|Morning powered by COFFEE - photo by Wasabi Prime|
I have several friends who believe breakfast is truly the perfect meal, and I'm inclined to go with that sentiment. It's the one meal where you have the option to go sweet or savory, and the ingredients are fairly consistent, so it's never a surprise over what you'll get. Plus when it comes to brunch, who doesn't love an excuse to tie one on before noon with a mimosa or a bloody mary? Barrio's take on brunch is a nice change from the typical eggs, toast, and hash, offering Mexican influenced dishes that still work with what El Norte Americano expectations for breakfast would be. Their brunch menu isn't too different from their regular menu, offering things like enchiladas and an egg-topped version of their chilaquiles, but they also offer a Mexican style French toast, and a chorizo bacon and egg torta, a hearty panini-like sandwich. Even their more standard breakfast fare like steak and eggs or biscuits and gravy still have a South of the Border twist, adding chiles and spices.
|Brunch at Barrio - the right way to start the day. Photos by Wasabi Prime|
The Barrio brunch experience was om-nom-nom-approved, combining savory, slow-cooked, rich flavors, anointed with the crown of fried eggy goodness. I was so pleased with the pork and chiliquiles experience of Barrio, that I knew I needed to capture this edible lightning in a bottle. ZAP!
I took a cue from a night when we made tacos -- let's face it, you always wind up with more tortillas than you need. Chilaquiles is the ideal dish for this situation. Traditionally they are cut into wedges, fried, and then tossed with a red enchilada sauce. They're served with some queso fresco and chopped meat, a great dish to incorporate the odd leftover bits hanging about. The tacos we had were pretty simple -- pork seasoned with adobo powder, seared and sliced thin, layered on a small corn tortilla with some sliced radish, fresh cilantro, and a dash of lime. The remaining ingredients from this meal worked perfectly for the at-home version of Barrio's chilaquiles inspiration dish.
|Tacos are the first step towards chilaquiles - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
This had UnRecipe written all over it -- extra stuff loitering in the fridge, no clear recipe to start from, and memories of a tasty brunch still lingering in my head. Well, it was either UnRecipe or Big Hot Mess, but I remained optimistic and just threw things together, hoping for the best. I'm not a fan of frying, what with the ozone layer of grease that inevitably gets left in the kitchen, so I chopped a dozen or so small corn tortillas up into little triangles, drizzled with canola oil, and baked them in the oven. Once they were browned and crispy, they were tossed and coated with a store-bought can of enchilada sauce. Certainly nowhere near the roasted richness of Barrio's sauce, I was just stricken with a wicked case of Instant Gratification.
Chopped bits of the adobo pork were mixed in, a sprinkling of sliced fresh radish and crumbled cheese were added, and a hefty showering of fresh cilantro. I made up a parody version of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" and kept mumbling, "If you liked it, then you shoulda put an egg on it," while I fried an egg and placed it atop the towering mountain of saucy tortillas. Is that too much crazy information about how my mind wanders when I cook? Maybe, but I thought it was a pretty funny song. I promise I wasn't dancing around the kitchen with any hot skillets.
|Chilaquiles speak the universal language of leftovers - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Chilaquiles the Wasabi Way was a delicious, too-impatient-to-go-out dish that would easily work as a dinner option. The baked tortillas soaked up the sauce nicely, and the mix of fresh raw vegetables and herbs mixed with the cooked ingredients made for a satisfying mix of textures and flavors. This was a pleasant way of finding a balance between going out to eat and staying in, plus another resourceful way of using up everything in the refrigerator, since I'm such a weird freak about not letting anything go to waste.