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Birrieria Chivo de Oro Is the Golden Goat

[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana eatery will scare away OC Register readers—more birria for us!

Poor Jeff Overley. He's a good reporter for The Orange County Register who usually covers Newport Beach, but also contributes posts for the paper's Food Frenzy blog. A couple of weeks ago, Overley wrote a post titled "Please, foodies, don't be scared of Santa Ana," in which he pleaded for the Reg's retrograde readers to drop their consistent anti-Mexican bias and visit the county's seat for great food. That, of course, didn't happen, and racist hilarity ensued (on Food Frenzy, as well as on our Stick a Fork In It blog, alas).

Screw the racists! Ustedes gentle readers know of SanTana's many gourmet pleasures, especially the Mexican kind, so here's another dive we get to keep for ourselves: Birrieria Chivo de Oro, a ramshackle space devoted to the art of roasting meat. Oh, how the Reg's core audience would hate this place! There's no menu, and there are tables outside for weekend grilling, plus a swampy aroma emanating from goat slowly roasting until the meat turns into a mound of crispy, fatty strings. The kind cooks collect the chivo drippings for a powerful, amber-colored consommé, oily and spiked with chile, that's presented to you steaming in a bowl with the birria de chivo or to the side in a cup—regardless of vessel, it jolts with the liquefied power of goat. The goat meat itself (your choice of ribs or leg; the former is fattier, the latter, crunchier) is presented simply: rubbed with chile, cooked so the top of the meat is crisped à la carnitas, the inside ruddy, gamy, covered with sheets of yellow fat that slowly melt. Cilantro, onions, lime wedges and two salsas (one smoky, another with a curious vinegar kick) are on the side, but the birria really doesn't need any more flavor: You'll reek of goat for the rest of the day—and love it.

But there is more to Birrieria Chivo de Oro than just goat. It's one of the few OC restaurants that offer birria de res: the same preparation, but using beef, which results in a cleaner taste that's still popping with birria's fatty brilliance. And weekends bring fritanga, one of the hallmark dishes of Sahuayo, the Michoacán city that is to Santa Ana what Iowa was to Long Beach a generation ago. The child of menudo and carnitas, it's beef tripe cooked in pork fat, slathered in salsa, unctuous and likely to scare off the average consumer. But Weekly readers are no mere eaters; we embrace the great and let the Register audience waste away in its xenophobic foolishness.

Location Info

Map

Birrieria Chivo de Oro

218 S. Flower St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

This column appeared in print as "The Golden Goat."

 
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14 comments
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Samantha
Samantha

I'm looking forward to eating here. Living in Loreto, Zac for a while, I've been spoiled by delicious goat birria from Birreria La Loba and from nearby Luis Moya.By the by, are there any decent gordita eateries?

CB
CB

"the inside ruddy, gamy, covered with sheets of yellow fat that slowly melt."

That's not exactly selling me on this place...

Maria_Jimenez86
Maria_Jimenez86

This restaurant is the best. I recomended at 100% I leave in Kansas when I go to santa Ana, ca is my favorite place to stop and eat :-)

John
John

Gustavo, My apologies to Fonda La Meche for getting their name wrong. I only go there twice a week.

Bob
Bob

Dude, I was gonna email you to ask about this place. Never ate there, but did stop and poke my head inside once, after seeing it about 100 times driving up and down Flower (during non-meal times). I'm gonna make a point of eating there this week. That little stretch of Flower between 1st and Warner has three killer and cheap eating establishments (La Raza, this place, and that place that is part convenience store, part taqueria, part catering business).

John
John

With only 1.5 miles separating Birrieria Chivo de Oro with their delicious chivo dishes and Las Brisas de Apatzingan with their pozole verde and one of a kind huchepos I'll never be leaving Santa Ana (except to go to La Fonda Meche in Stanton for enchiladas toluquenas).

Bob
Bob

Where is the Las Brisas place?

Edgar Jimenez
Edgar Jimenez

Well my dad owns this place and i could give you more details of how to get to the restaurant. We have wensdays and thursdays the good dish of fritanga or the birria evreyday.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

What's "pozole verde"??......Never heard of this one!......North San Diego County is pozole heaven and no one seems to eat it here in OC!!??.....

John
John

1524 South Flower (just south of Edinger). They received OC Weekly's Best Mexican Restaurant for 2009.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

John y Bob: You're my kind of cabrones! And don't forget the Guerrero-style food over at El Fogón, off Standard and Edinger...

 
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