Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chips and Salsa for Breakfast?

Works for me.

“Where do you recommend that we go for a good breakfast?” we asked one of our campground hosts. “Los Mariachis.” was the reply. Since the restaurant didn’t appear on nor did it appear on, we probably would never have found it. And we would have missed a great breakfast.

After yesterday’s sensory overload at La Posta, the décor at Los Mariachis was downright drab. Yes, the walls were painted a bright yellow. Yes, the walls were hung with colorful serapes and sombreros. Yes, there were a few photos of vaqueros. But nothing came close to the profusion of color at La Posta.

But, you can’t eat the decorations. What really matters is the quality of the food. This was the first time we have been presented with a basket of chips and a dish of salsa at breakfast, but it is a custom that I could make into a real habit. The salsa took us back to smoke-puffing-out-the-ears territory. It has a bright, vibrantly fresh flavor and, in addition to tomatoes, was full of onion, jalapenos, and cilantro. What a way to start the day.

From a breakfast menu that contains most of the usual suspects—Huevos Rancheros, Huevos Mexican, breakfast burritos, machaca and eggs, egg and meat combinations, and pancakes—I chose the Huevos Los Mariachis. You start by placing two soft corn tortillas on the plate. Then you add two eggs—in my case over easy. Then you add a generous portion of good peppery breakfast sausage cut into small cubes and smother this with chile. I went with the classic Christmas combination of both red and green chile. Then add some shredded cheese. Add large portions of very crisp hash browns and refried beans, and you may not need to eat again for the rest of the day. (Of course, I did eat again.)

There is nothing I enjoy more than piercing the yolk of an over easy egg and having all the yellow eggy goodness flow over the plate and mixing with the spicy chile. And let me tell you, both of these chiles were spicy. The red was the hotter of the two, had a velvety texture, and had a subtle smoky flavor. I am not usually a big fan of red, but this (along with Kountry Kitchen’s in Silver City, NM) could make me change my mind.

The green contained quarter-inch chunks of green chiles and the spice kind of creeps up on you. At first, your reaction is “This isn’t so hot.” Not long after, you want to take that statement back.

Chuck’s breakfast skillet was one of the day’s specials. It started with a layer of cubed home fries, which was covered with a layer of eggs, scrambled with bacon and pico de gallo, which, in turn, was covered with green chile. The soft eggs were balanced by the crisp, smoky bacon (and let me tell you, there was a lot of bacon) and the crisp home fries. My only complaint about his meal was the slightly overcooked eggs, which were somewhat dry. But the green chile did add some necessary moisture. And, yes, he also ate later in the day.

There is nothing better than spicy New Mexican food to get the day off to a good start, and I give Los Mariachis a 4.0 Addie rating.

Breaking News: On the labor front, Adler’s contract is up in June and she is demanding some additions to her present agreement. As you know, Adler, our persnickety foodie feline, who has given her name to the restaurant ratings—the Addie—has been an integral contributor to our travels.

She is furthermore threatening to sign on with CATS TV out of Silver City. We have countered with the statement that this is actually a Community Access Television station, but she just sniffs and walks away with her nose in the air. So far, the negotiations have been on amicable terms.

Agatha Christie (right), the matriarch of the group, rescued from under our neighbor’s porch, and O.R. Deal (below), rescued at one month of age when found hanging by one paw that had been caught between stack chairs in a locked storage cage in Hanford, CA, have opted for positions of neutrality—and positions for comfortable napping.

Lizzie Borden (left), seen here in a rare photograph, would not even pause to hear a question posed to her about her position on Adler’s request.

Addendum: We forgot to mention in yesterday’s entry that La Posta de Messilla is a restaurant listed on the “New Mexico Culinary Treasures Trail.”

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