Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Patino's Quesabirria Slam Dunk

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2022 at 10:31 AM

The quesabirria taco has Mexican food enthusiasts happily in its grip, all of us grinning orange oil-slicked smiles now that the Tijuana specialty has made it this far north. But while dunking your way through an order of the crispy, gooey, beef tacos with a side of deep red consommé goes by all too quickly, the journey from pot to plate is a long one.

According to Gabriela Patino, who works with her mother, Beatriz Cruz, and father, Rodrigo Patino, in Patino’s Mexican Food truck (4050 Broadway, Eureka), Cruz starts by marinating the beef over night before slowly simmering it with spices over low heat for three to four hours. That process takes around 14 hours before she’s tossed a single corn tortilla on the grill. Once the tortillas are cooking, they get a splash of the rich, fatty broth from cooking the beef, which lends the tacos a bubbly, crispy texture. Then Cruz adds Monterey jack cheese, a scoop of the shredded beef, and a sprinkling of cilantro and chopped white onion before flipping the tacos closed.

click to enlarge The cheesy, bubbly quesabirria taco from Patino's Mexican Food truck. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The cheesy, bubbly quesabirria taco from Patino's Mexican Food truck.

An order of quesabirria comes with four of the tacos, oozing with melted cheese, edges browned on the grill, with improbably tender meat inside. A plunge in the consommé (possibly scooping up a glistening morsel of fat) adds to the juiciness and stewy flavor, and a squeeze of lime cuts the richness and sharpens the flavors from the marinade.

“I always grew up eating them and it always has been a tradition for my brothers’ and my birthdays,” says Gabriela, whose mother and father were born in Mexico City and Guanajuato, Mexico, respectively, and moved to Humboldt more than 25 years ago. Cruz has been working in restaurant kitchens as well as her own for years, starting with the now defunct Rico’s Tacos, Rita’s Café, Fiesta Grill and Tacos El Pueblo. “My mom has been working in the kitchen for a really, really long time and she thought it was time to start her own business,” says Gabriela. In January of this year, that’s what the family did.

click to enlarge Gabriela and Rodrigo Patino, and Beatriz Cruz in the family's food truck. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Gabriela and Rodrigo Patino, and Beatriz Cruz in the family's food truck.

The Patino’s truck is parked by Pierson’s Building Center daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., drawing a steady crowd for its classic Mexican truck menu, as well as dollar street tacos on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The homemade menudo soup with tripe is a recent addition to weekend offerings and, so far, it’s selling out, so show up early.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct the days for $1 tacos.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Bio:
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

more from the author

Latest in What's Good

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2022 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation