Five Great Goats

I'm still convinced only Mexicans, subcontinentals, and Jamaicans (who learned from said subcontinentals) truly appreciate goat, its slightly gamy taste perfect for frying, shredding, making into tacos and curry–really, anything. And they're so much more economical than cows! I wrote about Hot Taco's great birria tacos a couple of weeks back, but la naranja has more than its share of great chivo.

Dosa Place
: Just had lunch at the county's best South Indian joint, but didn't go for the goat dosa. My loss. A triangle of ground goat, spices and juice spilling forth across your plate with the slightest of fork stabs, it's the restaurant's best dosa, which is like saying the yellow rose is the prettiest rose. Don't get my allusion? All the dosas are great, damnit! 13812 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, (714) 505-7777;

Noorani Halal Tandoori: 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–fried goat
with spinach–is good, también. 14178 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove,
(714) 636-1000

El Toro Meat Market: Originally 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. And this is
also the place to purchase an entire freakin' goat's head, complete with intact brains, eyeballs, and tongue! 1340 W.
First St., Santa Ana, (714) 836-1393.

El Cabrito: The average birria serving size here is three vertebrae, with piles of goat
surrounding the partial spinal column below and more on the bone
waiting to get stripped–at least a pound of meat. A river of juices
runs around the plate, and a couple of squirts of lime produce the best
meat juice I've ever tasted, redolent of citrus and goat, surprisingly
zesty. 1604 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 543-8461.

Eva's Caribbean Kitchen: I include the South Laguna fave as a challenge. They don't serve goat, but good county eaters should beg them to since our sole Jamaican restaurant, Irie in Cypress, closed down months ago, and we're now bereft of the wonders Caribbeans can do with goat. So, Eva: por favor?

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