La Mezcaleria opened to much fanfare due to its pedigree; it’s the third restaurant opened in the city by the team that created the simple yet powerful flavours of La Taqueria. I have to say, the fanfare is not only well deserved, it could blare even louder.
I first had lunch at La Mezcaleria with my sister and we nearly melted into a puddle over the guacamole; a hefty bowl of avocado heaven. When I saw brunch on the menu, I texted the Brunch Blog Boss and this trip was born.
I adore Mexican and Latin flavours. I could eat them every day. We have a better-than-expected-selection in Vancouver, but there still never seems to be enough options for me. After having lunch and brunch at La Mezcaleria, I don’t know if I feel that way anymore. There’s too much on the menu I want to try, and not enough time in the week to make it to Commercial Drive.
The Boss and I struggled to make a decision on what to order. One look at the menu, and we wanted to try it all. The Boss orders a Benny a lot when we’re out, so it made sense she order one here. It didn’t disappoint.
The Salmon Con Tequila is made with a house-made tequila and lime cured salmon and drizzled with a chipotle hollandaise. The salmon was gorgeous; a stunning deep red colour made possible with the nicely balanced cure. It folded nicely under the perfectly poached egg. The lemon flavour of the hollandaise hit you first, and then came the gentle sweet heat of chipotle. It’s understated and works perfectly with the hints of tequila and lime. The sign of a great meal is when the chef does little things to put the dish over the top. In the case of La Mezcaleria’s eggs benedict, it has to be the potatoes and the English muffin. I know, I’ve never written about an English muffin before, but here goes; they fried it in butter. Yes, you read that right, the crispiness was caused by a good old fashioned butter fry up on the flat top. It’s so wrong, it couldn’t be more right. Add in a deep fried potato that wasn’t greasy, but instead crispy and fluffy, and you’ve got a winner when it comes to details.
I had the Chilaquiles. I love Chilaquiles. I enjoy it every time I go to the Action on Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, California. I have them at Rudy’s Mexican Restaurant, a place that has come to feel like home. So, yes, La Mezcaleria was competing with a memory of comfort food and that makes my appreciation of them even more impressive.
Chilaquiles is made the traditional way here; house-made tortilla chips smothered in the sauce of your choice, topped with crema, queso fresco, sliced white onion, and beans. You get a choice of salsas and I chose the salsa roja, a deeply rich tomato based salsa heavily peppered by Serrano peppers. The sauce makes the dish. It’s over-the-top-fantastic. It’s the kind of salsa I just want to smother on everything I order for the rest of my life. My only disappointment was that it came with a friend egg on top. I’m used to the tortilla chips folded in with scrambled eggs; not traditional but I love it. Does it matter? As I type this review all I can think about is going back to La Mezcaleria for more, so clearly the answer to that question is, no.
We also ordered a side dish. What is breakfast without pork belly? The pork comes in little bite sized chunks, dry, not fatty, and coated in a dry spice rub. Dip them in the three house sauces they deliver to the table and it’s pork belly heaven. My favourite was the pork belly with the chipotle sauce.
What else do I want to order off the La Mezcaleria brunch menu; pretty much everything. The Huevos Rancheros looked outstanding as it passed by. I wanted to reach over with my fork for a quick sampling.
When the Alambre Vegetarian was delivered to the table next to us, I wanted to take the fourth empty seat at the table and dig in. I wasn’t afraid of insulting the Boss because, from the look on her face, she was considering the same option. The dish is delivered in a volcanic rock bowl sizzling with a concoction of kale, mushrooms and green bell peppers sautéed with white onions, garlic, epazote, and mixed with melted cheese. It’s served with fresh limes, cilantro, onions and a side of corn tortillas.
I should mention La Mezcaleria has the largest selection of Mezcal in Canada. If hair of the dog is in the cards for you, then this is the place for something unique that will welcome the morning in with fireworks.
La Mezcaleria is the kind of restaurant we love at Brunchcouver; local ingredients treated with a great deal of respect and packing a flavour punch that will banish the last remnants of the Sandman (mythical creature, not hotel chain) and get you ready for a day wandering the sea wall or shopping on the Drive.
La Mezcaleria might be one of my favourite new brunch options. If you’ve had a spicy Saturday night, then why not make your Sunday a worthy companion.
Movie Recommendation: The Matador (2005). Greg Kinnear meets Pierce Brosnan in a Mexican Hotel Bar. The problem is, Pierce is a burnt out hit man, and Greg is a man with very bad luck. It’s quirky, and fun, and like brunch at La Mezcaleria, never dull.
1622 Commerical Dr
Open from 9 am for Brunch Saturdays and Sundays
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and avid foodie. You can find her on twitter @chat2michelle.