June 27, 2022

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Put down Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza and try this Houston gem

2 min read

The highly anticipated return of Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza may be the biggest news to hit the food waves this month, and for good reason—few eats have united a nation as this one has. But in a town like Houston where much of Taco Bell’s menu can be found at top-notch taco trucks, taquerias and restaurants, we implore you to skip the drive-thru line one day and hit up a local gem instead.

According to the Arizona Republic, Taco Bell’s fan favorite is inspired by a popular street food that isn’t anything in the realm of Italian cuisine. It’s called a mulita, like a quesadilla but with two stacked tortillas.

At Mexico City-inspired La Calle in Houston, a dish called “quesabirria” bears a striking resemblance to the Mexican Pizza, but tastes a whole lot better. Sure, Taco Bell’s fast-food version is hard to resist, with its combination of crispy tortillas and meaty, cheesy center, but it’s a little lacking compared to the real deal.

“We used to call them mulitas,” said La Calle owner Ramon Soriano. “We just changed the name when quesabirria went viral three years ago—but it’s the exact same thing.”


Quality ingredients may be an afterthought at Taco Bell, but it’s quite the opposite at La Calle. The star of the quesabirria is suadero meat, which is cooked for 18 hours with more than 20 different spices, then layered with melted Oaxaca cheese and cradled between grilled tortillas.

If the reddish hue of the quesabirria is throwing you off from the pale beige shell you’re used to at Taco Bell, it’s because La Calle dips its tortillas in house-made consommé before they hit the grill. Said consommé is served alongside a robust platter of three finished quesabirria.

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“The consommé is known as the birria,” Soriano explained, describing the dish as being more like a quesadilla than a Mexican pizza. “The whole thing is: You grab it and dip it in the cup of birria, and it’s really good.”

Of course, where there are better ingredients, there are higher prices, and La Calle’s quesabirria will set you back a touch more than your local fast food joint. A platter of three quesabirria with consommé is $16.99.

Many will argue that Mexican pizza (or mulita) cravings hit at the most ungodly hours, leaving no other choice than to make the trek to the late-night fast food chain, but La Calle is open into the wee hours, too. The restaurant’s flagship location downtown serves guests until 2 a.m., while its new Midtown and Garden Oaks locations push it to 3 a.m. on weekends.

Suburbanites, don’t fret: Soriano has plans to bring La Calle, and its Mexican pizza-esque quesabirria, to Katy and the Woodlands soon.

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