• Tarun Sinha

Mexican Pizza, the One and Only

As you all should know by now the Mexican Pizza (MP) is slated to make a comeback by this summer. If you have not heard this news, stop living under a rock. Go online, Google it, follow Doja Cat and you’ll be all caught up. The MP is single handedly the best dish TB had (soon to be has) to offer.

It was my feel good item on the menu. Whenever I took that first cheesy, saucy bite all of my woes would disappear. It was my celebratory meal. Even when I thought that my day could not get any better, it did when I had the MP. It is texturally superior to anything else on the menu. The tortillas have enough structure to support the cheese, sauce and toppings but is not crunchy. There is a noticeable bite and I love how it flakes but it does not crumble as a hard-shell taco does. This quality is what makes this dish stand out from the rest. The texture sits in some limbo between a crunchy taco and a soft taco, incorporating the advantages of both into one dish. It transcends the finite limitations of our gustatory cells and elevates us to a higher consciousness, making it a religious experience. But growing up, I never ordered the Mexican Pizza.

My mom would always give me one slice of her Mexican Pizza. Her go to order was an OG bean burrito and a Mexican Pizza (BN NO BF) or the tostada. This was way back in the day, when the bean burrito was around $0.79 And the pizza was cut into 4 slices. My order on the other hand consisted of a combination of soft and hard tacos, a burrito, a nachos supreme and whatever meal got me a toy. There was no consistency nor any harmonization. Tacos and toys was my vibe. The first step in our Taco Bell meal was to unbox the MP as I tore into my food without a plan and she would place a slice in front of me. I would not object nor would I ask for it, it simply appeared. I did not have to eat it but I always did. I was curious as to why she always ordered this and after trying it a few times I began to enjoy it. The flavor fired on all cylinders. The earthy, creamy refried beans would ooze out from between the 2 flaky tortillas while pockets of the umami laced Mexican Pizza sauce would peak out from under the layer of glistening, melted cheese. Pops of color from the green onions and tomatoes would attract the eye while providing a freshness that made you crave more. The slice was true perfection.

There was no “ah-ha” moment where I realized that I loved the Mexican Pizza. Having one slice at a time over a decade or so and eventually incorporating it into my orders was a natural process. It’s like swimming. You start with flailing in the water with no sense of direction and eventually you start to swim. It merely happens over time. As I grew older I started incorporating the MP into my meals, organically. It showed me that food should be balanced and not monotonous, vibrant and not dull, and has truly carved out the culinary palette that I have today.