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Jan 21, 2008 10:25 AM
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SW Houston Chow - Trudi's Birria de Chivo

I thought this place was going out of business a couple of months ago but it’s just that they have very limited hours. It’s located in a one-time Bambolino’s drive-thru pizza-by-the-slice location at the corner of Bissonnet and Beechnut. Other tenants have included a hamburger/hot dog stand and another Mexican drive-thru taqueria that didn’t last. One of the tenants put up a deck and Trudi’s sets out tables with umbrellas when they’re open – there’s no neon ‘Open’ sign. Banners hanging on the side of the building and deck railing are the only identification.

I’ve seen people standing in line at 6:45am and I’ve seen cars parked every which way, like cowboys flocking to the chuck wagon, when they’re open and with their limited hours, I anticipated they must serve something very special and I was not disappointed. All they serve is birria de chivo – goat stew, I guess is a good translation. I got a Plato Chico, small plate, and got 3 cups of the stew, close to 2 cups of it meat, for $6. I also got a small cup of fiery, smokey and strangely nutty tasting salsa and a small cup of salsa fresca (pico de gallo) and some lime wedges, but no tortillas. The man gave me a small sample, after being sure I understood it was cabrito, and I knew I was in for a treat.

The stew is rich with meat, minced onions that were still a little crunchy, cilantro (not enough for my taste) and other spices and is very savory and satisfying. I couldn’t wait to warm up some tortillas. One of the attractions of goat meat is supposed to be that it is leaner than beef but they do not trim their meat closely and there’s a significant amount of visible fat in the dish and the broth is fatty.

The top item on the crude, hand-lettered menu on a torn piece of cardboard taped to the window is 25 lbs of birria – they make it in quantity and they sell it in quantity. There is also a platillo grande, consome vasos chico and grande (cups of soup) and tacos.

They’re open only Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon from 7am until they run out. I was there about noon on MLK day and they man said he had about 30 # left to sell. He speaks good enough English to communicate but his female helper apparently speaks none.

I think this is a real find. I could hardly force myself to stop eating but decided I needed to save some for later when I’ll go to the trouble to warm up some tortillas.

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  1. Sounds really cool. Are you saying they do not have tortillas? Isn't it pretty standard to eat birria with tortillas?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jscarbor

      Agreed. I was surprised there weren't any in the bag. They must have them since they serve tacos. Perhaps they just forgot? Maybe I needed to ask? Maybe they're extra?

      http://i25.tinypic.com/9gf01v.jpg

    2. My second visit was quite a different story. The place was busy with most of the customers being families with small children to my surprise. Most appeared to hve been eating tacos; there were bowls of the salsa fresca and lime wedges on the tables. One lady was selling CDs out of a suitcase. Two young teens flanked the window where I had ordered before and as I approached one stepped in front of me and demanded to know what I wanted. I told him I wanted to order a Platillo Chico; he turned around and conveyed this to the person in the window 2 feet away. Turns out, this the wait-staff. There were 4 or 5 people inside helping out. Okay, so Trudi's whole family wants to get in on the action, that's fine with me.

      I got a lot less product on this visit, slightly less than 2 cups over all, about half of it just broth. It also included some meat with the texture and taste of liver and some other organ parts. I'm wondering if I lucked out on the first visit to be there on a day when business was slow and the guy had lots of product to move. This serving had more cilantro and onion in it but wasn't as good as the previous (I had just finished off the last of the previous the night before).

      I think I'll try to go on slow days.

      Some corrections to the first post: the top item on the menu is one kilo of birria for $25. Tortillas are 10 for a buck as best as I could make out. I'd assume they're complimentary if you order the tacos.

      Another place I've tried is Ostioneria la Michoacana, just west of Fondren, 2 blocks from Sharpstown Hi. A big sign in the window proclaims Barbacoa de Borrego. It's served as barbacoa, consome and tacos and translated as goat (I thought borrego was lamb???)

      I've just had the consome so far, on the lunch buffet. The lunch buffet is a good bargain at $5.99 and everything I've had has been good; it seems to always include the consome de borrego or caldo de mariscos -- and the borrego is better. There is also a barbacoa de borrego house special plate for $6.99.

