(Truck is mobile, but we often find Birria de Chivo at 83rd St. and Compton Ave.)
For the true goat lover (of the eating kind, not the romantic), Birria de Chivo is a must for you! Like any good Birriería, chivo is basically all they serve. Every time I ask for anything else, like a tostada or pastor taco, I am denied, even if they were, at some point, hand-painted on the truck’s side-panel. Sometimes the owners even forewarn black and white munchers that this particular lonchera is all about goat before orders can escape their mouths. They did have cabesa tacos the other day…
But let’s stop kidding around! Custies step up for goat and goat is what they get. Juicy, saucy plates of pierna y aldilla and birria tacos fill Florence’s plates and mouths for the short time the truck idles the area’s lots. I skip the plate of goat (I haven’t asked if they serve truckside chamorro) and head straight to the tacos. There medium-sized discs come with the shredded, glistening roasted pink meat on an open tortilla lilly-pad, sprinkled with onion and cilantro, with the consomme-like birria on the side in a cup. In true taco-head-style, throw lime juice on top, roll it up, and dip it directly into the cup-o-birria. The control factor here allows the natural taste of the goat to stand out with sauce lightly coating the outside, stand alone (if you choose to skip the sauce entirely), or bathe in it, if you’re hard to the core.
The goat at Birria de Chivo is as clean as it comes, something that can be hard to discern at a lot of this town’s spots that drown the meat in red salsa-like birria. There’s no fat to speak of, just pure meat. The taste is very strong, natural, and earthy, with the first taste hitting you ripely a little like the sea. Yet there is a balanced taste of game, not a note of the overripe decay that just a hint of goat can turn your stomach with, if not entirely fresh. The flavors are powerful, morphing and weird, but overall pleasant and comforting. The feel of goat is something unique; it’s a smooth, slippery meat, not something I’m used to, but developing a feel for. Chopped and served nearly naked, the goat stands up to be as savory as it does with its accessories…
More finger-licking is adding the tall Styrofoam cup of birria, stewed with meat and dried peppers. The stew is thin, but lightly oily, and quickly runs into the taco cracks, soaking into the meat and tortilla. The taste is warm and comfortable, the sauce providing a very peppery but not spicy partner to the flesh. After dousing your tacos in it, and messily shoveling all the scraps up, I suggest downing the broth in one big, healthy shot. “They” say it makes you a super-stud. Any of you country kids who ever spent anytime around goats, you know they easily veer towards randy. Regardless, it’s flu season, drink up.
One of Birria de Chivo’s best elements, besides a serious devotion to the cult of the goat, is their tortillas, some of the tastiest I’ve dabbled in within Los Angeles. They are just slightly thicker than the store-bought standard. They seem home-made, roughly hewn from corn and perfectly soft.
So whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced on the slopes of goat consumership, Birria de Chivo is a great spot to start next time you’re itching for some billygoat. You will get chivo in its purest form, quartered on a plate or in a fantastic experience of birria tacos.