Falling in love with birria at La Polar

La Polar in Mexico CityBirria is a spicy meat stew from Jalisco. It’s usually made with goat, but sometimes with lamb or mutton.

I’d always roped it into my “I’ll pass” category, along with pozole and menudo, which have never lit my fire for some reason. But then two days ago friends invited us to La Polar, a cantina near our house. It’s probably among the best-known places to get birria in the city, and it’s always recommended in guidebooks and local magazines.

So we went, and ordered tacos and avocado, and a few orders of birria. The menu had no description, so I was expecting meat wrapped in wax paper, like when you order carnitas in Quiroga. Instead it was a gigantic bowl of stew.

When I tasted it: LORD. The meat fell apart in my mouth, and the broth was spicy and chipotle-tinged. I wanted to slurp gulps of it. Instead I held back and picked at my tacos, since I wasn’t technically hungry, as I’d already had dinner like an hour before. (Did I forget to mention that? But sometimes you have to just eat when the opportunity presents itself, and worry about everything later. This is why my pants are getting tighter.)

La Polar also had live mariachis, and a table full of Mexicans singing at the top of their lungs. I loved it. Wish I would have brought my tape recorder, but alas, it was in my other purse. This gives you a good idea of what it was like, though:

On the way out, we saw mariachis playing foosball in the parking garage.

Mariachis playing foosball

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4 Responses to “Falling in love with birria at La Polar”
  1. jennifer rose

    Birria is light years from menudo, which is stinky and gross. I think the latter only exists for two purposes: 1) to put tripe and other guts to some productive use, and 2) as a hangover remedy, to teach drunks a lesson.

  2. Don Cuevas

    Jennifer has nailed it, on the head. There are a few rare moments I might eat menudo, but I could eat birria at least once a week.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  3. Philo

    Pozole: I never liked it either. It’s still hit or miss for me, depending on how it’s prepared. But there’s one place I can count on. In Plaza Garibaldi on the north side there is a long row of family style restaurants. The very first one on the left is my favorite. Order the red pozole. Wait for the crema to come to the table. Dollop enthusiastically. Try the fried garlic in oil. Or the freshly cut habañeros. And when they burn your mouth try a soothing cucumber. It’s all about the condiments and they are fresh fresh fresh! If you suck down all the broth and you’re left with hominy that you really don’t care to finish, they’ll bring a pitcher of lovely beef broth to the table. They also serve the white version (but not the green) and other good food, but if you’re ever going to enjoy traditional pozole, this is the place.

    • Lesley

      Philo: FRIED GARLIC…. mmmm. (Sorry for all caps, but it really needed it there.) That pozole sounds so good. I must try it.

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