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.