“I would like the tacos for dipping” — Quesabirria by way of La Casa De Mi Abuelita Maw Maw’s Home
It’s possible you’ll by no means have heard of a quesabirria taco, but when your social media feed is peppered with meals selfies, likelihood is you’ve most likely seen one. In actual fact, that’s form of how the tacos — made with birria meat (birria is a conventional Mexican meat stew) and a beneficiant quantity of gooey melted cheese, served with a cup of birria consommé (beef broth) for dipping — turned a phenomenon on the West Coast lately. Photographs from quesabirria taco pop-ups of greasy, tacky tacos being dipped in consommé began exhibiting up on Los Angeles-area Instagram feeds and the strains began forming. If you happen to’ve seen one among these taco selfies, you perceive the hype.
I first discovered concerning the tacos from an image my brother confirmed me after he’d visited LA. I needed the taco that instantaneous. I spent a part of my downtime the subsequent six weeks flights to LA and checking Fb to see if the pattern had made its strategy to Little Rock.
An area foodie-in-the-know good friend of mine who was conscious of my preoccupation with quesabirria texted me when he discovered one. He was at The Rail Yard, an city meals truck yard and beer backyard in Little Rock’s East Village neighborhood, the place the meals truck La Casa De Mi Abuelita Maw Maw’s Home was serving what I had been in search of. Consumed (consomméd?) with jealousy, I favored the meals truck on Fb and began following its schedule. The next week, I went to The Rail Yard and picked up two orders of quesabirria tacos with consommé — one for me and one for my girlfriend, who claimed to haven’t heard of quesabirria regardless of me babbling on about eager to attempt it for weeks.
After returning residence, I went to the kitchen for meals selfies whereas my girlfriend was biting right into a taco in the lounge.
“Oh, my God,” I heard her say. “That is the perfect taco I’ve ever had in my life.”
The crispy, greasy shell, the tender stewed beef, the gooey cheese dipped in savory consommé — these tacos may save your life after an evening of partying.
“You do know I’m going to need these on a regular basis now, proper?” my girlfriend stated.
Geovanny Villagran was born in Guadalajara, the capital metropolis within the Mexican state of Jalisco and the state the place birria is claimed to have originated. Villagran stated he remembers consuming birria as a toddler, each as a taco filling and by itself as a stew. “The dish has been round Mexico for hundreds of years,” Villagran stated.
Villagran’s culinary profession began in Mexico. He operated a meals truck specializing in burritos in Mexico Metropolis earlier than he moved to the U.S. seven years in the past. His work in Little Rock has largely been in high quality eating on the Capital Resort, Little Rock Marriott and DoubleTree Resort. The latter is the place he was employed when the pandemic hit final spring.
Newly unemployed as a result of pandemic restaurant eating room shutdown, Villagran’s preliminary plan was to open a restaurant with companions, however it fell by way of. So Villagran and his spouse, Neena Villagran, determined to go their very own route.
“We needed one thing that’s ours,” Neena Villagran stated. In order that they began a farm, rising greens and elevating pigs, cows and chickens.
“That’s why we’ve got the sign up our meals truck, ‘farm to desk,’ as a result of all of the animals we’re utilizing come from the farm,” Geovanny Villagran stated. “There’s no chemical substances or antibiotics or something in our meats.”
The Villagrans spent the spring and summer season of final yr constructing out an RV right into a working meals truck. The identify, La Casa De Mi Abuelita Maw Maw’s Home, honors each Geovanny and Neena’s grandmothers and offers a nod to the look of the meals truck, which resembles a little bit home.
“Most of my recipes that I’ve discovered come from my grandmother,” Geovanny Villagran stated. He spent loads of time within the kitchen together with her as a toddler, cleansing beans or serving to her prepare dinner. “That’s the place we bought La Casa De Mi Abuelita [My grandmother’s house],” he stated.
The “Maw Maw’s Home,” a part of the identify got here from Neena’s aspect of the household.
“That’s what I name my grandmother,” Neena Villagran stated. “So we form of entwined the 2.”
They launched the truck on the finish of September of 2020 in Neena Villagran’s hometown of Redfield.
“It’s an excellent small city,” she stated. “We began out actually gradual, barely promoting something.”
“The start was arduous. Actually arduous,” her husband stated.
Individuals began requesting that they go to Sheridan and enterprise began to select up. Then they began popping up at The Rail Yard in Little Rock a pair occasions per week. Success.
“Now we’ve got individuals coming to us from throughout,” Neena Villagran stated.
Quesabirria is their bestseller. Geovanny Villagran prefers to make birria with brisket or chuck meat cooked slowly (eight to 9 hours) with a mixture of dry peppers and Mexican spices.
The shredded meat is faraway from the consommé and barely drained earlier than it hits the corn tortilla. It’s lined in cheese and positioned on the griddle. The juice and the oil from the meat offers the tortilla the marginally fried consistency, Neena Villagran stated. The consommé is the broth leftover from the cooking course of, flavored from the mix of the meat and the dry peppers.
“We respect the method,” Geovanny Villagran stated, including that they count on their company to have a very good, high quality product when visiting the meals truck.
Watching individuals style their tacos for the primary time is a superb confidence booster, Neena Villagran stated. “It’s form of like, ‘We did that.’ ”
The Villagrans are presently engaged on including a second meals truck, which can be constructed out from a college bus and completely stationed in Sheridan. And with Neena appearing as his sous chef, Geovanny only in the near past competed in and gained the 2021 Diamond Chef competitors.
Though they’ve added different dishes to the menu or run specials like cochinita pibil, slow-roasted pork butt cooked in banana leaves with oranges and a few spices, the Villagrans stated most individuals present up for the quesabirria, typically saying “ ‘I would like the taco for dipping.’ ”
The meals truck’s schedule can change, however it’s usually 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays at Bernice Gardens at 1401 S. Fundamental St., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday by way of Friday at 710 S. Rock St. in Sheridan., and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday on the Rail Yard at 1212 E. Sixth St.