Birria for breakfast

30 Aug

Birria, or lamb stew, from Gallardo's Mexican Restaurant. Look at all that yummy meat.

Just as I was thinking of unsubscribing from Tasting Table, they sent me this review of Gallardo’s Mexican Restaurant’s birria, a lamb stew served only on weekends. Must. Eat. Now. On Friday, I forwarded it to some friends, and Oggy replied, “So, like, tomorrow? Great. In.”

Gallardo’s, on Folsom near 14th, is in the middle of a strange gourmet ghetto: part gourmet (Nihon, Chez Spencer), part ghetto (central freeway, Best Buy). I walked in, looked around the dimly lit dining room for Oggy, and then decided to wait outside. When she arrived, the waitress told us to take two seats at a six-top, right next to the large neon jukebox, which occasionally sprang to life, playing a solitary song just to remind everyone that it was there. There were exactly four gringos in the place–us and two hipster dudes who were probably also Tasting Table readers.

We both ordered the small birria ($7.50). Unlike Tasting Table’s, our stew had the lamb already in the broth. We briefly wondered if we had the gringo version. The three stacked wooden bowls contained crushed red pepper, oregano, and an assortment of wet condiments: diced onion, cilantro, and small lemon wedges.

“It’s like Mexican pho!” I said. A friend of ours swears by the post-night-of-drinking restorative qualities of pho. The birria would be a great alternative for those mornings when you were debating between greasy bacon and eggs to sop up all the toxins you willfully introduced to your system and healthy pho to wash them all out. The almost brick-red birria broth is meaty and substantial, as opposed to the clear-tasting pho broth. As my fork barely scraped the huge chunks of lamb, the tender, juicy meat just fell right off.

After drinking about half her iced tea, Oggy realized what was different about it (besides the noticeable layer of sugar sitting in the bottom of her glass): it had been made from hot brewed tea that was then iced. A nice touch.

Oggy and I devoured our birria, yet each of us only managed to make it through about half of a small order. I wish I had taken the rest to go. Oh, that broth!

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2 Responses to “Birria for breakfast”

  1. Geoff Bartakovics August 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Phew. I hate getting google alerts that begin “I was thinking of unsubscribing from Tasting Table….” but I’m glad to hear that it all worked out. Thanks for being a member and sharing with your friends!

    Best
    Geoff
    CEO Tasting Table

    • N August 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

      Geoff, thanks so much for your note! I love the Tasting Table emails because they’re so well-written, but I’ve been culling down my subscriptions to newsletters that encourage me to do things that cost money. The delicious $7.50 breakfast soup wooed me back. Keep the (occasional) cheap eats coming!

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