By Tommy Clarkson from the September 2010 Edition
Drive to Cihuatlan for a lunch of baked goat? Are you crazy?
Well, if you enjoy good food, then you’re crazy like a fox!
In sticking with that theme, shortly after the four of us arrived at “LA BIRRIA DE LAS 12” in that city just north of the airport turnoff and across the river, the song melodically melding with the wafting aroma of “great vittles” was Patsy Cline singing “crazy!” It all seemed quite apropos!
Opening their doors around midday and featuring “birria” – goat baked in clay ovens – in a daily process commencing at 5:00 each morning this is a meal well worth the short trek!
A delightful, traditional Mexican open air restaurant with superlative service under a wide coconut plant roof and comfortably seating approximately 80, by the time we arrived shortly after noon it was already abuzz with nearly 40 patrons.
Gracious and attentive, English speaking Alvaro helped his co-worker Martha as he heard us – in somewhat halting Spanish – endeavour to select our repast. And shortly after our receipt of soft drinks, a beer and a margarita we commenced our lunch with wonderfully creamy frijoles, some great, fresh, goat cheese, just chopped onions and almost too hot to handle tortillas. So savoury was this that pal Gil commented he could be perfectly content filling up on this – and his observation wasn’t far from simple fact!
But then came the “Birria Especial” which – from first bites taken by all – was immediately described as “moist”, “tender”, “succulent” and “delicious.” And the cost? Seventy pesos . . . and we had copious “para llevar” – in fact, enough to take home for an entire additional meal! Suffice it to say, owner Adalberto Chaires Ramirez, knows how to please his clientele.
To enjoy this experience drive north to Cihuatlan, on Alvaro Obregon, the one way street through the heart of the town go north, past the square in front of the cathedral to the first full right/left intersection (approximately two city blocks). Then turn right and go past the bull fight ring – on the right after about three blocks – taking the middle road when confronted with a three street option. You’re almost there! Then turn left the next time you have a chance on Guadalupe Victoria. “La Birria de las 12” will be on the left side (SW corner of the intersection) one short block north, inside an orange walled compound.
They are open Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM, Monday through Thursday from 11:30 AM until 3:00 PM and closed on Friday.
It is well worth the drive.
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.