Birrieria Apatzingan

Top Ten Mexican Restaurants: No. 4, November 2010

The broth of the birria, or goat stew, glistens in a bowl. The spoon-soft meat arrives in warm tortillas, a hint of gaminess peeking through the onions that imbue each bite. A squeeze of lime adds the necessary acidity to the soup’s gossamer layer of fat. Order it with a cool Sidral Mundet, an apple soda. You’re in the northern San Fernando Valley, savoring the food of Apatzingán, a city in the state of Michoacán. That man in the painting strangling the goat is Martin Cruz, the cook, who also offers straight corn tamales called uchepos. In the morning trucks packed with lawn mowers and rakes fill the lot outside as the city’s gardeners fuel themselves with apporeadillo—eggs scrambled with mortar-pounded salsa and strips of seared beef.