Mexican Omelet with a side of bacon

The King of Bacon

Mexico

This week I decided to combine both my Saturday breakfast out with a blog relevant restaurant, Taqueria El Rey. El Rey (The King in English if you didn’t know) is a Mexican place that, as of this blog posting, recently started offering breakfast on the weekend.

The seating area is spacious and I was the only one there so social distancing was pretty easy. I was surprised to get chips for breakfast but I rolled with it.

I didn’t get any salsa and that had me confused until I saw the server, Madeline, distributing ladles at the Salsa bar. Yes, you heard me, the Salsa bar.

In addition to a lot of options they have a heat score card atop the bar so you don’t pick something that will hurt you. I opted to try the spicy version of the salsa verde and the peanut salsa.

Both had some heat but weren’t too spicy. The peanut salsa was different. There was a peanut flavor but I found it a bit thin. Thankfully I only had time to try a few chips in each because my main dish was going to be a challenge to finish.

I asked which item was the most authentically Mexican on the menu and was directed to the Mexican omelet. Madeline confirmed my impression that most of the items were Mexican with a “twist”. I went with the suggestion and because there was no meat in the omelet got a side of bacon.

The picture doesn’t do the scale of this breakfast justice. The omelet was at least a 3 egg omelet, filled with refried beans and mozzarella. It was topped with pico de gallo and sour cream with queso fresco blocks on the side. Talk about a filling breakfast and this has to be in the conversation. Presentation was nice and it tasted great. I could have foregone the bacon but I am so glad I didn’t. For one thing this side portion had to be at least 6 slices of the crispiest, least greasy bacon I’ve ever had. Ever. The title probably makes sense to you now. If you love crispy bacon it’s worth visiting just for the bacon. I had to take a break and read a few minutes to let it settle some before I could finish.

I enjoyed every bit of my experience at El Rey. Even the coffee mug was intriguing.

The inside of the mug was glazed as was the brown chocolate colored dripping around the rim. The decorative painting on the outside was also glazed but the clay was not so you could feel the texture of it. Very interesting.

It’s a shame there weren’t more people showing this place some love but at least there were more people pulling in as I was leaving. Maybe they were waiting on me to leave. If you’re in Augusta on a weekend and want something different for breakfast I’d recommend giving El Rey a shot. The fajita omelet and breakfast chimichangas sound like a reason to return.

Also check out the Tell Me More page for Mexico for some randomness.

Starting New With a Sunrise

It’s been a while since I posted anything new but life and relocations happen. I’m back in Augusta now after being gone for more than a decade. One thing that excited me about moving back was there would be a whole new set of restaurants to discover.

I decided to keep it simple for the first entry here while I search out the international restaurants. I opted for a good old American breakfast at the Sunrise Grill just up the street from my apartment. I’d eaten here before but it was many years ago so aside from the location I didn’t remember much about it.

Sunrise is in an older or shall we say well established shopping center that has seen facelifts over the years but you can tell it’s on the other side of prime. In spite of that when you walk in to the place it is bright, big and open. The wait staff was extremely friendly and masked up whenever they were interacting with customers. There was plenty of spacing out for social distancing.

I sat at the counter and I don’t think the next stool was quite 6 feet away but the capacity at the counter was cut down to half or less than what would be there in pre-pandemic times. Plus the only other person sitting at the counter sat at the other far end so we’d have needed walkie talkies or at the very least cup and strings to even communicate. OK maybe not that far away since I did hear him order fried bologna and eggs for his breakfast.

I kept my order simple with fried eggs, grits and sausage. Grit consistency is a good gauge for a southern restaurant, are they too soupy, too thick or just right. That attention to detail can tell you how they deal with the rest of the meal.

After ordering I had my meal in less time than it took me to open my Kindle app, sync it and read more than a page or two (no it’s not because I’m a slow reader). The grits passed muster, the eggs were fried up as ordered and the wheat toast was toasty. The sausage was a pleasant surprise because not only were there 3 patties instead of the 2 I’d grown accustomed to at most places now they had a bit of a spicy kick to them. Nice touch. The coffee was middle of the road, not strong, not weak, just hot, fresh and coffee flavored.

Overall it was a good start to discovery or re-discovery of my new old environs. Next week I’ll get the passport out and see what international culinary destination I can find.

Breakfast in Bern

Not-Switzerland

This weekend had me hauling the culinary passport to the northeast.  Ok it was North Carolina, the eastern part, but still northeast of Rock Hill.  The occasion was a family celebration with great home cooking and would have been worthy of a blog entry on its own but I forgot to get pictures of the food ’cause I was busy eating it.

After that great lunch I didn’t want to settle for some old fast food biscuit for breakfast on the way out of town.  I was in New Bern (named by the Swiss settlers for the Swiss capital and there’s a bear on the city symbol so there’s your connection with the title) and their downtown has a number of little restaurants and a few serve breakfast.  I chose Baker’s Kitchen on Middle St and I’m happy I did.

The restaurant is in an old storefront and they kept some of the brickwork exposed as you can see below around the second story windows and wall.  The cozy little corner they put me in was warm and homey as you can see from the shot over my shoulder in the second picture.

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They had a lot of standard breakfast fare but I found something you don’t find everywhere.  It was called Eggs in a Frame.  In the photo you can see they cut a hole in the bread and cook the egg in the cavity.  This I’ve seen before but these folks take the cutouts and make French toast from them.  I opted for sausage & their Dutch Potatoes for my meat and other starch.

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The egg / toast combo was good but it needed a bit more salt & pepper to suit me.  The Dutch potatoes turned out to be essentially hash brown casserole and unlike some places I’ve been where the casserole was obviously frozen and reheated this was hot and tasted fresh.  The sausage links were nice size links not those wee little brown and serve jobs.  They had a decent amount of sage and enough pepper to let you know it was there without making you sweat.  The French toast cutouts were sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar and came with a little tub of a melted butterlike substance to dunk or drown them in should you choose to.  I didn’t.

Overall it was a happy way to start the drive home and if you live in the area or are passing through I’d recommend giving them a try.