Tacos de Birria by Sam K

(For my Thanksgiving break Urban Studies assignment)

Food trucks have become a fairly popular part of the urban landscape in New York City over the past few years. According to my mother, they were popularized in Los Angeles before making their way to the East Coast. My mother, the most adventurous individual in our family, suggested that my urban adventure could be to accompany her to a new food truck. Before I could even finish telling her what exactly we had to do, she rattled off over ten options that she had noted in her phone. We made a plan to go to Jackson Heights on Friday night for dinner at Tacos de Birria, an authentic Mexican food truck in Jackson Heights, situated directly below the elevated train overpass on Roosevelt Avenue. Apparently, the New York Times gave the food truck 2 stars–which, according to my mom, is a very high score for a food truck. It was my first time in Jackson Heights and what I noticed right off the bat was how densely packed it was. It immediately reminded me of the area around 125th street near the Apollo and Dykman street in the Bronx, and even Broadway Avenue in Riverdale. All four locations are organized around a wide thoroughfare bordered by commercial establishments. They are all in close proximity to an elevated train overpass. 

As my mom and I crossed the street, I took note of her giant winter coat, which made her look like an enormous bell (I asked her permission before writing this). I also noticed a symphony of languages, car horns, and subway noise filling the air. It is a noise that any lie long New Yorker recognizes, but is never really bothered by. By the time we got to the food truck, my olfactory senses were treated to the smell of braised meat, which I later found out was “Birria,” a chile laced, spiced braised beef. After waiting in the cold for a few minutes, my mom and I ordered three tacos– two for me, and one for her. On the side, we got a cup of consomme, into which we were supposed to dip the tacos. It was an absolutely delightful experience. The two tacos were not enough for me, however, so I ordered two more tacos and a quesadilla. After we were done, we hopped back onto the subway and made our way to Manhattan.


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