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Is It a Quesadilla or a Sincronizada? How to Tell, In Theory

Sincronizada from La Tapatia
Sincronizada from La Tapatia
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Hoagies vs. Grinders vs. Subs vs. Po'boys? Only in America do we have such esoteric nomenclature for sandwiches that are often virtually indistinguishable.

Or not. It recently came to my attention that it's not just we Yankees who insist on distinction without a difference with regards to our cuisine. While perusing my options at La Tapatia , I came across a Food Word I Did Not Know, which can be a bit embarrassing if you're a writer. Not that I assume to have mastered a complete grasp of all culinary terminology in every single language, but (gulp) I was hoping I was familiar with most (half? some? 10 percent?) of it, especially in the realm of Mexican food.

Sincronizada is the word that tripped me up and simultaneously whet my appetite. La Tapatia described its rendition as a ...

Flour Tortilla Stuffed with Beef Fajita and Monterey Jack, Cheese served on a Bed of Grilled Onions, with Guacamole Sour Cream and Pico de Gallo

This article continues on the next page.  

This is a quesadilla...
This is a quesadilla...
Photo by Jimmy Smith

And, of course, my narrow gringa train of thought issued this immediate reaction: "Isn't that a quesadilla?"

Not quite, it seems, for although both dishes capitalize on melted cheese, protein, and sometimes vegetables sandwiched between two tortillas, they're not exactly the same.

A sincronizada supposedly distinguishes itself by the inclusion of ham. Some experts, however, outline additional differences, such as the fact that a quesadilla uses folded flour tortillas, whereas a sincronizada uses stacked corn tortillas. You will notice, however, that La Tapatia's version contains no piggy and is made with flour tortillas.

...but this is a sincronizada
...but this is a sincronizada

There is also debate as to which dish has guacamole, sour cream, and salsa as the standard accompaniments.

Hmm. If quesadillas and sincronizadas had a television show, its theme song would be "Blurred Lines."

Readers more knowledgeable about Mexican cuisine than I am, any thoughts?


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