shrimp and other amazing daily choices can be done as a tortuga (a sandwich on freshly baked and grilled bread) or as tacos on corn tortillas.  

It is all amazing.  And then on to my very favorite.  This is my crack.  The Elote con cotija y mayonesa.  Oh my goodness.  It is AH-mazing.  It is steamed sweet corn on a stick, rolled in lime, cotija cheese, mayo, and crushed chilis.  Wow.  Just go there, order one of the amazing tortugas or tacos and then do not leave without getting the elote.  I sometimes stop by just for the corn.  I often dream about it.  It was a pregnancy craving.  And when I move away from Memphis I will crave this and Central BBQ nachos.  

The food is a little pricey as far as lunch goes because everything is so fresh and purchased locally.  The dining area is very small, there is almost always a line, and a wait for tables.  So try to get there early and beat the lunch crowd.  You will not be disappointed.  Las Tortugas is at 1215 South Germantown Road in a shopping complex next to Waffle House and across from Chick-Fil-A.

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana on Urbanspoon

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