Cemitas Puebla is the local Mexican restaurant you wish you had in college. You might be nowhere near the glory days, but deep down there’s a little bit of college student left in us all.
There are several reasons that college students (and everyone else) love a good and easy Mexican place. One - it’s cheap, and most students are broke (you might still be broke). Two - Mexican food helps you get all the major food groups (cilantro, an herb, should be loosely interpreted as a vegetable). Three - it's delicious, whether you're sober, drunk, or hungover (you need all the help with hangovers you can get these days). And that's why if Michelin Stars were awarded by broke and drunk college students, Cemitas Puebla would earn at least two stars - we would also be more interested in the Michelin Guide.
Cemitas, if you don’t know, are a specific type of torta (sandwich) served on a sesame roll that can be traced back to Puebla, Mexico. And Cemitas Puebla serves such a quality version of this staple because of their attention to detail and homemade touch. Homemade touch, in this instance, comes in the form of freshly baked sesame rolls that radiate with the three major F’s - freshness, fluffiness, and fantasticalness. The sesame rolls are the base for a great cemita, and a cemita should be the base of your meal. Throw on some meat, beans, avocado, chipotle sauce, and oaxacan cheese, and you’ve got yourself a delicious sandwich.
Feel free to mix in a taco or two for good measure, because they are just as good. Aside from those, we find it difficult to ever opt for a burrito or regular torta. It's more a testament to the quality of the cemitas and tacos than it is a knock against the rest of the items on the menu.
As far as the restaurant goes, it’s a take-out or quick meal for lunch/dinner kind of a place. This original Humboldt Park location was recently given a makeover to give it a cleaner and newer look. Luckily, a fresh paint job, wood floors, and new picnic bench tables won't alter the quality of your meal.
The old college you would hit up Cemitas Pueblas on the regular. Don't let the new you get led astray.
Wondering how you get the name Cemita Atomica? By having breaded pork loin, grilled pork loin, and ham all on one sesame roll. It's a little over-the-top, so not exactly our usual order. That said, it's worth giving a try at least once.
The carne asada is our favorite meat at Cemitas Puebla, and a cemita is our preferred way to eat it. Juicy and well-seasoned steak on a fresh sesame roll with beans, avocado, chipotle sauce, and oaxacan cheese. So good.
The milanesa is a breaded pork loin, and another strong cemita choice. The pork loin is thinly pounded out and lightly coated, so the breading isn't too much.
Not surprisingly, the same meat we like on a cemita works well in a corn tortilla with onions and cilantro too.
Along with the carne asada, this Mexican chorizo is our other favorite. The chorizo has great flavor, plus it's thinly chopped to the point it gets just a hint of crisp from the grill on certain bites. Delicious.
Thinly sliced and salt cured steak that's distinctly different from the carne asada. Still good, and another taco worth giving a try.
Decent chicken, but not as good as the options above.
You can get burritos with carne asada, pollo, or al pastor. Our dilemma is that even though we think Cemitas Puebla makes a solid burrito, we always prefer a sandwich in cemita form.