Good Morning

The restorative capabilities of Gallardos' superb birria

Down with bacon, eggs and flapjacks for brunch; up with birria.

Offered at Gallardos Mexican Food in the Mission on Saturdays and Sundays only, the restorative Jaliscan stew ($7.50 for a small; $8.50 for a large) arrives in two parts.

The first comprises a bowl of reddish, fat-flecked brew; the second is an oval plate loaded with a mountain of shredded meat. Billed as lamb–yet, in flavor, strongly redolent of goat–the morsels are dark and crusty on the outside and rosy and chewy within.

After spiking the soup with raw onion, dried chile flakes, lime and cilantro from the accompanying saucers, you scoop pieces of meat in warm corn tortillas and dunk each bite in the broth.

As you alternately sip and dip, the onions sweeten, the cilantro perfumes the broth, the lime adds acidity, the meat becomes succulent and you become very happy, very quickly.

On a typical Sunday morning, mariachi singers wander the room, its walls covered in black-and-white Mexican cinema stills. Bottles of Corona and Jarritos dot the tables. Most customers hardly glance at the huge menu.

They simply smile at one of the friendly servers and ask for breakfast, aka birria.

Gallardos Mexican Food, 1807 Folsom St. (between 14th & 15th sts.); 415-436-9387