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Monday, February 15, 2010

Local Flavor: Nopalito's Birria Offers a Mild-Mannered Taste of Goat

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 2:13 PM

click to enlarge Head and shoulders above the herd. - C. ALBURGER
  • C. Alburger
  • Head and shoulders above the herd.
Unlike the scavenging beasts that graze the majority of the globe, Nopalito's cabritos ― goats ― come from Marin Sun Farms, where they roam free while feeding on organic grass. Beef-centric Americans shy away from goat, expecting something gamy and gross. But most locally raised goat meat boasts a mild, almost sweet flavor.

What's more, the pieces of goat shoulder in Nopalito's birria de chivo (goat stew, $14) mingle with a smooth, mole-like sauce, a brick-colored blend of dried chilies, chocolate, roasted tomato, cinnamon, and other spices. It comes with sides of organic pinquito beans, salsa de arbol, and a small pile of the restaurant's inimitable house-made tortillas, flecked haphazardly ― and quite beautifully ― with rough-hewn corn. Wrapped in one of those husky tortillas, a chunk of saucy, fall-apart goat meat feels bucolic, civilized, and a little reckless, all at once. Even if you're squeamish about goat, go for it.

Nopalito 306 Broderick (at Oak), 437-0303

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Carolyn Alburger


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