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Exclusive: Macheen and Horchatería Rio Luna to Open New School Torta Shop in Paramount

Expect a tender beef barbacoa torta served with guajillo consomé to dip, a torta ahogada de camarón (shrimp) with a yuzu avocado puree drowned in a spicy lobster stock, and a "Mexi-Italian" sandwich with panela, hot pistachio salsa macha, and mortadella. This innovative torta venture in SELA is set to open next week on Monday.

6:10 PM PST on December 4, 2023

Jonathan Perez keeps hustling.

The Alta California taquero behind Macheen at Smorgasburg and Distrito Catorce in Boyle Heights, and the 2020 winner of our Taco Madness tournament, is set to open a new torta and sandwich shop named Birote in Paramount next week. Perez is partnering with David and Ashley Vasquez, owners of Horchatería Rio Luna for the new school torta venture in SELA.

Raised in Carson and Long Beach, Perez may be best known for his legendary pork belly-filled breakfast burrito and fried cod sandwiches with aguachile slaw, but the classically-trained chef's passion for food seems never-ending.

At a recent event for Northgate, Perez was serving tacos al pastor made from thinly sliced lamb layered with fresh mint, and another with turkey in adobo. Now at his new place, he will apply his wildly creative and layered food inspiration to tortas made on Gusto Bread’s coveted, crusty sourdough birote roll.

According to Perez, his partnership with the Vasquez duo, which brings together some of L.A.’s most humble and successful food and drink entrepreneurs, felt natural from the start.

“David went up to me to let me know of their space at their building, and he was just cool as fuck," Perez tells L.A. TACO in a phone interview. "It was a great opportunity for all of us, because who doesn’t crave a nice torta when having some great coffee?”

Oyster mushroom torta. Photo via Jonathan Perez.
Gusto's Birote rolls. Photo via Jonathan Perez.

“We are grateful to make this bread for them, considering we aren’t a traditional wholesale bakery,” says Arturo Enciso, the co-owner and panadero behind Gusto. “Given that we also don’t deliver at the moment. We are a small operation, and oftentimes, they can find this bread cheaper at other bakeries, but they choose us, and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the relationships this bread has built. Birote has connected me to some of the warmest people on Earth.”

Currently, Perez thinks Birote is due to be open for lunch on Monday at 11 AM, with an opening menu of seven tortas: 

Beef barbacoa, caramelized onion, smoked gouda, served with a guajillo consomé to dip 

Torta ahogada de camarón (shrimp), herb oil, yuzu-avocado puree, frijoles puercos, drowned in lobster stock

Chicharrón bahn mi, Korean honey spiced salsa macha, pickled vegetables, cilantro, herb aioli

Mexi-talian: Torched panela, hot pistachio salsa macha, mortadella, soppresata 

Oyster mushrooms in red adobo, garlic arugula spread, swiss cheese

Pollo asado (fire-grilled chicken), fresh salsa, and chipotle gouda, fresh arugula

Eventually, once Perez and his staff get their bearings, he wants to introduce more tortas, like one inspired by carne en su jugo. 

For beverages, you can expect Macheen’s aguas frescas, including yuzu lemonade, along with Horchatería Rio Luna's famous matcha and coffee-based lattes, plus freshly baked pastries for dessert.  

15950 Paramount Blvd. Paramount, CA 90723. Closest transit lines and stop: Metro Lines 128, 258, and 265 or Long Beach Transit Line 23 - "Paramount/Alondra."

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