I'm not sure what prompted the trend, but at some point this year, my social media feed started filling up with alluring images of quesabirria tacos—thick, rusty orange-red wonders that were impossible to scroll past. I had to learn more.
Quesabirria is a style of taco, not one specific dish, and can be made with a number of meats. All on its own, birria is a stew that was first made with goat meat in the Mexican region of Jalisco, but today it is made with beef, pork, lamb, chicken...whatever.
What distinguishes quesabirria tacos (they are also commonly called just "birria tacos") from other types is the treatment of the tortilla. The meat is cooked slowly in a savory broth until it's tender. Then, to put the dish together, the taco maker dips a corn tortilla in the broth, places it on a flattop grill and then fills it with the meat, plus flavorings like cheese, diced onion and cilantro. On the grill, the tortilla begins sizzling and turning crispy and is then folded over the filling to make a cozy little package.
The technique gives the tacos a Mars-like hue and a unique richness that can be enhanced even further by dipping the taco in a consommé made from the meat's cooking broth. With a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some spicy red or green salsa, it's an astonishing package—at least it is at Bombón, a restaurant on U.S. 301 in north Sarasota that is now making double-tortilla beef birria tacos.
Bombón is selling them for $2.50 each, plus $2 if you'd like a small bowl of consommé for dipping. Three tacos makes for a very filling lunch. Partner up with a loved one and split the consommé. Bombón isn't the only local restaurant selling birria tacos; Sarasota's Darwin Peruvian Eatery has offered them, as has The Spot in Bradenton.
Be warned that while they deliver exceptional flavor, birria tacos also create quite a mess. Red broth will coat your fingertips, soak through multiple napkins and maybe even ruin your shirt. Worth it.
Bombón is located at 1118 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, and is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. For more info, call (941) 487-8199 or visit the restaurant's Facebook page.