If you read the Los Angeles Times—and, judging by their plummeting circulation figures, you don't—you read the great Nov. 21 front-page story by Jerry Hirsch declaring goat meat popular. About time, goat-cheese-loving Americans: goat is light, healthier than chicken or beef, and available in some of the most intense dishes in the world: steaming Mexican birria stew, hellacious Pakistani curries, Indian dosas . . . and the infamous Tijuanan goat spine delight.
DINNER FOR TWO:
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ANGELO'S AND VINCI'SThis restaurant is a work of art. Never mind the monster wine cellar; it's like the Piazza Fantasia inside. You can't go wrong ordering pizza, so try the quattro formaggio that comes with tangy goat cheese. 550 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 879-4022. $
Britta's is a quaint, European-style café where servers offer you individual pieces of bread (baguette or pumpernickel?) and a savory rustic tart isn't some old queen sashaying through a gay Parisian bistro but an appetizer you'll completely enjoy. Cheese lovers will freak out over the calzone packed with goat cheese, buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto and tomatoes. 4237 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 509-1211; www.brittascafe.com. $$
Where else can you dine on tender barbecued goat in a smoky sauce and swaddled in steaming tortillas made on the premises? The only thing better is the house specialty: a mild white fish filet stuffed with shrimp, mushrooms and mixed vegetables. 130 N. Fairview, Santa Ana, (714) 836-1254.$
There are so many dosas at Dosa Place—crammed with goat, stuffed with cheese, oozing with curried potatoes—you'll probably overlook the rest of the platters. Don't. Once in a while, scan over the South India portion of the menu and devote a lunch to the idli, two rice-flour dumplings touched with a molten chile powder, or an utappam, a flour Frisbee that the menu advertises as a pancake but which is really more of a veggie-gorged omelet. Besides, Dosa Place is also one of the precious few Southern California restaurants specializing in the tamarind-heavy cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. 13812 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-7777; www.dosaplace.com. $
irie jamaican restaurant
This mom-and-pop place serves an excellent ackee and salt fish that is a must-have. But you would be remiss if you passed on some of the other fine dishes, including oxtail, cow foot, curry goat and jerk chicken. 9062 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 484-0661. $
NANCY PUEBLA RESTAURANT
Lurking within this seemingly mundane Mexican restaurant are delicious, complex rarities from the central state of Puebla, platters more familiar to an ethnography than an Orange County menu—dense mole poblano, pale goat menudo and guilotas, a chewy type of quail so region-specific that it's not even listed in most Spanish dictionaries. 1221 E. First St., Ste. C, Santa Ana, (714) 834-9004. $
NOORANI HALAL RESTAURANT
The Indian selections are admirable—the sour minced-beef shish kebab in particular would make a desi nostalgic for the Punjab—but first-time Noorani patrons should indulge instead in the specialty of one of the county's few Pakistani restaurants. The haleem in particular, a sticky concoction of lentils, shredded wheat, ginger, dried chiles and beef so mashed it's not immediately discernible enmeshed in the goop, is the tasty oatmeal Americans can only dream about. The palak gosht—goat with spinach—is good, también. 14178 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 636-1000. $
EL RINCÓN DEL OSO
El Rincón del Oso (The Bear's Corner) is a favorite of many Orange County Mexicans for its buttery gorditas, primal goat stew and an atmosphere that suggests mami's kitchen—if your mami fed immigrant smugglers. I return to El Rincón for its peinecillo: goat spine slathered with red chile, the membranous 7 or 8 inches chewy like intestine but sweeter. Mercado Miguel Hidalgo Internacional No. 47, Zona Rio, Tijuana, Baja California, 011-52-664-684-24-91. $
Gabachos can dabble with meats like goat and beef tongue just like they do south of the border. You're not feeling experimental but you like spicy food? Try the chili verde plate with pork. It's out of this world. 2949 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 437-1824.$
TAQUERÍA Y TORTILLERÍA
For $10, you can eat like a king. Goat burritos, tongue burritos, brain burritos, it doesn't matter; you'll eat like a king. 31921 Camino Capistrano, Ste. 15, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 240-3141. ¢
This place is open 24 hours! Try their corn tortillas filled with chicken; marinated asada; or smoky, chile-tinged rotisserie pork doused with chopped cilantro. The tacos al pastor are worth waiting for if you're there after midnight.They sell goat tacos here, and their logo is a cute goat wearing the red-and-white jersey of Guadalajara's famous Chivas soccer squad. 520 N. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-1370; also at 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-1191; and 1904 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 547-7515. ¢
EL TORO MEAT MARKETOriginally from Fresnillo, Zacatecas, the Bonilla clan—four brothers and una hermana—have seen their butcher shop grow in the past 20-odd years from a solitary meat market to a place that hawks produce from all over Latin America. Dawn at the location always shines on gluttonous riots, as Latino OC clamors for the day's masa, carnitas and other earthy delights. And this is also the place to purchase an entire freakin' goat's head! 1340 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 836-1393. $-$$View Orange County's best damn dining guide at ocweekly.com/food.
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