One day during the meeting, my affable host Juan Matienzo offered to take me out for a typical Puebla lunch. There was, he said, a special goat dish served only in November, made with goats that had been taken on long hikes (I don’t know what that does to the meat). I instantly acceded, of course, and we drove off to a remote region of town to try this delicacy.
Welcome to El Burladero, which I believe refers to the wooden barrier around the edge of a bull ring where the banderilleras and matador stand when not engaged with a bull (yes, there are still cruel bullfights in Mexico).
One wouldn’t know, from this unprepossessing facade, of the culinary delights within. First, you park in a courtyard. . .
. . . and then enter the bullfight-themed restaurant, which has been there for decades. The restaurant was almost empty as we were there at 2 p.m., which apparently is early for lunch in Mexico. Most Mexicans, I’m told, have a reasonable breakfast in the morning, then the big meal of the day (comida) at about 2:30-3:30 pm, and a lighter dinner at about 9 p.m. When we had finished our meal, the restaurant was full, and everyone was eating the same thing: a tureen of stewed goat (see below).
We were handed menus and, as one should, I told Juan that he should do all the ordering as he was a local and had been there several times before. So here’s my report on the meal. Juan ordered, and I sat back to await the viands. The first dish, one of three appetizers, was chalupas, small corn tortillas with green or red sauce and shredded chicken.
Then guajolotes (“turkey”), a small sandwich made with turkey, guacamole, crema, and other stuff that I didn’t notice while I was wolfing it down:
Third appetizer: mollejas, deep-fried chicken gizzards served with guacamole, lime, and various salsas. You make your own nosh by mixing these ingredients in a fresh, warm tortilla.
Then the pièce de résistance: mole de caderas, made from the hip of one of those hiking goats, stewed in a thick and savory broth. It was a huge hunk of meat which you could put into tortillas or simply fork off the bone. Then you’d drink the soup, which was incredibly luscious, meaty, and savory. It was a spectacular dish:
Here’s Juan with his portion. I believe these are from the hips of the goat, but perhaps a local can enlighten us:
During lunch the tiny but friendly owner, Don Onésimo, came by several times, as Juan told him I was from America and had come to eat his food. He seemed pleased, and even more so when I told him I greatly enjoyed his meal. We posed together under a bull’s head. This owner has managed the restaurant for 53 years, and had another restaurant before that!
I found a video made by the restaurant with bullfighting music, prominently featuring the goat, which is what the restaurant is known for. But they also show the chalupas and other dishes.
Many thanks to Juan not only for taking me here for lunch, but for his attentive hosting throughout the meeting. Muchas gracias, amigo!