Colonia Santa Maria La Ribera, one of our favorite dining neighborhoods in Mexico City, is home to the historic kiosco morisco. Built in 1884, the Moorish open-air pavilion represented Mexico at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1902 and has been in its current location since 1910. Just a few steps west of it sits a nondescript hole in the wall, which figures as prominently as the kiosk in our mental map of the neighborhood. Owner David García Maldonado offers just a few items on the menu, two of which are outstanding: pozole, a broth made from pork and maíz cacahuazintle, or hominy, and goat birria, a typical soup from the state of Jalisco.
We had heard about this place from fellow food-loving friends, who go there often on Sunday mornings. A month ago we finally stopped by this hidden jewel after a stroll in the park that hosts the famous kiosk. The venue doesn’t look like much. At one end, big pots of broth simmer on top of large stoves, and a small bar is used to cut large pieces of goat meat that are served with the birria. There are only four tables, two for parties of up to four and two more for larger parties of up to eight. Besides birria and pozole, the menu on the wall also lists costilla asada and queso fundido.
One of our party of six ordered pozole, while the rest went for birria. For the birria, there’s a choice of goat maciza (only lean meat), espinazo (backbone) and surtida, a dealer’s choice mixture of different parts of the goat for more adventurous eaters. Pozole options are chicken, or pork maciza and surtida.
The birria meat is chopped and served in large bowls with spicy broth that is made with pasilla and ancho chiles as well as spices such as cumin, bay leaf, thyme, cloves and oregano. The spicy chile de árbol salsa on the table offers more of a kick, if desired. Lime wedges and large tortillas – freshly handmade on the spot – also accompany this aromatic dish. There is no limit on tortillas, and you can refill your bowl with birria broth (but not meat) as many times as you wish.
The pozole comes with tostadas and a side of sour cream, lime wedges, sliced lettuce and radish and dried oregano. Even though the main dish at Birria El Güero is, as its name says it, the birria, the pozole was one of the best we’ve tried in the city.
We capped off our brunch with arroz con leche, rice pudding, and jericalla, a custard dessert that is typical to Jalisco. They were the perfect sweet and creamy counterpoint to the hearty broths that came before.
Editor’s note: To celebrate the ‘Year of the Neighborhood,’ we will be republishing dispatches from the less-visited areas – like Santa Maria La Ribera – that our correspondents are planning to explore this year.