Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rustika Cafe & Bakery

   This little taste of breakfast heaven is found at  in a little strip mall next to US-59.  My wife and I have been coming here pretty much since the place opened and we have never been let down.  Rustika's menu includes lunch and breakfast as well as a wide variety of baked goods.  That being said, my wife and I love to go there for breakfast or brunch.  On numerous occasions we have taken guests or out of towners.  The breakfast menu is quite varied and borrows influences from Latin America as well as Europe.  In fact you will probably recognize a couple of Mexican breakfast classics such as migas or huevos rancheros

   Before I start talking about the food I also want to point out that Rustika is indeed a bakery.  It is not just in the name for show.  Chef Francis is quite the baker.  Her creations just look exquisite. She has a number of catalogs to show off her cakes. The store itself has cases to display cookies, already prepared cakes and pastries.  The savory empanadas are especially tasty, my favorite being the chicken mole.



   So, onto the food.  Choosing what to eat here is never easy.  Just when I think I have narrowed it down to a couple of choices, something else catches my eye.  And to complicate things, Rustika usually has some kind of special.  In fact two of my favorites started off as specials before being added permanently to the menu. The two items in question were the BP omelet and the Ike omelet.  The BP omelet was named after the BP oil spill in the gulf.  It encompasses scrambled eggs topped with hash browns and mole.   The Ike omelet is named after Hurricane Ike and it is all the omelet ingredients scrambled together in a big mess.

   On this occasion both my wife and I stepped out of comfort zones, so to speak.  We both ordered something new.  My wife ordered the Nutella and strawberry crepes.  I ordered the chilaquiles, which were a special menu item.    

   The Nutella crepes my wife order were very luscious.  They had a great flavor.  The crepes were light, fluffy and thin.  The strawberries were fresh, crisp, with just the right amount of tang.  My wife's only objection was that the crepes were almost a bit too rich, having gone over on the Nutella just a bit.  But hey, if you love the Nutella, you will love these crepes.

  The chilaquiles I ordered were superb.  I ordered them with the green salsa instead of the red.  They also included a side of black beans and I ordered an additional side of scrambled eggs.  The eggs were great.  They were seasoned well and had a pillowy, almost gossamer, texture to them.  The black beans were cooked to perfection.  They were soft, not mushy, yet firm, not hard, and were seasoned just right.  The chilaquiles were amazing.  They had a nice tangy flavor as is to be expected form a green sauce.  It had some nice spiciness to it that was not all that immediate. It sort of built up on your tongue and palate lingering with a pleasant heat. Another great quality about the chilaquiles was that they did not end up as one big clump of tortilla.  You see, when cooking chilaquiles, you take your tortillas that have been cut and fried and saute them in the sauce.  This usually lends to the chilaquiles ending up as one big mass.  These were layered and you could separate the individual tortilla pieces.  The whole thing was topped with a dollop of sour cream, fresh diced onion, and some queso fresco.

   To round out our breakfast, my wife and I both ordered coffee.  The coffee at Rustika is self served.  They usually have three or four varieties to choose from and you can fix the coffee however you'd like.  If you don't want to make your own coffee, I would recommend ordering the Cafe Cubano.  It is a little more expensive and you don't get a free refill, but it is worth it.  The coffee on this morning however was a bit of a let down however.  The reason why is because the coffee itself was a little on the cool side.  I suspect the coffee had not be heavily rotated since we had gone on a weekday when it was not quite so busy.  Other than that. the coffee was just fine.

  So if you ever find yourself looking for a place for breakfast or brunch, I would recommend Rustika Cafe and Bakery.

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