Certainly one of Portland’s Finest Bowls of Birria Lives at Birrias Tamazula
Once I moved to Portland in 2020, solely a handful of locations served birria—the slow-cooked, meaty Mexican stew—and most of them had been out within the suburbs. There are actually over two dozen metro-area birrierias, by my depend, and loads of different eating places embody birria on their menus. However right here’s the factor: most don’t supply goat birria (birria de chivo) in a bowl. Relatively, they focus on beef birria tacos, particularly the quesabirria tacos popularized in Tijuana and Los Angeles which have gone viral over the previous 5 years. There’s a lot to like in regards to the tacos of wealthy stewed beef, melty white cheese, tortillas splashed with red-orange consomé, folded over and griddled to a crisp, with a bowl of additional consomé for dipping. And the tacos are versatile: they could be a hangover treatment at brunch, or a treat-yourself meal on the finish of the day.
However birria tacos are the flashy millennial cousin of basic birria de chivo. Should you haven’t eaten a giant bowl of brothy goat birria, you’re lacking out on the timeless consolation meals that’s birria. Birrieria Los 7 Hermanos on Stark Road in Gresham was lengthy the primary participant within the recreation, for its gentle, virtually buttery broth stuffed with goat, chickpeas, and rice. Now, there’s one other cease, sans chickpeas and with a bit extra chile: Birrias Tamazula, a comfy, no-frills spot with loads of pure gentle simply off the primary drag of downtown Gresham, which opened in 2022.
At Birrias Tamazula, dreamy bowls of goat birria come stuffed with steaming brickred broth, ribs arching dramatically out of the stew. That is co-owner Anthony Herrera’s household recipe, which dates again generations from Tamazula in Durango, Mexico. The dish was born in Jalisco, the place Spanish conquistadors snubbed the powerful texture and gamy taste of goat meat, however locals crafted it right into a aromatic stew. (the birria means “one thing ineffective” in Spanish.) The goat at Birrias Tamazula is among the many most delicate we’ve tried, its gaminess toned right down to a comfortable, floral-like taste. Meaty ribs and tender stewed chunks collapse with the push of a spoon. The broth tastes like one thing a grandmother may make, that unfakeable taste of long-simmered bones, with only a trace of smokiness and a bit spice from the toasted chiles. Raquel, the co-owner and Anthony’s spouse, will load up a basket of tortillas for you, scorching off the machine. They’re filled with toasty corn taste, skinny but splendidly puffy, with that little air pocket within the center that signifies an excellent tortilla.
When Anthony asks if you’d like scorching sauce, the reply is positively sure. Together with pink and inexperienced salsas, you’ll additionally get chile oil, made in accordance with a Lao household good friend’s recipe. Thai chiles are the spine of the sauce, with a bit smoky chile de árbol for a Mexican contact.
It’s onerous to go unsuitable with the basic goat birria in consomé right here—the dish is so in style that the Herreras typically put together 600 kilos at a time for catering orders. However the birria dorado can be value a strive, the place the goat will get oven-roasted till the sides flip crispy, with beans and consomé on the aspect.
Should you’re in search of one thing to accompany your birria, your choices from the quick menu are restricted. The Herreras decline to increase the menu past their specialties, like seafood, a nod to Anthony’s household historical past, which included a decades-long cease in Baja California earlier than touchdown within the States. If we’re nitpicking, the camarones zarandeados—entire, shell-on shrimp in a thick, spicy, barely smoky pink sauce—are impressive-looking, however the sauce is a bit heavy for such a fragile protein. Seafood tacos, nonetheless, are a stable guess: Baja-style fried fish tacos topped with slaw and pickled onions are among the finest on the town, and the shrimp and cheese taco can be a worthy aspect order, its crispy, folded-over tortilla oozing with garlicky, gooey cheese and plump shrimp. Selfmade aguas frescas are additionally on supply—the jamaica is refreshing, tart, and flippantly candy—as are micheladas and margaritas.
By the best way, that is the form of birria that encourages lingering. After you’ve been noshing in your goat for twenty minutes or so, Anthony will come by with a pitcher of steaming goat broth to prime off your bowl. Transfer over, bottomless mimosas. I can’t consider many higher methods to start out off a weekend morning.
Birrias Tamazula, 184 NE 2nd St, Gresham, @birriastamazula