Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Register
News & Press: ISPLS

The Traveling Surveyor

Monday, August 20, 2018   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Ryan C. Swingley, PS, ISPLS President
Share |

Article originally appears in the Spring 2018 issue of the Hoosier Surveyor


By Ryan C. Swingley, PS, ISPLS President


The summer of 2017 marked my twentieth year in the surveying profession.  I have been blessed to survey in four different countries and on three different continents.  Through these travels I have gotten to work with surveyors from all different walks of life, and among all of them there is always a deep burning question that arises on a daily basis: “What is for lunch?”


An old party chief, Bob Grey, that I had the pleasure of working under during my time with United Consulting, used to say that where to go for lunch is the hardest decision of the day.  So, in an effort to find a little lightheartedness in what seems to be a never-ending discussion of legal and technical issues, I have decided to try my hand at being a food critic and make that tough daily decision a little easier.


I got an offer from a trusted colleague, Brian L. Haggard, PS, with Banning Engineering, to discuss some ins and outs of Indiana route surveying.  Brian had suggested we go to a place he had found during his travels, so I decided to give it a shot.  Let’s back up just a second; it is no big secret that I like food, but more specifically, I like Mexican food.  The place that Brian suggested was called Super Tortas ( at 2641 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, 46222, Ph. 317-423-2511.


Brian and I met on a Tuesday around 11:45 am on a cold and rainy October day.  On the Super Tortas website, they have a place to make an online reservation for their peak hours.  This RSVP process seemed to be a bit out of place for this type of establishment.  When I walked in Brian was already seated and there were only a few other patrons inside, so we must have been ahead of the rush. 


By the loudly colored exterior I was expecting the interior to be the typical colorful and overstated Mexican décor, but I was pleasantly surprised that the interior was tastefully done.  The environment was warm with a nice mix of textures from an earth-toned stone tile floor to old-world style wrought iron tables and chairs topped with dark stained wood tops and Mexican inspired wall hangings.  A large chalkboard adorned the main wall near the kitchen listing the day’s specials. 


But let’s get on to the food.  The specialty of this establishment is obviously tortas, and they have 29 different torta choices.  A torta is Mexican sandwich, typically with your choice of meat, cheese, tomatoes, avocado and mayo.  Brian was there early so he was seated with some chips and salsa waiting.  The offering was not your typical chips with one salsa as there was a traditional tomato-based, a salsa verde, pickled jalapenos and a chipotle-based salsa. While the salsas were great, the chips were not the warm, hot out of the fryer chips we have all come to know and love from our local Mexican restaurants, so some improvements could be made in the chip department. 


Once I was seated our waitress was prompt in offering me a drink.  I ordered unsweetened ice tea per usual but was informed that they don’t offer tea.  They have some unique drink offering with their specialty being fruit flavored waters.  I settled for a Horchata which is a rice-based drink that has a subtle creaminess with sugar and cinnamon flavors.  The Horchata was a nice way to cool down the heat from the jalapenos that I can’t stay away from.


After putting a hurt on the chips and salsa and some light conversation, it was time to order.  I chose the #19 Argentina which had breaded steak, pineapple, American cheese, mayo, tomato, avocado and jalapenos and pastor taco.  Pastor or al pastor is spit grilled pork marinated in Mexican spices and pineapple. The spit-roasting process is done typically like you would see gyro meat or shawarma being cooked.  I did not see this set up in the kitchen so I can only assume that they buy their pastor from a vendor or just oven roast it. 


The taco was served in the typical traditional fashion as double wrapped in corn tortilla with cilantro and onion with a lime on the side.  Don’t let the fact that they don’t have an in-house spit roaster fool you; this was a damn fine taco with the star of the show being the dense and flavorful corn tortillas. 


Making light work of the taco, I moved on to my torta.  The bread had sesame seeds on top which I had not seen before on tortas I have had in the past.  There was a definite thick layer of American cheese that provided a creaminess that paired well with the jalapenos and pineapple.  I have never had pineapple on a torta — or any other sandwich for that matter — but let me say that I will be playing with the fruit on my sandwiches in my home kitchen in the near future.  The pineapple provided just enough sweetness and did not overpower the party of flavors going on with this culinary work of art.  Let me make this clear … this was a good sandwich! 


Super Tortas really seems to have gotten some things right and it looks to be working for them.  The prices were reasonable with most tortas costing $6.75, and the portions were just right as I left feeling satisfied and not under or overfed.  If you are ever in this area I would not hesitate to give Super Tortas a dance; I don’t think you will be disappointed.  


In keeping with the theme of food review for land surveyors I have come up with a multipoint scoring system that will make it clear where the reviewed establishment might fit in your lunch plans.  Of course our rating scale is 0 to 5 plumb bobs.


Rating Criteria

A place to take clients:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Field Crew Friendly:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Would I want to eat there on a hot day:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Would I want to eat there on a cold day:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Portions:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Quality:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Cleanliness:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Quality of the restroom (important for field crews): Did not use the restroom

Service:  out of 5 plumb bobs

Overall Score:  out of 5 plumb bobs


Penny A. Narum says...
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2018
Thanks, Ryan! Enjoyed this blog! Penny Narum
Mark A. Gardner says...
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2018
Ryan, I was certain I had seen every topic a surveyor could possible be interested in covered in one seminar, trade magazine or another. I am quite happy to be wrong, again. You have chosen an excellent topic and as you said, generally conceived as being, the most important decision of almost every day. There have been few President's Columns that have strayed from the expected topics, this is truly a treat. I hope you continue this and look forward to the next edition. 5 out of 5 plumb bobs for you!!

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal