Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Taquería de Birria "El Venadito"

Sigh... Birria!

The weather in the Pátzcuaro area has turned cold, not only at night, but mornings are also chilly, at least until around 11:00 a.m. There are not many things one can do about the decline in temperature: put on more warm layers of clothing, drive 3 1/2 hours to The Beach (the Pacific Coast), or get a big bowl of steaming hot birria.

First, read a definition of birria.

There are numerous places in Pátzcuaro to get birria. Probably the most well established is the local chain of Birrerías Don Prisci's, with its flagship restaurant at "El Parian" (a place most expats wouldn't recognize), that is, close to La Estacíon. (Think of the second class bus stop for Uruapan.) Another is just inside the Mercado in Centro. I consider Don Prisci's the standard of birria, and I eat there from time to time. Don Prisci's birria is unique in that it contains finely diced mixed vegetables.

There are  also numerous little mobile carts selling the stuff, of variable quality, and, also in the Mercado, over to the left, as you enter from the Plaza Chica, there's a concentration of small carts,. Some, if not all, may actually be selling cabeza de res, or cow's head soup and tacos.

That's fine by me, although our neighbor, Sra. Salud, tells me that the cabeza soup and tacos tend to be greasy because of the fat from the brains.

Some time has passed since I came upon the best birria in Pátzcuaro. It leaves the others behind in el polvo.

Situated close to the intersection of Calle Ibarra and the Libramiento (peripheral road), There's a rickety looking birria stand. It often has a line of people waiting for a seat. Seats that are hardly comfortable, but worth the minor discomfort to eat this birria. When I saw the stream of customers, I knew then that I was on to something very good.

Taquería El Venadito in warmer weather
It was only this morning that I found out that it's called "Taquería El Venadito". The menu is simple: little tacos and big tacos, and the generous platos de birria, (bowls of soupy stew) available in chico ("small", $40 pesos) and grande (big, in fact, very big, $70 pesos). You can also get a plastic cup of the transcendent, near boiling hot, picante consomé. It is this consomé that is the primordial soup in which the substantial pieces of slow cooked beef await you in your plato de birria. To eat a plato de birria at El Venadito will both satiate and restore you.

Vaso de consomé. Beware the salsa!

For lighter appetites, there are the generously stuffed tacos.
Tacos outside
Taco inside
A few tips: ask for "poca salsa", because Jorge, the Boss Taquero, is very generous with the muy picante salsa. You can add more on your own as you like. But get "Toda la verdura", which means chopped onion and cilantro.

(Despite the word "verdura", you won't find any diced mixed vegetables in your plato de birria.)

Taquero Jorge takes an order
I recommend that you request "carne maciza", or solid meat, if you are averse to fat and organ meats. But the organs are there to be enjoyed if you wish to. That's the next step for me.

The spiced meat is slow cooked in the steamer well
Jorge chops meat
The platos come with a basket of just made, hot corn tortillas. They tend to be a bit undercooked, but I never have any trouble eating a stack of them. Refills are free, on request, or when offered.

Tortilla and verdura prep area
Birria  chock full of meat (unlike at some other places)

Drinks: an adjacent drinks stand offers refrescos (sodas) and basic fresh juices. You pay for these separately when you are finished.


It's difficult to rate El Venadito by usual measures. But, here goes.

Food: 9

Service: 9  It's fast, once you can get the taquero's attention. But don't expect any frills. But, yes! There are napkins, dispensed from overhead packages, salt, toothpicks, two kinds of self service salsa. One is a smooth yellow salsa composed of tomatillos and chile Perón. The other is the oily, brown, evil looking and potent but delicious salsa macha. Just a few drops will serve you well. There is also a bowl of finely chopped red radishes.

Hygiene: It is often messy but safe. The food is served very hot. The person who handles food does not handle money. Just don't suffer from consuming too much chile or salsa.

Bring your own hand sanitizing towelettes.

 Cost: bargain!

Hours: I don't really know. Maybe 8:00 a.m. To 1:00 p.m., or when the food runs out. Probably closed Sundays.

Location: more or less in front of Papelería Eureka, as shown below, but almost on the corner.

Parking: is where you find it. On the street.

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