Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chava’s Mexican Restaurant

"Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river." ~ Cordell Hull

(No official web-site.)

Place: Chava's Mexican Restaurant 
Location: 2839 Mission Street (between 24th and 25th Streets); phonicular contact: (415) 282-0283
Hours: open every day of the week at 8:00am (even on el Domingo de Resurrección[1])
Meal: Huevos Rancheros ~ three fried eggs with Ranchero sauce and cheese; and a large glass (mini-fishbowl really) of fresh squeezed orange juice

(Do I need to explain the EweToobular juxtaselection between this Sunday and this Bruce Springfield song?)

At one time (and for many years) I used to have Chava's Mexican Restaurant in my Breakfastary Starting Rotation (see last 'blog-entry from August 17th, 2013), but I only get "way over to la Misíon" seldom lately. 

There really isn't a separate "Desayuno" section on their menu but they do list nine "Huevos ~ Egg Dishes". I would normally order their most excellent Chilaquiles (which is my piedra de toque for this particular dish), but I felt like trying something different for a change. They also have a few other items that I can order and have and liked before: Huevos a la Mexicana (three scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, and bell peppers; which I just had on my last visit there); