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Albany - Montero’s Café – East Bay’s best breakfast … the BEST

rworange | Dec 18, 200501:24 AM

There’s a shocker … a place that’s been universally panned on this board.

In January 2005, Montero’s redecorated and changed the menu. I noticed changes, stopped by once and asked if there were new owners. When told no, I left because of so many Chowhound warnings. WRONG MOVE !!!

There was a recent post about Casa Latina which, IMO, is the best panadria in the Bay Area. When that post mentioned the same people owned Montero’s Café and breakfast was served, it needed to be checked out.

Breakfast is half American with items like house made coffee cake, cinnamon buns, a lox scramble, cinnamon swirl French toast, and Montero’s original recipe pancakes with house made berry sauce.

Choosing from the Mexican side, Montero’s makes the best chilaquiles I have ever tried … ever … and I worked a year in Mexico City. This is the standard that all future orders of chilaquiles will be compared with.

Montero’s, like Casa Latina, uses top quality and often organic ingredients. House-made chorizo or grilled fajita skirt steak can be added for an extra $3 … this is highly and deliciously recommended.

Actually I’m not that fond of chilaquiles, but the sauce that came with it caught my eye.

For $6.75 a huge oval plate was filled with the chilaquiles and the best black beans. The house-made tortilla chips were still crunchy, slathered with the outstanding medium spice dark chile sauce, mixed with scrambled eggs, toothsome chorizo and sprinkled with queso fresco and jack cheese. As a garnish were three pieces of home fried potatoes, chipotle sour cream and cilantro pesto.

The perfectly fried Yukon gold potato pieces were lovingly browned, and, in places, charred. When paired with the smoky chipotle sour cream … heaven. In fact, as a side one of their home fries options that comes with melted cheese and the chipotle sour cream is called. ‘roasted potatoes in heaven’ …verdad, verdad … so true, so true.

The horchata served in an impressive heavy goblet, was in taste (not texture) like rice pudding in a glass – the rice flavor starring with the sugar and cinnamon supporting players.

Other Mexican dishes include a number of revueltas (scrambles)
- huevos revueltas con salsa negra has house-made dark cascabel sauce
- huevos con nopales (eggs scrambled with cactus)

The huevos rancheros come with chile ancho sauce.

Desayuno de Dona Frida is pork chile verde, two eggs, chilaquiles, choice of beans, pico de gallo and tortillas.

There are Mexican and American versions of three-egg omelets. The Mexican omelets come with beans and tortillas. The American omelets come with roasted potatoes, toast or corn cheese tortillas. ALL breakfast dishes, including the lox come with pico de gallo, chipotle sour cream and pesto cilantro. I could eat that chipotle sour cream straight.

Mexican omelets include:
- chile relleno omelet
- omelet Mexicana with chicken or beef machaca

American omelets include:
- cheese
- Denver
- avocado and salsa
- pastille chiles and cheese
- linguisa, chiles and cheddar

Prices are really good. The Mexican side runs from $6- $7.

The American side items are about $2 more but there are some good bargains like 2 scrambled eggs with potatoes and choice of pastry or toast for $5.50. One pancake with the house-made berry sauce can be ordered for $3.

Stylish rooms are painted in muted, darker primary colors of red,, yellow and blue. The ceilings are black. Different lighting fixtures in each area. Mine had five heavy iron star lights which glowed green, white, amber and red. The place is an homage to Frida Kalo, with excellent copies of many of her self portraits on the walls. There is a lovely patio out back.

This is a salsa club on the weekends and the music played was good salsa. It was a good level too, not annoyingly loud. The floors are tile and wood. The table I had looking out onto Solano Avenue was made of beautiful colored tiles. The club has a number of events. Check the calendar. Oddly enough, on the first Sunday of every month, there is belly dancing … who knows why?

The restaurant website has the lunch and dinner menu. A capsule revue from the Contra Costa times says not to miss the Hongos Mariachi (mushrooms sautéed with jalapeno) or the barbacoa (seasoned and oven-steamed lamb). A small plate of two barbacoa tacos is $2.75. There is a tamale of the day for $3.75.

The coffee is organic. There is Mexican hot chocolate, but I’ve had my quota for the hot chocolate season. That same Mexican chocolate is used for the chocolate Ibarra martini. Since it is a nightclub on the weekend, there are a lot of interesting drinks. I was considering the ‘Hay Mama” – rum, orange, grapefruit and pineapple juices with a float of brandy. It WAS breakfast … I needed juice.

There are five different kinds of margaritas. The margarita azul with blue curaco is calling my name.

A parking spot opened in front of the place, so I decided to rush in Montero’s Café and rush out to continue Christmas shopping. But like so many nice cafes in Mexico City with good food, good music and handsome surroundings, it invited me to linger and enjoy the morning … which I did … Christmas shopping … there’s still tomorrow.

Montero’s Cafe
1106 Solano Ave.
Albany, Ca 94706
(510) 524-1270\

Open Everyday 8am - 9pm

Link: http://www.monteroscafe.com/monteros_...

Image: http://www.monteroscafe.com/Monteros_...

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