Before the Navy transferred this Midwesterner to San Diego, my concept of a taco was ground beef seasoned with Lawry’s® Taco Seasoning Mix, shredded iceberg lettuce, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese in a crunchy taco shell that disintegrated on taking your first bite. Of course, living in San Diego has changed that perspective of tacos completely.
Even so, up until a few months ago, I wasn’t familiar with birria tacos. What is birria, you ask? Well, from Wikipedia:
Birria is a Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco. The Spanish term “birria” is used to describe immaterial things without value or quality. It is a traditional ancestral soup or stew made from a combination of chili pepper-based goat meat adobo, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and thyme, and cooked at a low heat.
Beef or lamb can be substituted for the goat meat, too. Yes, soups or stews are typically served in bowls, but it can also be placed into a couple of freshly made corn tortillas and turned into a birria taco. It’s a bit of a messy dining experience, picking up a stew in a tortilla, but it’s well worth it.
During my visit to Barrio Logan and Chicano Park, I decided it was time to try a birria taco, so I stopped at the neighborhood 664 TJ Birrieria (664 TJ has multiple locations in the San Diego area).
I ordered a quesabirria taco. It came piping hot on double corn tortillas with gooey melted cheese, beef birria, diced raw white onions, and a heaping pile of fresh Cilantro on top. Limes, radishes, and a dipping sauce were served on the side.
It was so flavorful—the meat was really tender, there was just enough spice, and the cheese formed long strings as you took a bite. In fact, it was so good, I ordered a second one even though I wasn’t all that hungry. Both had generous servings of birria on them, but the second one seemed to have just a tad more and, by the time I finished it, I was full.
This particular 664 TJ Birrieria had a friendly, helpful staff; a small dining room for indoor dining; and some outdoor seating as well. They also offer take-out service.
Birria tacos have moved to near the top of my favorite tacos list. Try them.
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What You Need to Know
|Location:||1794 Newton Ave, San Diego, CA 92113|
|Transit:||Buses 12 and 929; Blue Line Trolley to Barrio Logan Station|
|Hours:||7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Daily|
|Tips:||There is free 2-hour street parking throughout the neighborhood.|
|Date Visited:||Sunday, 27 February 2022|
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