That is, to eat my way through LA to find the best taco. I have no idea how that would even be possible seeing he was here only for a week. And had we eaten at a different taqueria every thirty minutes, and forgone sleeping, I am pretty sure we’d barely have made a dent. But still, we tried. In our food adventure, we sampled some very delicious fare. But nowhere in any of those joints did I come across a mulita, the thing we are going to get to KNOWvember.
What’s a mulita, you ask? Good question. I only learned about them today when my daughter called me to say hello. Now that I think about it, I think she was really calling to brag about this thing she described as "a street taco quesadilla thing." Intrigued? I was. I needed to And learn more.
“You have my attention," I told her, "tell me more. In fact, take a picture of it and then send me a text describing it to me.” (I had to go because I was already late to an interview I set up with someone for KNOWvember.) She here’s the text exchange, written after she ate it.
Text 1: “I couldn’t take a pic of mine because they slid all over while I was walking home.”
Text 2: an image pulled off Google.
Text 3: “But this is what they look like.”
Text 4: “Monterey jack cheese, carne asada, guacamole, onions & cilantro.”
Text 5: “It’s like a quesadilla mixed with a street taco in the greatest way possible.”
Text 6: “It’s so good & I literally eat them like
3 times a week.”
Text 7: (Me) Holy crap that looks killer.
Text 8: (Me again) It looks like a torta. What’s it called again?
Text 9: “A mulita”
Text 10: “Yeah, kind of like a torta.”
Text 11: “But better.”
Now, I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I love tortillas, cheese and meat. And salsa! So why has this thing been hidden from me? Why haven't I tried one yet? With just a little digging around on the internet, I found plenty of recipes of this delicious Mexican street food that became famous only in Los Angeles. I’m not sure when this happened or how I missed it, but apparently I was too focused on tacos.
Mulita is a Spanish word that literally means “little mule,” which I thought was a burrito. On her site La Piña en la Cocina, Sonia Mendez Garcia thinks the food got the name “because they are packed on each side of the tortillas.” They come all different ways because there is no one way to make them. As Mona Holmes learned while traveling around LA to find the perfect mulita, she writes “all are not equal.”
Some are birria style, or vegetarian. Some are complex with layers of cheesy goodness, while others more simple. As I’m learning, the mulita is a typical menu staple on taco trucks and authentic restaurants. But I am sure I can make it at home. The ingredients include things you could easily find in my refrigerator.
Construction of the mulita is key. As Holmes notes it “requires proper balance with a layer of marinated meat, and the right amount of Monterey Jack cheese, while carefully placed between a lightly griddled tortilla. After customizing the spice levels with handmade salsas, the right mulita will maintain its structure after one bite.”
Although I have never tasted on, nor ever made one, I can imagine it’s pretty basic. So, here’s what I would suggest. As the meat is cooking, get all the ingredients ready to construct the mulita.
Once meat is done, warm a tortilla in a pan and top with a good supply of shredded cheese. Place a cover over the pan so the cheese melts, then place meat (and grilled veggies) on top and place the second tortilla. Cook for an additional minute with the top on.
When the top tortilla is warm, plate it. And then top with refried beans, salsa, and Crèma Mexicana, and the onion and cilantro mixture. Serve and eat immediately.