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Marrow on the side in Ysidro

A birria to stop you short of the border

A cochinita pibil taco and beef birria taco
A cochinita pibil taco and beef birria taco

Usually San Ysidro means a trip through the world’s busiest border crossing and, ipso facto, tacos for lunch. But this time I’m taking the second to LAST USA EXIT in search of bone marrow. And tacos for lunch.

Place

Tuétano Taqueria

143 West San Ysidro Boulevard, San Ysidro, CA

Thank goodness, because I’ve lagged on getting my passport renewed, and being this close to Tijuana evokes fond, folded masa memories. I park in front of the small Tuétano Taqueria with a distinct craving.

Tuétano, a.k.a. bone marrow

Tuétano translates as marrow, and it’s the low-key shop’s bone marrow that first caught my attention, photos of it turning up in the Reader’s latest Taco issue and a bunch of recent foodie feeds. Standing by a small ordering counter, I can see several chops of birria-steeped bone grilling over open flame through a window to the kitchen. It’s offered as a $3 side dish.

As expected, it’s gelatinously delicious, with a touch of smoke to the condensed beef flavor. And so are the tortillas I see, sizzling away on a flat top. I watch as spoonsful of shredded beef are scooped from chili red broth to fill the slightly crispy tortillas. You can order a $9 plate of this birria from the guisados menu, and that can’t be a bad way to go. It’s pure comfort food, savory and warming, and I could really go for some again right now.

I order it as a $2.50 taco, alongside another stuffed with cochinita pibil. That’s served with pickled red onions, adding bright acids to warmly spiced and mildly sweet pork taco. Very tasty. But I have to go back to the birria. Make that the quesobirria taco. For a quarter more, grated mozzarella cheese is melted onto the grilling tortilla, wrapping the meat like a cozy umami coat.

For fun, I spoon a bit of the bone marrow onto the taco. A pretty memorable salsa too. Not a bad consolation for being stuck on this side of the border.

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A cochinita pibil taco and beef birria taco
A cochinita pibil taco and beef birria taco

Usually San Ysidro means a trip through the world’s busiest border crossing and, ipso facto, tacos for lunch. But this time I’m taking the second to LAST USA EXIT in search of bone marrow. And tacos for lunch.

Place

Tuétano Taqueria

143 West San Ysidro Boulevard, San Ysidro, CA

Thank goodness, because I’ve lagged on getting my passport renewed, and being this close to Tijuana evokes fond, folded masa memories. I park in front of the small Tuétano Taqueria with a distinct craving.

Tuétano, a.k.a. bone marrow

Tuétano translates as marrow, and it’s the low-key shop’s bone marrow that first caught my attention, photos of it turning up in the Reader’s latest Taco issue and a bunch of recent foodie feeds. Standing by a small ordering counter, I can see several chops of birria-steeped bone grilling over open flame through a window to the kitchen. It’s offered as a $3 side dish.

As expected, it’s gelatinously delicious, with a touch of smoke to the condensed beef flavor. And so are the tortillas I see, sizzling away on a flat top. I watch as spoonsful of shredded beef are scooped from chili red broth to fill the slightly crispy tortillas. You can order a $9 plate of this birria from the guisados menu, and that can’t be a bad way to go. It’s pure comfort food, savory and warming, and I could really go for some again right now.

I order it as a $2.50 taco, alongside another stuffed with cochinita pibil. That’s served with pickled red onions, adding bright acids to warmly spiced and mildly sweet pork taco. Very tasty. But I have to go back to the birria. Make that the quesobirria taco. For a quarter more, grated mozzarella cheese is melted onto the grilling tortilla, wrapping the meat like a cozy umami coat.

For fun, I spoon a bit of the bone marrow onto the taco. A pretty memorable salsa too. Not a bad consolation for being stuck on this side of the border.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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