I am down at the distillery this week, and we just started to bottle our 34th batch of Tanteo Jalapeño. When I am down here I spend long days at the distillery (and long drives in between Guadalajara and Tequila), but I always make sure to spend some time eating out. Today I am going to share three of my favorite dishes that are local to Jalisco, and my favorite places to eat them. While Guadalajara is a cosmopolitan city with great Asian Fusion, pizza, and fantastic Argentine steaks, It is the only place in the world that I have had good Birria, Carne en su Jugo, and Torta Ahogadas. I miss these dishes when in the states, and if anyone has had an authentic version in the US, please let me know on Twitter @neilgrosscup or Instagram @neiltherealdeal.
Birria: You see the words Birria de Chivo painted on many roadside stands in Jalisco and this is one of the most proud dishes for Tapatios (people born in Guadalajara). This acidic stew of tomato, lime, spices, and goat (although I often have it with beef) is meant to be a hangover cure. Therefore, it’s fitting that my favorite place to get Birria is only open on Saturday for those that had a long Friday night. In the town of Tequila, two school teachers make this winning Birria on their day off. My favorite of the two, sets up shop in the market behind the main church in town. Get prepared to get a little messy as our chef uses the same big meat cleaver used to chop the goat and beef, to open your beer! With generous amounts of onions, lime and cilantro to top the stew, my coworker Ernesto and I enjoy Birria as a midmorning snack when we are in production season.
Carne en Su Jugo: Another stew, Carne in Su Jugo (translated literally, “meat in its juice”) is much richer in flavor than Birria, and is a good substitute for a hearty dinner. While there are a few chains that serve this popular dish of beef, bacon, and beans, my favorite place to eat is called Carne en su jugo De La Torre; it is at the halfway point between Tequila and Guadalajara (they have a second location in downtown Guadalajara). At De la Torre, the stew is served with extra beans, roasted baby onions (probably not the best date spot), more beans, and cilantro. With a cazuela to wash it down (similar to a margarita but topped with Squirt and fresh fruit juices), this is a great way to end a hard day at work.
Torta Ahogada: Another proven hangover cure (we like to drink down here), is the Torta Ahogada, which literally means the drowned sandwich. The Ahogada is thought to be invented by a resourceful Tapatio who was looking to create a snack with only a piece of stale bread, beans, meat, and watered down tomato Sauce. While today the ahogada is made from a salty roll called a Biote, the dense bread is softened by being drowned in a red sauce. My favorite place for Ahorgadas is called El Chino, for their added slices of avocado to the Pork Carnitas, beans and two types of tomato sauce. Because the sandwich is doused in tomato sauce, it is very messy to eat, so make sure to avoid wearing a white shirt when heading out for one. However, a Sunday afternoon of Ahorgadas and a few beers with friends is about as good as it gets.