Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mexican/French Food? Yes Please!

Anepalco's Cafe
3737 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868

Nothing gets me out of bed quicker than a good Mexican breakfast. Breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, and chilaquiles. I love them all, and will even go without sleep for them, and I love to sleep! When we finally made plans to make it up to Anepalco's Cafe, I was up and ready almost before sunrise, that's how excited I was.

Anepalco's Cafe is not your typical Mexican breakfast place. Sure they have the usual Mexican breakfast staples, but they are a little different. Anepalco's is a fusion restaurant of Mexican and French food. I have not come across too many of these types of restaurants, so I was excited to see what they had in store for us.

This is the second location of Anepalco's. Their first location is also located in Orange, on Main Street. That location is only open for breakfast and lunch. This new location that we went to is open for brunch and dinner. It is located conveniently right at the corner of Chapman and State College, adjoining the Ayres Hotel. They have been in this location for two months now.

We got to the restaurant right at 11am. We were one of three tables at 11, but during our visit the place was filling up, and there was plenty of people out on the patio in the front of the restaurant when we left. Inside the restaurant there are about thirty or so tables. The decor is nice, and understated. Dominated by dark woods and browns. By this point I was hungry, so lets see if the food lives up to its billing.

This colorful plate was Katie's selection for brunch, the Huevos Divorciados ($9.70). Hope this selection was not a secret sign about our relationship. Anyways, this plate had a little bit of everything included. Tortillas, ham, eggs, bacon, red onion, avocado, cotija cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, along with two sauces, red and green. When I pressed Katie as to which sauce she liked better, she could not choose. She did say that these sauces worked well together though. She was also impressed with the way the eggs were cooked here. She did mention that this did have temperature issues, but not enough that she would have sent it back.

This is probably the menu item that has put Anepalco's on the map, so it definitely deserves two pictures. The Anepalco's Chilaquiles ($8.60) was going to be what I was going to order, but my Mom beat me to the punch. This is not like any chilaquiles I have ever had. All of the basic ingredients are here, tortilla chips, eggs, red sauce, cotija cheese, sour cream, avocado mousse, and pico de gallo, but they are presented in a way that makes this a most unusual chilaquiles. I did get to have half of this, thanks Mom! I thought the red sauce was not as overpowering as it can be in some other versions of this dish. I like a runny egg a little more than scrambled, but this egg was light and cooked perfectly. This was not served hot, but maybe lukewarm, it could have been hotter. What really stood out for me on this was the avocado mousse. Wow! Very light, and one of the best ways I have ever had an avocado. If this had been my plate, I would have asked for a side of this mousse, and eaten it with a spoon. It was that good. I can see why this is Anepalco's signature item.

My Dad also went the breakfast route with this Green Eggs Benedictos ($9.70). This twist on an eggs benedict included the usual poached eggs, but then it took a left turn with spinach, tomato, and pesto sauce, served on sliced ciabatta bread. My Dad thought this was very good, pleasant flavor, and light tasting. The only minor qualm he had with this was that the crust of the ciabatta was a little too crunchy, but he would not hesitate to get this again. This was served with some very good roasted potatoes.

Since everyone else was getting breakfast foods, I decided that I would get something off of the lunch area of the menu. The Carnitas Sandwich ($9.80) had my name written all over it. Shredded pork, chicharron, avocado, mixed greens, radish, chipotle ranch, and cilantro piled on ciabatta bread. This sandwich was a little more subtle than I thought it would be. None of the contents of the sandwich really stood out for me, besides the pork. The carnitas were juicy and flavored simply. I would have liked the chicharron or the chipotle ranch to be more prominent, but this was not the case. What did capture my attention here was the Cream of Parsley soup that was served alongside this sandwich. I was not expecting much from a soup that is made from a garnish, but this made me rethink that little sprig that my Uncle used to eat when we went out to dinner with him. The soup was creamy, full of muted flavor, and went down nice and easy. If this is one of their daily soups on a day you are eating here, do yourself a favor and order it.

I am thrilled to report that this place made me happy to get out of bed on a Sunday morning. The food really lived up to the hype that I had read on-line. I was not so excited by my carnitas sandwich, but everything else I tried was right on point. As you can see, prices were not even close to being bad at Anepalco's. The food presentation is also worth noting here. They really go out of their way to make the food look as appealing as it is delicious. We had great service the morning of our visit. The food did take a little long to get out, but that is probably just because we were one of the first tables of the day. Be advised that this location of Anepalco's opens for brunch from 11 to 2pm, then closes until dinner is served from 5:30 til 9. After this brunch, we are really looking forward to trying their dinner menu in the near future.

Out of five stethoscopes, (because this location of Anepalco's is located across the street from UCI Medical Center, and I am sure that many doctors eat here), five being best to zero being worst, Anepalco's Cafe gets 3.5 stethoscopes.

For more information on Anepalco's Cafe, click here:

Anepalco's Cafe (Inside Ayres Inn) on Urbanspoon


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