The latest food trend to hit the bay area,and soon the rest of the country, I suspect, is goat. In other parts of the world, such as Mexico, India, Spain and Jamaica, goat meat has been a long standing staple, but for some reason, it's only now catching on here. I’ve always been a huge fan of goat cheese, so it stands to reason that I would be equally as crazy about goat meat. Goat meat is sweeter and less gamey than lamb, with a deep earthy flavor that lends itself well to both savory and sweet, spicy and mild preparations. It is also lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than most other meats, and is also very high in protein. Goat meat raised in the U.S. is also pasture raised and free from hormones and steroids.

Local restaurants are adding goat to their menus with a variety of preparations such as spit roasted leg, slow cooked shoulder with curry, quickly seared and sliced buttery loin meat and tender braised shanks. I recently had the opportunity to buy a small, bone in goat shoulder at my neighborhood market, Bi-Rite, and decided to have a go at it at home. I decided to cook the shoulder long and slow with Moroccan spices, prunes and chick peas. The already sweet meat stood up beautifully to the spices, while the prunes and chick peas, and a sprinkling of toasted almonds and fresh chopped parsley before serving, really made the dish soar.

So the next time you have a hankering for red meat, do a bit of research and see which restaurants in your area are featuring goat, or which butchers are selling it. I'm guessing you will be as pleasantly surprised by the flavor as I was, and once you sample your first taste, you'll also find yourself looking for goat on the menu wherever you go.