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Mike's Red Tacos expounds upon birria in Clairemont

The once a week food truck has opened up an every day taco shop

Mike's Red Tacos' signature birria taco, at its best when dipped in the accompanying consomé.
Mike's Red Tacos' signature birria taco, at its best when dipped in the accompanying consomé.

Seems like only last year I was writing about a plucky birria food truck that drummed up all its business on a single afternoon each week. In fact, it was only ten months ago that I tracked down Mike’s Red Tacos at its regular, Saturday perch in Bay Park. Mike and company have gotten busier in the time since, as they recently opened a seven day a week taco counter, not far from the Clairmont DMV.

Place

Mike's Red Tacos

4310 Genesee Ave Suite 104, San Diego

I’m always down to celebrate when a mobile kitchen graduates to something built on a concrete foundation, maybe moreso when it means daily access to tacos built on corn tortillas dipped in chili oil. Mike’s Red Tacos has taken a tiny, boxy storefront and given it a decidedly red makeover, like its tacos, practically dripping with murals drawing from interior design as well as street art concepts.

Aside from decking out interior space, another benefit to turning the Mike’s taco truck into a taco shop would be a fuller salsa bar. The six salsas range in color from yellow to bright red, and in heat level from “sweet/spicy” to “spicy AF.”

Red is the clear theme at work here

Of course the most important salsa to consider is the birria consomé, a must for dipping those tacos and thus contractually completing your birria taco experience. Along with chips and salsa, the consomé is included when you order a two-taco, birria ($12.79) or quesabirria ($13.99) combo.

But you’ll want to add it for $2.25 if you order anything else on the menu.

And that’s an expanded menu. There’s still birria ramen ($12.49), and so is the so-called Crunchstack, a crispy meets flour tortilla creation mimicking the Crunchwrap of Taco Bell ignominy ($13.99).

Newer menu items are less overtly experimental, but still testing a few boundaries. For example, the shop’s birria California burrito ($13.99) features not just French fries and guacamole, but also rice and beans. I love combo burritos, but have to admit this one may be too much.

Like carne asada fries, except topped with birria

More successful may be the nachos ($15.49), which see beef birria stacked atop and between tortilla chips with guac, sour cream, and a house version of that Tex-Mex staple, queso.

But I cast my vote for a more San Diego-centric variation: birria fries. Which are like carne-asada fries, except… well, you get the idea.

If you’re already the sort to order fries topped with the contents of a burrito, you’ll be satisfied, but here, again, I encourage liberal use of that consomé. The potatoes soak it up as well as anything, and as far as I’m concerned, pouring broth over the gluttonous pile of loaded fries provides proof of concept.

One of these days, I’ll show up that portobello mushroom and peppers veggie taco, but it won’t be today.

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Mike's Red Tacos' signature birria taco, at its best when dipped in the accompanying consomé.
Mike's Red Tacos' signature birria taco, at its best when dipped in the accompanying consomé.

Seems like only last year I was writing about a plucky birria food truck that drummed up all its business on a single afternoon each week. In fact, it was only ten months ago that I tracked down Mike’s Red Tacos at its regular, Saturday perch in Bay Park. Mike and company have gotten busier in the time since, as they recently opened a seven day a week taco counter, not far from the Clairmont DMV.

Place

Mike's Red Tacos

4310 Genesee Ave Suite 104, San Diego

I’m always down to celebrate when a mobile kitchen graduates to something built on a concrete foundation, maybe moreso when it means daily access to tacos built on corn tortillas dipped in chili oil. Mike’s Red Tacos has taken a tiny, boxy storefront and given it a decidedly red makeover, like its tacos, practically dripping with murals drawing from interior design as well as street art concepts.

Aside from decking out interior space, another benefit to turning the Mike’s taco truck into a taco shop would be a fuller salsa bar. The six salsas range in color from yellow to bright red, and in heat level from “sweet/spicy” to “spicy AF.”

Red is the clear theme at work here

Of course the most important salsa to consider is the birria consomé, a must for dipping those tacos and thus contractually completing your birria taco experience. Along with chips and salsa, the consomé is included when you order a two-taco, birria ($12.79) or quesabirria ($13.99) combo.

But you’ll want to add it for $2.25 if you order anything else on the menu.

And that’s an expanded menu. There’s still birria ramen ($12.49), and so is the so-called Crunchstack, a crispy meets flour tortilla creation mimicking the Crunchwrap of Taco Bell ignominy ($13.99).

Newer menu items are less overtly experimental, but still testing a few boundaries. For example, the shop’s birria California burrito ($13.99) features not just French fries and guacamole, but also rice and beans. I love combo burritos, but have to admit this one may be too much.

Like carne asada fries, except topped with birria

More successful may be the nachos ($15.49), which see beef birria stacked atop and between tortilla chips with guac, sour cream, and a house version of that Tex-Mex staple, queso.

But I cast my vote for a more San Diego-centric variation: birria fries. Which are like carne-asada fries, except… well, you get the idea.

If you’re already the sort to order fries topped with the contents of a burrito, you’ll be satisfied, but here, again, I encourage liberal use of that consomé. The potatoes soak it up as well as anything, and as far as I’m concerned, pouring broth over the gluttonous pile of loaded fries provides proof of concept.

One of these days, I’ll show up that portobello mushroom and peppers veggie taco, but it won’t be today.

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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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