      1. I have never had Trudi's but I will have to go try it. I wonder if it is close to the barbacoa de chivo that is sold by SuperBurritoTaco.com. They have it available every month and they also sell it by the pound. You usually have to pre-order and pre-pay because they run out quickly. They keep a waiting list. It's kind of funny because it's your standard run of the mill tex mex food truck but their barbacoa de chivo is awesome! The owner is from Puebla Mexico and his style is like none I have tried at any other places that sell birria. I wonder if Trudi's is better and I will have to go and compare.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robertofromhouston

          Be sure to come back and let me know what you think. I may have to try the truck.

          I came to realize it's just Trudis, no apostrophe.

          Here's a review on my blog with some pictures. I haven't been in a couple of years.

          http://chilibobshoustoneats.blogspot....

        2. The 1950s era shopping center is being demolished and an Aldi will be going in. Only the Baskin Robbins is being left untouched.

          http://swamplot.com/aldi-in-birria-de...

          Glad to have an Aldi going in close by, it's too far to the closest one for me to make it worthwhile. I'm sorry to see Trudis go; hopefully they'll relocate someplace not too far away.

          Swamplot seems to indicate either that there's a Dunkin Donuts there or will be added. There isn't one there now.

          14 Replies
          1. re: brucesw

            Looks like the DD is inside the B&R? Swamplot called it a combo shop. I drove a long distance to see what Aldi is about, and it seems to be a nice corner store for essentials, nothing extraordinary.

            1. re: Lambowner

              Are DD and BR co-branded now? I didn't know.

              25 minutes each way to the nearest Aldi for me. I've been 3 times? but not in quite a few months. Will give it another try when it opens but what this part of town needs is something other than a no frills, discount grocery.

              Fat chance.

              1. re: brucesw

                Bruce, I grew up not far from that shopping center and here's a mid-60's sample of what was there. Anchor, A&P grocery store, a barber shop, Wacker's five and dime, Bigwick liquor, and a pharmacy that had a soda fountain and great burgers. I can't remember that pharmacie's name and it's driving me nuts.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  Bigwick was still there at the end!. There was La Sultana, a Salvadoran grocery and pupuseria, on the end along Bissonnet. I remember a billiard parlor, I think a libreria cristiana?, either a barber shop or beauty parlor. There's still a banner for a tax office hanging about the middle of the main building. Maybe a martial arts school at one time.

                  The large space along Beechnut - where the A&P was? - was an antiques store about 15 years ago; I don't remember what it was more recently.

                  1. re: brucesw

                    Yep, the large space was A&P. The pool place was Wacker's. When I was a tike we went to get a Christmas tree at A&P and my cat got in the trunk of the car before we went for the tree. When we opened the trunk at the A&P the cat, Benny, shot out like a rocket across Beechnut, never to be seen again. The next morning Benny showed up after navigating a good mile while being locked in the trunk. I was one happy little kid.

                    There was a Chuc Wagon burger place just east on Bissonnet that is now a papusaderia, at least last time I was there.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Yep. El Puposodromo, a local chain. Very popular but not one of my favorites.

                      Before that it was Mite-e-Bite or something like that, a slider joint.

                      They were originally on Shepherd, near the Alabama Theatre, in an old Toddle House. My girl friend lived near there and loved 'em and I did too. Then that place became an egg roll place and the sliders popped up near me, but they didn't last. Damn good sliders, way before their time at least in this part of the country.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  You know you're from Texas if...:)

                  We never called it anything else as teens, had to drive 20 miles to the nearest one in Westbury Square.

                  1. re: Lambowner

                    I'm even more confused about B&R, don't know what it is and as a kid living ten minutes from Westbury Square don't remember B&R, whatever it is. Help!?!

                    There's a you know your from the Valley if, and one of the answers is you took your honeymoon in San Antonio. You guessed it, the Wifeacita is from the Valley and we honeymooned there. She's down there now as we speak. We got married outdoors at a small ranch in between Shiner and Halletsville with lots of Hispanics, rednecks and at least two gay friends. How Texas is that.

                      1. re: DoobieWah

                        Duh! Thanks, ironically my parents almost bought the Bee and Are in the shopping center brucesw brought up.

                        1. re: Lambowner

                          Nope, I was seriously, hopelessly, udderly dumbfounded, and confused. I'm ok now.

                          On a lighter or darker note, I sure do miss Westbury Square, especially the cheese shop.

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            This comment just appeared on my page also. Me too, so nostalgic.