It had all started innocently enough. When it's late and the craving for tlayudas hits, La Tehuana is the only truck we trust to griddle our tortilla just the way we like it. But just as we were about to order, cash in hand, a new sign caught the corner of eye, and there began the mystery: a line of questioning leading from “What could possibly cost $10 at a taco truck?” to “What am I eating?” to “Who thought of this?”
Alambre, which means “wire” in Spanish, gave us no indication as to what form it would take, listing only ingredients: carne asada, bacon, ham, jalapeno, tomato, onion, string cheese. Pineapple? Seven tortillas? Such untold possibility.
But fantasies of a Mexican ode to Pisa, a wobbly and cheesy mound of stacked tortillas and meat, were quickly erased when the reality emerged from the glass window. What we ate instead was a griddled stiry-fry, ingredients cut in big chunks and mixed together until they all took on the orange hues of an al pastor-esque spice seasoning.
Taco fillings often appear to be the work of Japanese electronics manufacturers: chicken and onion cut into smaller and smaller cubes for reasons that surely have nothing to do with improved taste or texture. This alambre, however, was almost defiant in its rusticity.
In the search for the origins of this culinary orphan, the world wide web proves not to be so wide. The “wire” could refer to the string cheese looking like barbed wire; it could refer to the meat having been originally cooked on metal rods. But ignorance — and a spicy plate of alambre mexicano — can sometimes be bliss.