I’ve been to the small Sunset Park bakery called La Flor de Izucar before; I’ve even blogged about it. But when I heard they were serving birria, and that their birria was good, I had to pay them a return visit. In the interest of research, I stopped by a few weeks ago and confirmed that their birria quesadillas were both excellent and enormous. “I should come here with Eric,” I thought at the time. Today, I did.
We mounted CitiBikes and then pedaled our way south, dodging delivery trucks and double-parked cars on Fifth Avenue, sucking in lungfuls of smoke-fouled air (western wildfires continue to be felt here on the east coast), and generally risking dehydration and heat exhaustion under a relentless sun. Once my mind is set on birria, I will not be denied.
Since my last visit, the birria had gone from being word-of-mouth, almost covert – a small, hand-lettered sign behind the counter the only clue to its existence – to being glossily advertised on a door banner touting the new “birria madness menu.” But La Flor’s black-and-white tiled interior was as relaxed and humble as ever. One guy sat at one of the vintage stools by the counter. Brown paper sacks full of carry-out orders accumulated by the register. Moms and kids strolled in for cookies and pan dulce.
We ordered – one birria quesdailla, one de huitlachoche, because why not, plus a large agua fresca de guayaba, because the day called for a giant plastic cup of something cold and pink – and waited.
Quesadillas here are not fast food. The giant corn tortillas are shaped by hand, then pressed, then griddled. The ones that will be folded around birria – which here takes the form of shredded beef short ribs – are dipped in spicy, murky consome from a giant vat before being filled and then slowly griddled, basted with more consome, griddled some more, basted some more, repeated as necessary until the soft white cheese melts into the thick tangle of beef. Non-birria quesadillas are more straightforward – no dipping, no basting – but carry their own extras, in the form of a mound of shredded iceberg lettuce and pale tomatoes laced with crema and dusted with powdery queso añejo, plus red or green salsa according to your preference.
The only extra the birria quesadilla needs – or rather, demands – is a cup of that consome for dipping.
Lunch for two, with an oversized drink, came to less than $25.
La Flor de Izucar, 4021 5th Ave, Sunset Park, Brooklyn 11232
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(Note: this blog has been slumbering for a few months, so consider this quick food post a tentative reawakening.)