My father despises birria de chivo (roasted goat meat). He won’t even consider taking a bite. “It’s too gamey,” he says with a look of disgust any time he’s confronted with the offending meat. He can’t tolerate the texture or the taste.
He always made it sound so god awful that I didn’t try it for years and years and years. When I finally did, I was surprised at how much I actually liked it. Turns out, gamey meat is my thing, and when you add a tortilla, sparks fly. I do understand the aversion, though. No matter how goat is prepared, it can be a tough-to-acquire taste and as harsh as liver to some people. However, it should be noted that my dad enjoys liver.
With a tall glass of milk no less.
If you already love birria de chivo or you want to love it, there are many places to get a pristine sampling in LA (check out Street Gourmet LA’s write-up on the subject), but if you just need a quick fix, Tacos El Pariente in Highland Park is a good choice. I don’t recommend anything but the birria – I find their chicken extremely dry and tasteless – but the goat taco? Very nice.
The meat is tender and moist. I believe the juiciness is key with goat since dryness and resulting chewiness is probably the reason why so many people are birria de chivo shy. The tortillas are handmade to order, taking this taco to a higher plain. Add some cilantro, salsa, onions and a squeeze of lime, and you’re in business.
Each taco is $1 – 25 cents extra if you want that handmade tortilla I was talking about.
Tacos El Pariente | Avenue 50 & Monte Vista St., Highland Park
Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.