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

Categories: On the Menu

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Sincronizada from La Tapatia

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

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Traditionally, a quesadilla is one tortilla folded over with melted cheese in the middle and nothing more. A sincronizada is two quesadillas, one on top of the other, with melted cheese and ham in the middle. In Mexico, no accompaniment apart from salsa or, (in some cases) escabeche is served.

Carlos A. Martinez
Carlos A. Martinez

NOPE!. A Sincronizada is not the same as a Quesadilla. Just because lazy Americans named it wrong does not mean it stops being a Sincronizada.


The Pico's version is comprised of meat/cheese between stacked corn tortillas and smothered in sauce, kind of like New Mexican style enchiladas.

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