Whew, after a week-long hiatus we’re back with a guest blog post by Eavan!
Brunch is a L.A. institution. Most neighborhoods are littered with brunch spots swarmed by crowds of disheveled, sunglasses-wearing hungover humans who line the sidewalk for their turn at a cure-all bloody Mary and omelet.
While we all can agree that breakfast standards like french toast, scrambles, and eggs benedict will remain at the top of the heap, L.A.’s Mexican influence really shines with its multiple takes on chilaquiles. This traditional Mexican dish has tons of variations, but they always include crispy tortillas, salsa and eggs. It’s the ultimate hangover cure and just plain delicious to boot. As a highly addictive brunch option, I have taken to ordering the dish all across town in search of the city’s finest renditions.
Cha Cha Cha ($8.95 and pictured above): My number one draft pick based on price, portion size and tastiness. Made with pink-ish colored tomatillo sauce and served with yellow rice, black beans, guac, creme fraiche and plantains, you really cannot beat cha3. Lots of chilaquiles suffer from soggy tortilla syndrome, but not here. Still crispy, with the eggs perfectly mixed into the dish. One portion is enough for two people. Avoid getting their coffee. It’s pretty awful, but cafecito organico a few blocks away passes the test.
Local ($13.00): Located on sunset less than one block from Silver Lake Blvd, Local is all about local, organic products. For that I respect it, but unlike say, Portland local, you pay a higher price tag for these ingredients. Here, for $13 you’re served a great plate of chilaquiles with either scrambled eggs or you can sub tofu. Instead of guacamole, fresh avocado garnishes the dish. It’s a tad lighter, and less spicy than Cha Cha Cha. It’s delicious in its own right and a great example of how varied this dish can be. The tofu option makes this vegetarian friendly, but not exactly vegan.
Luna Park ($13.00): Perhaps best known for their bottomless mimosa or sangria brunch special (only $13.50 to get daytime hammered), Luna Park’s chilaquiles were definitely up to snuff…from what I recall from my foggy champagne haze. They incorporate spinach into their dish and will happily use egg whites upon request for the scramblings. While I tend to dislike the soggy tortilla issue, with this dish I didn’t mind! It must be the healthy helpings of cheese, eggs, and the bottom layer of black beans helping to counterbalance all that salsa.
Keep in mind: Unlike an egg sandwich or a stack of pancakes, the look, taste, flavor and ingredients of chilaquiles can differ in all kinds of ways, from the preparation to the types of salsa. While it’s uncommon, some places do incorporate meat into their ‘quiles. If you’re veg, always confirm the lack of chickens and/or cows with your server.
Bonus tip(s): If you ever find yourself in Palm Springs craving a heap of eggy chippy goodness, try Kings Highway inside the Ace Hotel. The space was originally an old Denny’s so it’s got a great diner feel and a seriously good plate of ‘quiles for $9.
Photo via weipinghuang.blogspot.com.