Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend washout, but very good brunch downtown

Well, Friday and Saturday were kind of a wash as far as cooking goes. Friday night we had a million social plans and ended up staying home instead and ordering noodles from Urban Noodle, an okay place. Their vegetable soup noodles are really good, mostly because they have an excellent gingery broth. I had the chinese seafood noodles which I remembered as being really good but were actually only okay. Saturday morning I had a street food craving and we wandered over toward Santee Alley in search of pupusas. We were going to get a slice of true New York Pizza at 9th Street Pizza, little pizza by the slice place run by an ex-pat New Yorker in the fashion district. Then we were planning to get a couple of lovely cheesey pupusas. But we passed by a restaurant we had never noticed before called Tiara Cafe, and when they told us they had dollar mimosas we decided to go there instead.

The place was totally empty, but the menu sounded interesting and you can't beat dollar mimosas. It actually turned out to be delicious! We shared an order of cheesy grits with mustard greens, poached eggs, and sundried tomato sauce with and an order of vegan chilaquiles. The grits were awesome, almost fluffy and with the cheese nicely integrated. The vegan chilequiles were with a yellow sauce which was called habanero sauce on the menu. It was very yummy but not hot which makes me skeptical about how much habanero was in it. The chips were good and thick, and there was silken tofu in the dish too. Personally I like my chilequiles swimming in sauce and there was only enough to coat the chips in this dish, but it was very tasty. We each had three dollar mimosas which were surprisingly strong. For $25 for both of us, it was a pretty good deal!

Saturday night was a bring-your-own dinner Purim party at our synagogue, so we got burritos from Coronado's, a new Mexican place on 5th street we've been wanting to try. With Mas Malo and Border Grill in the neighborhood, it's easy to spend a lot of money when we have a craving for Mexican food. Coronado's is an inexpensive restaurant that according to yelp has great carne asada. Apparently they have a popular place in the San Gabriel Valley. As much as I wanted to try that carne asada, I was trying to be good so I got a calabacitas burrito (Mexican back squash, which is a zucchini type squash) and I got a chile relleno burrito for Gretchen. While I was waiting I tried their margarita. I'm pretty picky about margaritas and I think it's a sin not to use fresh lime juice, but they had a trick up their sleeve at Coronado's. They used some kind of bottled lime juice but it was better than Rose's lime juice, which lots of bars use. And then they squeezed some fresh lime in as well. When they shook it up, it had that little bit of frothiness that a margarita made with fresh lime juice has. It was an okay margarita.

The calabacitas burrito was really good. It was filled with tender chunks of Mexican zucchini and grilled onions, and the refried beans were very tasty. Gretchen liked the chile relleno burrito and said it tasted fresh and wasn't as heavy as chile rellenos can be. We'll be back to Coronado's.

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