When a chef friend from Cali described quesabirria to me a few years back, I figured he was pulling my leg. A griddled taco-quesadilla mash-up made by sandwiching mozzarella and birria (beef or goat simmered in a chile-studded broth) between tortillas and served with consommé, as if it were Mexico’s answer to a French dip? C’mon!

2020 was the year of many things, including when quesabirria took hold here. Its hold has continued unabated. Juan and Jaime Alcantar, brothers who began slinging quesabirria out of their Taco Boom food truck on the Southwest Side that year, opened a brick-and-mortar spot in 2021, putting North Siders like me within easy reach.

Their quesabirria, with well-marbled chuck roll marinated for 24 hours, then braised for another six, lives up to the hype. The chile de árbol and cinnamon consommé is pure silk; it’s smoky, beefy, and gently sweet. Order some tacos as chasers: The carne asada is a tad dry, so opt for the skirt steak, with a giant grilled green onion, jalapeño, and superlative guac. Then pick up a pizzadilla— the Big Mac of quesabirria, with two layers of meat and cheese and an extra tortilla in the middle, topped with mozz — a clever invention that’s even better leftover. They call it mamalona, Mexican slang for something pretty dope. Why? Not only is it super tasty , it also doubles as a hangover cure.