Tlayudas from Tacos Atoyac, a classier version of the standard Mexican pizza.
Tlayudas from Tacos Atoyac, a classier version of the standard Mexican pizza.
Erica O'Neil

Tlayudas: Mexican Pizzas from Tacos Atoyac

¿Como se dice?: When we say Mexican pizza, you're probably more apt to think Taco Bell than Tacos Atoyac. And that's a shame, because Taco Smell's bland, deep-fried atrocity of a "pizza" has got nothing on the huge tlayudas doled out by Tacos Atoyac

It's not a tostada. It's not a Mexican pizza. And it's certainly not that grease-slicked, salt-lick of a cheese crisp served across the valley. It's a tlayuda. Fun to say and even more fun to eat. 

(sink your teeth into all the spicy details after the jump)

Grilling skirt steak and mega tortillas in a Mexico City market for tlayudas.
Grilling skirt steak and mega tortillas in a Mexico City market for tlayudas.
Flickr- A30_Tsitika
La Comida: Tlayudas at Tacos Atoyac are a cheap feast compared to the price of a thin-crust pizza, or a couple Mexican pizzas from the Bell. A mere 8 bucks is enough to buy you a mega tlayuda loaded with your meat of choice (the al pastor is always a solid bet), and if you want to go veg instead it's only six bucks for a cheesy tlayuda feast. Don't skimp on the freshly made salsas or the smooth avocado sauce either!

El Sabor: Tlayudas are Oaxaca street eats at their best: flour tortillas the size of a large pizza pie, grilled to a crisp and topped with all sorts of goodies. Lighter than a tostada, but big enough that you need a partner to finish one off. Think those gigantic yellow cheese crisps served on pizza pans across the valley, but much, much better. 

Cracker-thin flour tortillas manage to keep their crispy bite even after the toppings are added. We think it has something to do with the flavorful spread of beans across the tlayuda that keeps the soggy away. Shredded cabbage adds more crisp, while fresh veggies like tomatoes, grilled onions, and jalapenos add some freshness. Finish it with some salty, strechy Oaxaca cheese, creamy avocado slices, and a sprinkle of carne. With a tlayuda packed with this much flavor, you might even feel comfortable subbing it in for the standard pizza feast every so often.

Bring a bit of México to your kitchen: The hardest part about making a tlayuda at home is finding a comal or griddle large enough to accommodate a mega tortilla. And then tracking down those mega tortillas. We'll admit to using Carolina's homemade jumbo flour tortillas, but you can always cruise the aisles of Food City, Ranch Pro, or El Super until you find your ideal flour tortilla. 

After that, it's as easy as adding smooshed black bean paste, stretchy Oaxaca cheese (or mozzarella in a pinch), cabbage, tomatoes, avocados, and your protein of choice! Pretty much anything you drizzle or sprinkle atop a tlayuda is fair game. Just like pizza pies, there's not a wrong way to top a tlayuda. 

Know of any Mexican gems in the Valley? Reveal your family secrets in the comment section.

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