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Mar 15, 2007 01:17 PM

Oakland birria crawl, tejuino & question about ice cream at Cinco de Mayo

This week's East Bay Express has a goat birria crawl that starts at Cinco de Mayo which John Birdsdall mentions has a neveria.

I KNOW I've asked before, but I don't remember if I got an answer, but has anyone stopped here? What type of ice cream are they serving? Are paletas involved and who makes them?

Cinco de Mayo also sells tejuinos ... from a Chowhound discussion ...

"Tejuino (teh-HWEE-no) is a thick sweet corn drink sweetened with a brown sugar-like substance called piloncillo (pee-lohn-SEE-yoh) and allowed to ferment slightly. It's then served with a scoop of lemon ice. It's not alcoholic enough to require any sort of licensing (in Mexico at least)."

I probably will stop by Cinco de Mayo for that to compare with the first tejuino I had at Cafe Euro, however I'm wondering if I should save room for ice cream.

Nice little birrea de chivo crawl where Birdsdall tries it at

- Cinco de Mayo - Birria de chivo estilo caldo ... inconsistant birria, great tortillas
- El Centenario - Birria en su jugo ... "fantastic"
- Otaez Mexicatessen - Birria de chivo ... a very slight notch below El Centenario
- Taqueria Zamorano - Birria de chivo en caldo ... the best of all

The only nit I'd have with the article is he doesn't mention that there is birria de res ... hmmm, I wonder if other meats are used ... asked here on the general board

Anyway here's a link to the East Bay Express article

Anyone tried these places? Do you agree or disagree.

So far the best birria I tried was a beef version at La Loma #11 in San Pablo. However, I haven't tried a lot of birria.

What is the best Bay Area birria you have tried?

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  1. All of the birria de chivo that I've tried around here seems dull and lacks the gamey goat taste that I like. In Fruitvale I've been to Cinco de Mayo and (I think) Otaez. Could have been beef if I didn't know better.

    I started eating birria in LA where there are restaurants that specialize in goat. You can choose the cut of meat and there's this excellent salsa made with just onions, vinegar, and dried pequin chiles that I've never seen in the bay area. This Jonathan Gold column is a good starting point:

    4 Replies
    1. re:

      You know, I almost dismissed the word "Birrieria" in that review in relationship to Cinco de mayo. While I have almost gone in ... or maybe I did go in and they didn't have the ice cream I was looking for ... I'm thinking this is just a Mexican restauarnt rather than a real Birrieria that specializes in goat. They just have that one dish amoung others ... is that true?

      So goggling around I find there are a number of Bay Area restaurants with the word Birrieria as part of their name. I wonder if they specialize only in goat like this joint

      Here's there menu which is just fascinating to me


      -tongue $2.00
      -birria $1.50
      -head $1.50

      -big $7.50
      -small $6.50
      -soup $1.50

      Tongue Plates
      -big $8.50
      -small $7.50

      -1 lb tongue $15.00
      -1 lb $10.00

      Orders (to go
      )-1 lb tongue $13.00
      -1 lb $10.00

      -full goat $212
      -half a goat $106

      Is that what a birreria is like .. the goat and nothing but the goat?

      1. re: rworange

        Cinco de Mayo has a typical taqueria menu and I think that most of the other patrons were not eating birria.

        Birrierias typically have standard Cal-Mex menus but everyone is there for the chivo. I don't remember ever seeing any other non-Hispanics at these places except for my group. But I guess it's like how a Chinese restaurant that caters to a Chinese clientele still has Chinese-American dishes just in case. I'd love to try goat tongue but since there's only one tiny one per goat, it's got to sell out quickly.

      2. re:

        I'm wondering if the pequin chile salsa you're describing is what I've been calling Michoacan hot sauce. It looks like Sichuan chili oil to me, full of pulverized dried chilis and seeds. I've had it at Gonzalez in Redwood City and La Texanita in Santa Rosa, and run across it from time to time at taco trucks.

        Birria @ Gonzalez

        Antojitos La Texanita

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          No, the pequin chile salsa looks like ground up onions and garlic with flecks of dark brown chile bits. It's deceptive because the initial taste is onion and vinegar and then the chiles come on hard and the burn lasts. Great stuff.

      3. I had birria once from a tiny joint on Foothill that was definitely "goaty." It was a really odd little place ... can't remember the name but it's a little stucco building on the south side of Foothill around 37th. We ordered at a walk-up window, and the two nice Mexican ladies made the tortillas to order. Then we found the seating: a couple of tiny fast-food-style tables inside an unmarked door (I've driven by and seen it open, but the day we were there it was closed).

        I've never had birria at Cinco de Mayo. Actually, I've never been inside the one at High and International -- there's also one in the 3400 block of International -- I've had rasposados and a couple of other things there.

        1. Have you tried the birria at Chava's in the Mission? Not East Bay, but worth a try for comparison's sake if you're in the neighborhood. I have not had birria elsewhere, so I can't compare it to other Bay Area versions, but the taste was very rich, meaty and full. Note that it's only served on the weekends.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pane

            I had high hopes for Chava's, but again the meat was too beef-like and more of a bowl of soup with big chunks of meat. It might be that the places around here are serving mostly trimmed primal cuts and what I like are the shanks and joints and other cuts with lots of connective tissue.