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Las Vegas Food Truck Serving Up BIRRIA-STUFFED Tamales

Birria has been booming in the food scene outside of those in the know recently. For those that have been up on it, they’ll probably tell you, “What took y’all so long?”

And I get it, birria, from its origins in Jalisco, Mexico to the widespread appeal it enjoys today, is something that shouldn’t be treated as some new trend. Proponents (which I assume would be pretty much anyone that’s had it because it’s f*cking delicious) will extoll the virtues of its savory allure all day, all the while pointing you in every direction to where you can enjoy it in different iterations and contemporary takes. This then can take you into a fantastic journey that will have you feasting through creative takes like birria ramen and birria pizza.

However, keep going further in that journey and you might find yourself in Las Vegas, Nevada, just like I did, where birria takes on the form of tamales. Yes, the concept of birria has now found a home inside a warm tamal, with melty cheese as its roommate, all courtesy of El Tamalucas, the city’s first tamale food truck.

Since opening El Tamalucas in 2014, owner Saul Talavera has innovated his recipes and expanded the repertoire of his takes on the iconic dish, which include unique selections like chicken alfredo tamales and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos tamales. His next hit is the BirriQueso Tamale Dunkers, which I described earlier, and is a holy trinity of birria, consomé, and cheese. My mouth just watered typing out that sentence and now I’m fighting the urge to buy a plane ticket to Las Vegas. That’s because these tamales were one of the best things I’d eaten this year and the memories of having it look like a rush of the rich, bold consomé-soaked, cheese and birria-stuffed tamale cascading down my greedy gullet.

If you’re trying to catch a glorious fever dream off one bite, absolutely look up El Tamalucas when you’re out making questionable decisions in Las Vegas.

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A Birria Festival Is Coming to Los Angeles, Of Course

Birria’s popularity appears to be reaching critical mass as Birriamania, an entire festival presented by L.A. Taco in honor of the stewed meat, will be held at San Gabriel Valley’s Santa Anita Park on March 21st. 

Very few foods had a moment like birria in 2019, as plates stacked with vibrant red, shredded meat-filled tacos lined Instagram explore pages and food websites alike– including ours

The new festival showcases many of the taco spots that became famous in the wake of birria’s explosion onto the scene, such as Teddy’s Red Tacos and Birria Gonzalez. 

There’s far more to birria than the oft-covered Tijuana-style birria de res, though. The line up reflects that, as it features the Zacatecan Birria Nochistlan and The Goat Mafia, a Compton-based joint that uses a more traditional recipe with goat meat. Other, more fusion-based choices, like L.A. Birria’s birria ramen, will be available as well.

In addition to a lot of tender meat and rich consomé, there’s also a prize at stake here: the fabled Birriamania Championship Belt. Each attendee will vote for their favorite birria, and a panel of judges with supreme birria knowledge will be in attendance.

Tickets can be purchased here for $19 until March 5th, when they become $30. Considering a ticket comes with four tacos and a beer, that’s not too bad at all. I’ve definitely spent $30 in much, much worse ways in LA. 

It might be time to skip the overpriced drinks and club cover charges, and spend a nice Saturday eating delicious birria and drinking cold beer. 

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Restaurants

A Los Angeles Pizza Joint Created A BIRRIA TACO PIZZA

I was in my mid-twenties when I first discovered the joy of a birria taco. A popular Mexican dish consisting of goat or beef meat, the protein is cooked in a spicy consommé, which is a rich broth. I would wait in line at the taco trucks on many late nights making sure I get a plate of fresh birria tacos. My friends and I would enjoy the juicy meat folded inside the tortilla and, if offered, dunk the tacos straight into the consommé.

Rose City Pizza in Rosemead, CA, is now offering another iteration you can enjoy the time-honored dish in, and thankfully, it’s a pizza. The Birria Pizza is the newest addition to the Rose City menu, joining the ranks of such iconic pizzas as the Elote Pizza, Al Pastor Pizza, and even a Filipino Breakfast Pizza.

To start hearty chunks of beef are braised with guajillo and ancho chiles, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and thyme overnight. They’re then seared, shredded, and added to the pizza.

On the crust, the birria is combined with mozzarella, diced onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a Chile de arbol salsa. Once sliced, it’s served with a cup of the consommé you can dunk your pizza straight into or enjoy on its own.

This isn’t Rose City’s first foray into taco-inspired pizzas either. The pizzeria went viral after offering an Al Pastor pizza a few years back where the marinated pork was sliced straight from a spit right onto the dough. It gained so much notoriety that it remains on the menu to this day.

How it’s birria-based brother will fare remains to be seen. Though, having tried it, I have a good feeling it will do just as well, if not better.

Fans of birria tacos may want to check this one out if visiting the Southern California area. While some may argue that soggy pizza is a sacrilege, Rose City’s crust game is so balanced, it’s like the pizza was made for the dunk. Just make sure to arrive early if you’re itching to try some. Due to its popularity, only a limited quantity of birria will be available daily.