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Birria anyone?

A Tale of Two Taco's

So I woke up this morning, checked Facebook, and what did I spy with my little eye? A post from one of my Favorite local restaurants. They had a special offering today. Birria.... For those who don't know, Birria is beef roast, slowly cooked in different chilis, spices, onion, and garlic.. It is then shredded, placed on two corn tortillas which are then dipped in the cooking sauce. The tortilla is then stuffed with cheese & Birria, and toasted on the cooktop. It is served with onion, cilantro, lime, and a cup of the cooking sauce (or consommé) for dipping. the taco in. Drooling yet?

Until now, I have only really enjoyed (though I have tried it at many) Birria at one restaurant in town. Wapo Taco. Yes, I know, Wapo Taco. Imagine my glee when I woke up this morning, and see this post from El Buen Gusto . El Buen is a family owned restaurant. They hail from Los Angeles, so their style of cooking mexican food is much closer to the style I grew up with in El Paso. I have never eaten anything at this restaurant I did not LOVE!! My plan was to get a taco (or two) from each restaurant, do a blind taste test, and pick the one I liked the best.

Since Susan (the Thelma to my Louise) was out pricing rocks for a landscaping project (it was kinda spur of the moment), and my husband (the Fred to my Wilma) was working. The blind taste test would have to be aided by my youngest daughter Shelbie (she has the temperament of the monster from Where the Wild Things Grow). I asked her for her help, and she gnashed her terrible teeth, and roared her terrible roar, then agreed. So with the dogs in the backseat and I in the front, we headed off to two restaurants. One I knew had good Birria and one who had never culinarily let me down. So exciting right?

Once I got home I realized my daughters help was not going to be needed. The El Buen Gusto taco looked so different than the Wapo Taco taco that I knew which was which right away. Honestly, after I was done eating them both I it was very hard to choose between them. They were both were perfect in their own way.

I started with Wapo Taco's taco. It has two corn tortillas dipped in the sauce, stuffed, and griddled. The corn tortillas are not handmade here, not that that it is a requirement. The cheese was ooey gooey, stringy, goodness. The meat was tender, easy to chew without being chewy (did not need to floss afterward). Trimmed well (nothing will set off my throw up meter faster than a hunk of mushy fat while I am enjoying my taco). The consommé was a rich beefy, spicy, broth that fit this taco perfectly. I use their aguacate salsa here which is a green salsa that I think is mixed with avocado, I don't know, just try it you'll like it..... The tacos are sold with either 1, 2, or 3 tacos. I have also had the Birria at Wapo Taco in a quesadilla and burrito, just to make it easier to eat. On a scale of 0 to 10 button extenders on my jeans I will give them an 8.

Next up to the plate, El Buen Gusto. I had not seen them in a month or two, the restaurant is small and if they aren't allowed to have 75% occupancy they cant open. It was so nice to see them again. I had not noticed how much I miss people until that moment. This is what sets them apart from Wapo Taco folks. Their corn tortillas are handmade in house. They are perfect, tender moist, just the right size. They are then stuffed with ooey gooey melted cheese and Birria beef. These are not dipped in sauce and griddled. Doesn't need it. The flavor is in the beef. It is so full of vibrant flavors. It is tender, it comes apart with ease. It has just the perfect amount of meat to cheese. No-one wants a taco that is so full of cheese you are like "where's the beef?". Neither do you want the cheese so cold it reminds you of lunch tacos in elementary school (no offense to the lunch ladies, I really did love those taco's back then). The consommé here was a little more tomato forward. It fit these tacos perfectly. Again rich, beefy, tomatoey (according to spell check this is not a word, but I am using it, suck it spell check) perfection. I have had coffee at both establishments and I like El Buen Gusto's better so I ordered it from there. No sides at either restaurant. I got the red salsa from here, but did not need to use it the taco was perfect as was. On a scale of 0 to 10 button extenders on my jeans I will give them a 9. Those corn tortillas and meat flavors set them apart in my book.


A little about the restaurants. Neither of them have dining room dining at this time. Wapo Taco has a drive thru, pick up, and delivery through Uber Eats. El Buen has call in, and they will bring it out to your car They both have Facebook and Yelp pages with menu's, hours, address, and phone numbers for ordering available online. They are Mexican food restaurants so while they have "healthier" options (ie: carne asada, fajitas, fish, salads, soups. Corn tortillas are available.) I am not sure healthy quite applies. They both did a great job with packing the food, and they were both still warm/cold when I got home. The restaurants are reasonably priced, and took about the same amount of time from ordering the food to receiving the food, about 15 min. Technically I could have called El Buen Gusto when I left my house and it would have been ready when I got there, but I wasn't thinking.

I enjoyed my quiet outing. Just a girl and her dogs. Sure was good to see old friends today. Take Care Everyone! Stay Safe and Well!

Until Next Time.......

Mel Cann