illustration by MARK STIVERS

I just vacationed in Mexico City, and my No. 1 question was: How would our Mexican food stack up against that of the Distrito Federal? Specifically, the tortas and al pastor—since both dishes originate in that city. After all, we have two torta spots (El Abuelo Super Tortas Chilangas, 5045 Franklin Boulevard; Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, 6035 Franklin Boulevard), and one restaurant (Lalo’s Restaurant, 5063 24th Street) dedicated to “Chilango”-style food. The tortas are smaller and a heck of a lot cheaper south of the border (around $2-$3 to our $7-$10). They mostly stick to the simple meat choices, although some do offer the crazy “Hawaiiana” and “Cubana” pileups our torta spots traffic in. I like a simple sandwich, so score one for the D.F. However, in the race to have the cheapest al pastor, the meat quality can really suffer. I got a couple of al pastor tacos there that I wouldn’t feed to a dog, so Lalo’s certainly triumphs on that front. In fact, Lalo’s is still the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to on either side of the border. Goooaaaallllllll!