It takes a massive jaw and a serious appetite to conquer a cemita poblana, a beast of a sandwich constructed from a plush sesame roll jam-packed with ripe avocados, panela cheese, Oaxacan string cheese, salsa, onions, and any number of proteins. Here at Cemitas Don Adrian, the Pueblan specialty comes together like a dream.
A thoroughly enticing write up by Linda Burum in the Times inspired The Astronomer and me to pay this Valley sandwich shop a visit. We arrived at neither the lunch nor dinner hour, which meant that we had the place practically to ourselves.
On our first trip to Don Adrian, The Astronomer and I shared a cemita layered with cecina adobada, a kind of beef jerky that the shop’s proprietor Adolfo Huerta makes in-house using techniques and recipes passed down from his grandfather Don Adrian. With its distinct notes of achiote and cumin, the cecina adobada was absolutely irresistible. Of all the proteins available, this one packed the biggest wallop.
The magic of Don Adrian’s cemitas stayed with us long after our last bite. When we found ourselves in the Valley a few weekends later, a second go round was all but guaranteed. The Astronomer and I each ordered our own sandwich this time around.
The Astronomer opted for the cecina asada, a simpler, spice-less version of the beef jerky we enjoyed prior. The pickled red jalapenos really made this cemita pop.
I was explicably drawn to the house-made queso de puerco (pork headcheese), which was paired with a smoky poblano salsa. The cool, thin slices of headcheese were abundant and pleasingly gelatinous—a damn fine filling for this headcheese diggin’ gal.
Cemitas Don Adrian
14902 Victory Boulevard
San Fernando Valley, CA 91411
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