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Mexico mourns the passing of El Chololo, the godfather of birria

March 1, 2016
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El Chololo is probably the most popular and best known birrieria in Jalisco.

The western Mexican state of Jalisco lost one of its most beloved culinary figures this month when Javier Torres Ruiz, better known as “El Chololo,” died of a heart attack at the age of 74.

Torres, who dedicated his life to making birria, a goat or mutton stew considered one of Jalisco’s most emblematic dishes, ran two restaurants, both called El Chololo, that are often recognised as the best birrierias in the state.

His death on February 16 provoked an outpouring of public grief, with both restaurants shutting down for three days of mourning. “All our clients were really sad. Many expressed their condolences and there were some who cried. People really cared for him,” Torres’ niece, María Josefina Caminos Torres, told me days later.

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Hugo Caminos with his late uncle Javier Torres Ruiz, better known as “El Chololo”.

Having served many Mexican officials over the years, Torres was also mourned in political circles. A host of politicians, including the Jalisco governor and the mayor of Guadalajara, the state capital, all tweeted their condolences to his family.

“He used to help a lot of people. If one of his regular clients lost a close family member, he would often help pay for the funeral,” noted his nephew, Hugo Israel Caminos Torres. “He also helped a lot of local merchants through a local labor union and he served two or three times as a municipal councilor.”

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Birria is served with consommé, frijoles topped with cheese and fresh, handmade corn tortillas.

Discussing his uncle’s legacy at the older El Chololo branch in Guadalajara’s working-class Tlaquepaque district, Caminos told me the closely guarded family recipe dates back approximately 100 years…

Click here to read this article in full at Munchies.

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