Restaurants & Bars

Mexican Breakfast in Fresno--Report

alanstotle | Oct 11, 200605:54 AM     12

I’m starting a new threat on Mexican food breakfasts in Fresno; even though this thread overlaps two previous threads that deal with similar topics, some of the stuff I have to report is slightly off-topic of the other two threads:

On breakfast burritos in the Fresno area:

On huevos rancheros in the Fresno area:

CUCA’S RESTAURANT. Very extensive and impressive breakfast menu. Other sources frequently mention the captivating-sounding “huevos con wieners.” Breakfast available all the time.

Wife ordered migas. I don’t see migas on many menus in California, though I recall seeing it on a lot of menus in Texas. Migas is tortilla strips fried with veggies (at Cuca’s it was onion and some tomato thrown in there somewhere) and scrambled with eggs. The word “migas” is Spanish for “crumbs,” so I’m guessing that traditional migas might be a bunch of left-over material thrown into some scramble eggs for breakfast. I’ve seen some places in California call that chilaquiles, though chilaquiles is normally a bit different: tortilla strips or pieces fried in sauce (frequently red sauce, though green is not uncommon), sometimes slathered with cheese, with eggs on request. Cuca’s has chilaquiles, too, though we haven’t tried them yet.

Anyway, the migas at Cuca’s was made with actual tortilla strips (not corn chips, as some slacker places might do), and chunks of raw jalapeno pepper. Wife said they’d be better if they had some sauce and/or cheese on them. Next time we may try the chilaquiles instead.

I had the huevos rancheros. Chunky tomato ranchero sauce on top with long strips of onion and big chunks of bell pepper. Some huevos rancheros have a fresh-made sauce; others have a simmering-all-day sauce. This sauce tasted like the fresh-made variety. Eggs were definitely soft-cooked—perhaps sunny-side up.

Let’s take a minute and discuss the eggs in huevos rancheros. I prefer my eggs over-easy and a little more cooked than these were, but it seems to me that sunny-side up eggs (or slightly undercooked eggs) are the norm for huevos rancheros. (That is, at the places that don’t ask you how you want your eggs. Some places do ask, and I guess I need a name for that test of a restaurant, because the “They ask you how you want your eggs test” doesn’t have much of a ring to it.)

Sides included beans & potatoes. The beans were definitely flavored with spices but not spicy hot. The potatoes appeared to be lightly deep-fried; by themselves they were only okay but they were good when mixed in with the rest of my plate.

Prices seemed reasonable (though I can’t remember the specifics). Service was pretty slow, though they were very busy, and we were expecting slow services after reading some reviews and recommendations. Ambiance is cute and has a bit of an "I'm eating in Mexico" vibe (whatever that is).

Cuca’s Restaurant
936 E. Olive Ave. (between Van Ness & Wishon in the Tower District)
Fresno, CA 93728

JULIA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT. PolarBear has mentioned this place, and his BIL is right to rave; a definite winner here. I ordered huevos rancheros while my wife ordered chilaquiles. I was pleased to find the huevos (I was asked how I wanted them cooked) resting on a fried corn tortilla (instead of an uncooked tortilla) with a light amount of chunky, fresh-variety ranchero sauce on top. Going light on the sauce was wonderful since it allowed the taste of the eggs and tortillas to come through.

Beans on the side were delicious (probably pretty high on the “lardometer”). Potatoes were shaped like thick-cut French fries though they were not cooked to crispy on the outside like fries would be normally. Like the spuds at Cuca’s, they were not fabulous in and of themselves, but when combined with other foods on my plate were good. I suspect that those who don’t care for potatoes with their Mexican breakfast will not approve, though rest assured there weren’t many of the offending spuds on the plate. Corn tortillas brought on the side were store-bought variety, but that didn’t take away from the deliciousness of the plate as a whole.

Wife said the chilaquiles were yummy: crispy corn tortilla strips (not chips), tasty ranchero sauce (probably the same thing I had on my huevos rancheros), melted cheese, chunks of pepper, and scrambled eggs. They were served with beans, potatoes, and tortillas on the side.

Salsa brought to the table was a smooth, roasted hot sauce. Excellent heat. Excellent smoky taste.

Behind the cash register was a sign listing weekday (iirc) “to go” breakfasts available in small & large sizes. Most were breakfast burritos, though I believe they had other portable breakfast items listed as well.

On the way out the door I spied someone eating what was probably the chile colorado. It was the most beautiful color dark red I’ve ever seen on a plate of food. Can’t wait to try it on my next visit.

Service was fast. Prices very reasonable: wife and I had two breakfasts and two iced teas for less than $12.00 before tip. Ambiance was definitely budget: harsh lights and white walls; but somehow it seemed to fit; they focus on their food, not their decor. We'll definitely be back for more.

Julia’s Mexican Restaurant
2160 H Street (at Divisadero St.)
Fresno, CA 93721

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