On the Road

On the Road with Bryan Roof: Tucson’s Best Tacos . . . and Ramen?

From mesquite-grilled beef to birria, Tucson’s Taco Trail boasts some of the very best Mexican fare this side of the border. 

Published Oct. 24, 2023.

Tucson, Arizona, is home to a host of beloved restaurants serving and celebrating Mexican cuisine, an area known widely as the “Taco Trail.” And what better trail to hit as Bryan Roof sets off to sample some of the very best tacos: mesquite-grilled carne asada and rasurado and birria.

Bryan’s first stop was family-owned taqueria Tacos Apson, where he spoke to co-owners Yazmin Aldecoa-Durazo and Francisco Durazo. As Francisco took Bryan through the process of creating their signature tacos, he spoke through thick, aromatic smoke wafting from a layer of rosy meat draped over the coals. At this taqueria, the ingredients are simple, but the flavors are bold, thanks in part to the signature smoky taste of the mesquite. 

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Next on the schedule was Rollies Mexican Patio (named for their rolled, fried tacos). The star of their menu is the birria. Chef Mateo Otero cooked his signature birria rojo for Bryan, which he then spread onto tacos fried in fat and drizzled with the restaurant’s spicy mayo.

“The warm spice, the variety of chiles, the mayo . . . ,” Bryan mused as he sampled the taco. “That’s what makes it good,” Chef Otero chimed in with a smile, knowing nothing else needed to be said. (You can make Bryan’s version of these tacos and see how unspeakably good they are for yourself.)

But the birria doesn’t stop there. Chef Otero also uses his signature birria sauce for another surprising recipe, one that he claims “saved” him during the pandemic: birria ramen.

To see this incredible invention for yourself, you can watch the whole episode in the video below.

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