Okay, okay, more like Birria tasing!
Saturday was full of fun adventures on our “Taco Tour” for class! The first stop was Birrieria Jalisco and then La Michoacan de Lexington: Nieveria y Paleteria.
After meeting on campus, climbing into a creepy white van, and getting stuck in a little bit of traffic, we finally made it to the much-anticipated Birreria Jalisco. Never have I ever seen nor heard of this place. Matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been near it.. Besides that one time I went to the Tae-Kwon-Do place next door with a friend on bring-a-friend-for-free day *digs forehead into hands out of embarrassment* Nonetheless, I sure am glad I really know about it now!
Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by many confusing looks by customers that read “What are all these people doing here?” or “Where’d you all come from?”, but never in a rejection-kind-of way. At least I felt more welcomed than ever.
The bright, creamsicle orange walls adorned with fun, yard-sale-find looking trinkets
gave me nostalgia, reminding me of my parents yellow-orange kitchen back home and my mom’s home-style cooking. If anything, it made me feel at home and that much hungrier. I was ready. Too ready.
My friend Jenna and I stood in awe as they made tortillas from the masa we pointed out, sitting in a small metal tub on the counter. “Tengo una pregunta,” I said, telling her I had a question regarding whether the tub did indeed contain masa. She affirmed and a sense of pride and relief rushed through me for two reasons: one, being able to apply and see something I had learned about in class, and two, using my first lick of Spanish with the employees and being able to get those initial “am I going to say this wrong?” nerves out of my system.
Taking it all in, we found the most prized possession: the Jarritos collection. “Wow, this place has so many flavors compared to Local Taco. YES!” I verbalized my thoughts. I insisted Jenna get a pineapple or “piña ” flavored one, almost in a micro-managing way because of my unbridled obsession.
In the corner of the restaurant, we occupied the back two tables, marking our territory by shoving some tables together so we could eat like a family — because we, without a doubt, are a family. We’re a Taco Lit family. We looked over the menu anxiously.
As much as I wanted to stay under my security blanket of tacos, I knew I had to try the birria, considering how much we had talked about it in class. The question was, though, do I get the birria made with goat (called “chivo” on the menu) or made with beef (called “res” on the menu)? Since I have had beef before, I decided to go out on a limb and try goat for the first time. And may I just say, it was the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time, as the kids like to call it these days — haha!)
I’ll be honest, when the mesera brought out the huge bowl of it, I was skeptical of the large chunks of meat and how I was even going to take a bite. I searched for a tenedor to maybe help me saw the chunks in half, but there wasn’t one to be found in the rolled up silverware — only spoons and forks. I rolled with the punches and rolled up my sleeves.
The first bite was interesting. I was surprised that it wasn’t spicy due to the fact that everything that people say isn’t spicy at all usually is too much for me to consume. But it truly wasn’t. This place was already fitting to my liking and it was just the first bite!
It took me a while to get over the fact that I was eating a goat, especially as I saw images of a cute baby goat from a video I saw just the day before pop up in my head. Quickly, I tried to be distracted to erase the sadness that could possibly overtake me if I got carried away. I’m not a vegetarian by any means, but every once in a while, I think about those things and die a little inside.
Bite after bite, I found myself devouring this incredible stew-like dish, every once in a while uncomfortably picking out pieces of bone to ensure I don’t swallow those as well. Some might think this is hazardous,
but I think it allowed the goat meat to be the perfect consistency — tender and falling-off-the-bone. I couldn’t get enough.
Slowly but surely, the mesera came out periodically to hand out what looked like a packet of fre
sh tortillas to each student. Jenna, Rachel, and I gawked at the tortillas, overwhelmed that each of us got a pack of 4, still hot and freshly made tortillas wrapped in aluminum foil to take home.
And it was back to the bus we went, into the dreary, rainy day. It was easily a metaphor for how I felt leaving Birrieria Jalisco — sad and pitiful. Although the day didn’t reflect it, I couldn’t have picked better soup-eating weather. It was off to get some popsicles next, so we said our goodbyes, but I knew this wouldn’t be the last time I went there. I twould just be the beginning.