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

Mike’s Red Tacos seeks best of both tortillas

Saturday-only birria truck cooks up the Crunchstack in Bay Park

A quesabirria taco, dipped in red consomé
A quesabirria taco, dipped in red consomé

The hashtag, painted across the top of the truck, reads #worldsbestbirria. It doesn’t beg, it insists on a comparison with the best you’ve had. It doesn’t matter all that much whether the boast rings true, because it’s at least tasty enough to make you wonder.

The nation, at least, does seem to be paying attention to such things. San Diego’s far from the only city to experience a boom of Tijuana-style beef birria. The guisado is up there trailing only hot chicken as the winning comfort food of the pandemic. Whether fried chicken or tacos, it’s as though everyone in isolation abruptly decided they prefer their favorite foods to be red.

The Mike's Red Taco birria truck, serving Saturdays only in Bay Park

And I’m getting the sense Mike’s Red Tacos has hit upon this winning formula. Open Saturdays only, the food truck sets up in the parking lot beside what used to be the Italian restaurant Old Trieste (2335 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park). And it provides enough picnic table and high top seating to handle a steady stream of customers rolling in from far points of the city.

Red tacos are so called for the hue of tortillas dipped in the chili spiced birria consomé, and “red taco” named restaurants have sprung up from New York to L.A. to cash in on the internet’s thirst for red quesabirria tacos, soaked in spice and dripping with melted cheese. And that sure makes sense. I’m only a couple hours removed from eating one, and just thinking about it makes me desire more.

The Crunchstack: beef birria, onions, and cilantro, sandwiched in crispy corn tortillas, wrapped in grilled flour tortilla and melted cheese

Mike’s offers red tacos with ($3.99) or without ($3.49) cheese, turns its birria into ramen ($8.99), and presses cheese and beef between corn tortillas to make mulitas ($4.99). But where Mike’s really stands out among red taco joints is its creation of the Crunchstack ($9.99).

If that name reminds you of something conjured by the test kitchen geniuses of Taco Bell, you’re not far off. The Bell used to do something called a Crunchwrap, which saw a crunchy beef tostada folded neatly inside a large flour tortilla. The Crunchstack likewise sandwiches Mike’s birria between crispy, consomé-dipped corn tortillas, then wraps it all inside a flour tortilla, with plenty of cheese.

Where the mulita resembles a beefy grilled cheese, the Crunchstack is like a mulita cooked cooked inside a quesadilla. I ordered it for the novelty, but it’s pretty tough to hate any combination of beef, cheese, and tortilla.

Is it hashtag world’s best? It’ll do until the next one. If we’re truly in the midst of a golden age of red tacos, I’ve got loads of messy eating ahead.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Here’s what vegans were lining up for in Encinitas

The new game in plant-based meats is pork… and imitation spiced ham
Next Article

Gloria’s claims of tackling homelessness seen as cringey

Lou Correa wanted to study China at Kona Kai
A quesabirria taco, dipped in red consomé
A quesabirria taco, dipped in red consomé

The hashtag, painted across the top of the truck, reads #worldsbestbirria. It doesn’t beg, it insists on a comparison with the best you’ve had. It doesn’t matter all that much whether the boast rings true, because it’s at least tasty enough to make you wonder.

The nation, at least, does seem to be paying attention to such things. San Diego’s far from the only city to experience a boom of Tijuana-style beef birria. The guisado is up there trailing only hot chicken as the winning comfort food of the pandemic. Whether fried chicken or tacos, it’s as though everyone in isolation abruptly decided they prefer their favorite foods to be red.

The Mike's Red Taco birria truck, serving Saturdays only in Bay Park

And I’m getting the sense Mike’s Red Tacos has hit upon this winning formula. Open Saturdays only, the food truck sets up in the parking lot beside what used to be the Italian restaurant Old Trieste (2335 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park). And it provides enough picnic table and high top seating to handle a steady stream of customers rolling in from far points of the city.

Red tacos are so called for the hue of tortillas dipped in the chili spiced birria consomé, and “red taco” named restaurants have sprung up from New York to L.A. to cash in on the internet’s thirst for red quesabirria tacos, soaked in spice and dripping with melted cheese. And that sure makes sense. I’m only a couple hours removed from eating one, and just thinking about it makes me desire more.

The Crunchstack: beef birria, onions, and cilantro, sandwiched in crispy corn tortillas, wrapped in grilled flour tortilla and melted cheese

Mike’s offers red tacos with ($3.99) or without ($3.49) cheese, turns its birria into ramen ($8.99), and presses cheese and beef between corn tortillas to make mulitas ($4.99). But where Mike’s really stands out among red taco joints is its creation of the Crunchstack ($9.99).

If that name reminds you of something conjured by the test kitchen geniuses of Taco Bell, you’re not far off. The Bell used to do something called a Crunchwrap, which saw a crunchy beef tostada folded neatly inside a large flour tortilla. The Crunchstack likewise sandwiches Mike’s birria between crispy, consomé-dipped corn tortillas, then wraps it all inside a flour tortilla, with plenty of cheese.

Where the mulita resembles a beefy grilled cheese, the Crunchstack is like a mulita cooked cooked inside a quesadilla. I ordered it for the novelty, but it’s pretty tough to hate any combination of beef, cheese, and tortilla.

Is it hashtag world’s best? It’ll do until the next one. If we’re truly in the midst of a golden age of red tacos, I’ve got loads of messy eating ahead.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Here’s what vegans were lining up for in Encinitas

The new game in plant-based meats is pork… and imitation spiced ham
Next Article

T. E. Hulme: an influence on Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost

Six poems from the first Modernist poet
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close