The brilliance of crafting a quesadilla is the maker behind it: what the cook puts inside, on the side, or as a topper on a quesadilla, and why.
How is it possible for a quesadilla—a tortilla with melted cheese—to be one of the greatest Mexican dishes ever created? It’s a mystifying thing, but it’s certainly true. For starters, it’s not just a tortilla with melted cheese—there are countless variations of a quesadilla, and the deliciousness is all about how it’s made.
My mother simply warmed up a handmade flour tortilla, with a little butter on both sides, and placed queso fresco inside until the Mexican cheese was warm and slightly melted. That’s all it took to put a smile on my face. Today, as a quick snack, all you need is a corn tortilla and any Mexican shredded cheese blend, and bam! Instant quesadilla.
However, the brilliance of crafting a quesadilla is the maker behind it: what the cook puts inside, on the side, or as a topper on a quesadilla, and why.
In Arizona, we’re lucky enough to have some of the most creative quesadilla makers. So here’s the roundup of our favorite quesadillas that will make your heart skip a beat:
Birriería Tijuana, a restaurant and food truck, has created a masterful type of quesadilla that even our Mexican ancestors would never believe could be possible. They have taken their juicy signature birria (chili pepper-based meat, which is typically goat meat) and, instead of serving it as a stew, which they offer as well, have placed it inside a quesadilla. And this isn’t your average fold-over quesadilla—it is more like a crispy tostada sandwich with melted cheese, onions, and cilantro, called “Quesabirria.” Brilliant!
Queso Good, a gourmet quesadilla food truck, has taken the concept of a quesadilla and transformed it into a modern-day sandwich.
Take, for example, their “Hot Italian Dilla,” which has mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, diced tomatoes, and basil on a parmesan-crusted flour tortilla, or their “Cubano Melt Dilla,” which is, just as you might have guessed, just like a Cuban sandwich but uses a flour tortilla instead of bread. Queso Good even does a BLT quesadilla.
It’s madness! But in a good way. By the way, all quesadillas are available as a burrito, because of course they are.
Dilla Libre has two locations (Phoenix and Scottsdale) as well as a food truck, so there’s no way you can’t catch up to this award-winning restaurant. One of their signature quesadilla moves is something that reminds me of my mom’s recipe. Dilla Libre exquisitely allows the excess cheese to melt outside of the tortilla, which creates a crispy cheese crust. It’s basically the cherry on top.
Their quesadilla interpretations include the “Napoleon Dynamite,” which has grilled carne asada, tater tots, Tapatio crema, pico de gallo, and jack cheese, and the “Chupacabra,” a quesadilla with citrus-marinated chicken, diced green chiles, chile con queso, pico de gallo, jack cheese, and salsa verde on the side.
Modern Tortilla, a restaurant, food truck, and caterer, serves up two types of delicious quesadillas minus the typical tortilla flavor.
The first is their “Southwest Steak Quesadilla” with their specialty, a chili flour tortilla, and carne asada, roasted corn, cilantro, and cheddar cheese. Their “Chicken Fajita Quesadilla” comes with a spinach corn tortilla filled with chicken tinga, grilled peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese.
Los Taquitos Comida Mexicana
With four locations in Arizona (Chandler, Phoenix, Arcadia, and Ahwatukee), Los Taquitos Comida Mexicana is a crowd-pleaser with its authentic Mexican dishes. Aside from dishing out traditional Mexican food such as enchiladas and menudo, they also serve unique plates like their breakfast tortas. Their carne asada quesadilla is a combination of traditional and one-of-a-kind. It has an equal balance of meat and cheese that’s not too much, which is perfect—loaded nachos is one thing, but a loaded quesadilla is just overwhelming. Los Taquitos Comida Mexicana handles the art of the quesadilla in a way our people would be proud of.