Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taco Ole (Rio Grande Valley)

2620 W. Freddy Gonzalez, Edinburg, Tx.
Last week I spent Thanksgiving with family in the Rio Grande
Valley. When Sunday rolled around, I thought of maybe taking a week off from my Sunday brunch....couldn't do it! So I found myself visiting one of my favorite spots for Mexican food in Edinburg, TX:  Taco Ole.

Taco Ole, is one of the reasons I miss The Valley. Authentic Mexican food made from scratch - hand rolled tortillas, caldos, enchiladas, and of course my top can't-find-this-in-Austin favorite....the botana. But that's another story for another time. Today, BREAKFAST. So the girlfriend, her parents, and I decided to see what their menu had in store. I immediately set my eyes on the chicken fried steak plate. My girlfriend, as some of you may know by now, is a migas fanatic. So migas for her, and her parents as well.

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs Plate

As soon as our plates arrived, I was in love. My plate consisted of a good sized chicken fried steak with country gravy, two eggs, hashbrowns and my texas toast. And let me tell you, it was a proper meal! My chicken fried steak was seasoned and breaded just right. And their country gravy was perfect, not to thin, not to thick.  The migas plates on the table were legit as well. All were the same, except my girlfriend chose yellow american cheese, her mom went with the queso blanco. Excellent choice! All the plates were awesome and the service was excellent.

Migas a la Mexicana 

Besides a delicious breakfast menu, Taco Ole has a regular menu with all the mexican dishes you can think of, but too many to list here. They also have three other locations - two in Sharyland and another in Mission. So if you find yourself down in South Texas, stop by Taco Ole and tell them The Brunching Bloke sent you. I guarantee you'll love it!

Migas a la Mexicana (queso blanco)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


1816 South Lamar, Austin
I love South Austin. The food, the people, the vibe. So today I thought I'd take a trip down past the river for some brunch. After some deliberating, the girlfriend and I decided on Sazon on South Lamar. This wasn't our first visit, I had their dinner once and was pretty impressed, so thought I'd give the breakfast a try.

Sazon has a small breakfast menu featuring some standard Mexican dishes as well as some more adventurous ones. I had the Envuelto De Huitlacoche, which is an omelet with queso fresco and corn truffle. For those who don't know, corn truffle is basically a fungus that grows on corn. While most american farmers hate the thing, it is considered a delicacy in Mexico and other parts of the world. Personally, I'm not a fungus type of guy, I really don't do mushrooms - but I thought I'd give this dish a try. The plate came with my choice of beans and a side of potatoes.  My girlfriend had the migas, a standard dish at any Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant, but I was curious to see what Sazon would do with them.
Envuelto De Huitlacoche
My dish arrived and it looked appealing to the eye. But after taking a bite I realized one thing...I just couldn't get past the taste of the truffles. The omelet was prepared well and the queso fresco was excellent. And I gotta give Sazon kudos for using fresh ingredients, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I also felt that the omelet could of used a little more queso fresco and less truffles. But then again I'm a huge cheese fan and that's just a matter of opinion. I really did enjoy the side of refried black beans and the breakfast potatoes were also pretty good served with sauteed onions. I do have to say that while my truffle eating experience wasn't a great one, my girlfriend enjoyed taking them off my plate and adding them to her migas. Which gets me to her plate. Now I enjoy a good plate of migas, but I have to say I wasn't too impressed with Sazon's version. Again, the ingredients were fresh - diced veggies and corn tortilla chips, and it's really hard to mess up a plate of migas. But at the end I have to say they were just ok. Definitely not the best I've tried, but not the worst either.
Overall, the service was good and I'd like to visit again and try some of their more adventurous dinner items. But I think I'll pass on the breakfast.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Papi Tino's

1306 E. Sixth Street, Austin
Today I decided to hit up East Sixth Street for my weekly brunch spot - Papi Tino's to be exact. This place is a little hard to find, as the restaurant name is nowhere to be found outside. Look for an old white frame house, the address is posted on a small wooden sign hanging on a tree.

Papi Tino's is a really cool spot, and I'd say a cute place to take a first date for brunch or dinner and make a good impression. There's a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, or you can also order and eat at the bar. It was a nice day and all outdoor seating was full, so we found a table inside. A piano player banged out some tunes as we entered...very nice!

The waiter was prompt and quickly asked if it was our first visit (it was). He proceeded to tell us how Papi Tino's uses fresh and local ingredients and took our drink order. While most folks enjoy mimosas or a bloody mary with their brunch, I'm more of a michelada kind of guy. My girlfriend went with the mimosa with agua de fruta and I went with the michelada with a Pacifico cerveza, served on ice. I get laughs when I say I'm a connoisseur of things, but I'm dead serious when I tell you that I'm a connoisseur of micheladas. I've had them all over the state of Texas and Mexico, and let me tell you Papi Tino's makes a MEAN ONE! So if they are your thing, you must try them here.

The Brunch menu is simple but effective. A few egg dishes, chilaquiles, enchiladas (suizas, rojas, de mole) and ceviche of the day. I was here for one thing - the chilaquiles. A few days ago my girlfriend showed me a picture of them that someone shared on twitter. I was sold, hence the trip today! Papi Tino's serves a traditional take on chilaquiles, and offers them tossed in your choice of salsa verde or roja. They are served with their homemade tortilla chips, cheese, chicken and mexican cream. Both my girlfriend and I had the same thing in mind, so she went with the roja and I went with the verde. They were both great! The chips were crisp and tasty, and not soggy, which is a must for real chilaquiles. The cheese was nicely melted and the chicken was tender. The only thing I'd like to note is that the verde version is a little spicier than the roja, but if you don't mind a little extra heat, I'd choose the verde which is tomatillo based. Either way you can't go wrong, it's just a matter of preference.

Do yourself a favor and check out Papi Tino's. I'll be stopping by for dinner soon!

Chilaquiles with salsa verde

Chilaquiles with salsa roja and huevos

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Manny's Uptown Kitchen

9503 Research Blvd., Suite 650, Austin
Photo: Eater Austin
Let me begin by saying Manny's Uptown Kitchen does not disappoint! I've eaten at this spot twice before, but never tried their breakfast. Man, am I glad I did.

After carefully browsing through the extensive menu, I opted for the Uptown Hash, which is "two fried eggs atop a hash of corned beef, pastrami, onions, bell peppers, and pimento cheese" (I couldn't find the words to describe, so I had to rip it straight off their menu), served with two of their infamous potato cakes and toast. The girlfriend went with The Breakfast Bundle, which is two eggs any way, your choice of bacon (Applewood or pastrami), two potato cakes AND a short stack of flapjacks! Both of our dishes were excellent! And having her as my brunch partner every Sunday is great, as I get to eat off and review two!

Uptown Hash

I asked that my eggs be cooked hard (I don't do runny) and they got it right! The hash and veggies were seasoned and cooked to perfection and my potato cakes were great - not too soft, not too crispy. My girlfriend's plate looked great as well, and her Applewood bacon was super tasty. And to end our meal we shared her flapjacks topped with whipped butter and warm maple syrup. No matter what breakfast dish you order, make sure you get the potato cakes.

The Breakfast Bundle

Overall my experience was excellent, my only complaint was our waiter was missing in action most of our visit. He did refill my drink once without me asking, but was nowhere to be found when my girlfriend needed hers topped off. To his credit, this same server had waited our table on a previous visit and was on top of his game then, so it may have just been an off day for him. I suggest giving Manny's Uptown Kitchen a won't regret it!

The Brunching Bloke ready to grub!

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