Fresh Flavors: Birrieria y Tacos Alex Tijuana Style brings spice to the food truck scene

Berea, a slow-cooked, spiced meat dish that originated in Jalisco on the Pacific coast of central Mexico, is the latest culinary gift from our neighbors to the south.

Mexicans developed beeria centuries ago as a way to extract oomph from goat meat. It was usually served as soup or in a bowl of consomé, but when the dish migrated north to Tijuana, locals rolled the shredded meat into tacos and then dunked the whole thing in beef for a Mexican version of the French dipping sandwich.

Birria Restaurant took over the L.A. dining scene when it got there a few years ago, and is now found in major cities across the country.

A vacant plot in NW 4th is the unlikely birria center of Albuquerque. This is where the Birrieria y Tacos Alex Tijuana Style food truck holds its court seven days a week. The truck—actually a trailer towed by a pickup truck—had a roving presence, moving up and down Fourth Street before settling a few months earlier on the other side of Bob’s Burgers, a quarter of a mile south of Montaño. Like most food trucks, it relies on social media to promote itself and inform customers about specials and opening hours. Her Facebook page has several videos of the food being prepared. The favorite picture shows a man grinding a dozen chili peppers in preparation for making salsa.

Pereraria parked on the edge of a vacant lot at 4 th northwest near Montaño. (Richard Dargan/for the magazine)

The last lunch hour found a swarm of customers lining up at the bright-red trailer, the side of which was caricatured of a smiling pile of meat wearing a sombrero on a spit. There were construction workers on their lunch break, a group of teenagers and a man waiting to clean his car at the nearby car wash. Spanish was spoken freely.

Open-faced taco pastor and taco quesa with Beria at Birrieria y Tacos Alex Tijuana Style. (Richard Dargan/for the magazine)

Like most other places these days, beeraria avoids goat and mutton and makes its signature dish with easy-to-find beef that is reasonably priced. Other meat options include Al Pasteur and Carne Asada. You can get the meat in tacos, piled on top of french fries or with ramen ($13). The most expensive item on the menu is the libra de carne ($25), a family-style meal that comes with a pound of meat, tortillas, consommé, onions, and guacamole.

Perhaps none of the menu options offer better periya than the quesa tacos ($4). Large cornflakes, rusty red from dipping in the consomme, are placed on the stove and stuffed with beef and shredded cheese. After folding, each taco is dipped in a ladle of beef while it’s fried on the grill. The result is sticky, juicy, greasy and delicious. Spices such as cinnamon and cumin reflect the influence of Arab culture on Mexican cuisine. It’s one of the best tacos in town.

Regular tacos ($2.50) are served open-ended on two mini cornflakes, meat drenched in a pile of onions, cilantro, and lovely guacamole. Like the beeriya, the wonderful pastor smelled of Middle Eastern spice, with an interesting note of sweetness from pineapple juice.

Moleta pereria, a close cousin of quesadilla, is full of guacamole and meat. (Richard Dargan/for the magazine)

Mollita ($6), a close relative of the quesadilla, is a sandwich made with two crunchy tortillas wrapped around meat, onions, cilantro, and guacamole. Served with lemon, onion, and pepper, it’s a little better than the taco quesa.

The Perriera makes a jumbo torta with cheese, diced onions, and the meat of your choice. (Richard Dargan/for the magazine)

Pereraria also features a huge torta ($10) with meat and sliced ​​onions in a layer of melted cheese on a roll the size of a mini pizza. Filled with spiced carne asada, it tastes like philly steak, and there’s enough to easily feed two.

The food is not particularly spicy; It doesn’t matter, because the salsa rojo and green sauce that comes with it has wallpaper.

Drinks include Mexican soda ($3) and agua fresca ($3). The day I was there they were serving agua de pepino, a mixture of cucumber, sugar and lemon that was tart and chilled, a perfect accompaniment to the food.

The beeraria takes only coins. You order from one window, get a number and then pick up your food from the second window. The two women running the process that day were friendly and efficient, and my food came out in about five minutes.

My only complaint is that there weren’t enough tissues in the bag. It’s a minor inconvenience, and in any case, food like this is worth the risk of a little splashing on your clothes.

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