Huevos con chorizo at Teotihuacan.

Teotihuacan isn't just a neighborhood Tex-Mex restaurant. It's a diner, in every sense of the word. From the surly waitresses to the diner coffee served in squat, brown, ceramic mugs; from the plastic booths that squeak when you bounce into them to the down-home meals served in large portions for very little cash; from its roadside location across the street from a bus depot to the melting pot of faces you see in the mornings.

Mexican breakfast is an institution in Houston, perfected in places like Teotihuacan, La Guadalupana, Gorditas Aguascalientes, and La Mexicana. It's what you seek when you just know that revival and sustenance will not be found in a plate of pancakes, or in plain scrambled eggs that aren't topped with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and salsa. It's for days when you need fatty refried beans, lard-laden tortillas, and ample portions of chorizo oozing bright orange grease from the end of a taco. It's for mornings when only menudo will calm the tempest in your stomach, and only cafe de olla will calm the pounding in your head.

Teotihuacan doesn't have cafe de olla, unfortunately, but it's got everything else—including steak and eggs, Mexican-style. That's one of the dishes I split with a friend this past Saturday morning to jump start our Labor Day weekend. You'll find it on the back page of the two-sided breakfast menu, where the plate costs $8.99 and comes with fajita steak and onions, beans, roasted potatoes, a tamale filled with nopalitos, two fresh flour tortillas, and three eggs al gusto.

Al gusto just means "your choice," and Teotihuacan doesn't mean simply overeasy or scrambled. Yes, those are options, but you can also get your eggs ranchero-style (topped with salsa) or a la Mexicana (scrambled with peppers, onions, and tomatoes). The restaurant doesn't even charge extra for these options; that's service.

I always stick with the huevos con chorizo plate, which scrambles three eggs together with pork sausage, and then serves them with the standard Teotihuacan array of beans, roasted potatoes, a nopales-stuffed tamale, and two flour tortillas along with your choice of sausage links, pan sausage, ham, or bacon—all for only $5.99. I use the beans, eggs, and tortillas to build two breakfast tacos, liberally spread with green salsa, saving the tamale and its barely sweet masa for last. I admit to ignoring the potatoes altogether, as Teotihuacan has an odd predilection for covering them with rosemary.

Every diner has its quirks, though, with Teotihuacan as no exception—and that's just the way I like it. Especially when the surly waitress is refilling that squat brown mug with bottomless diner coffee.

 

 

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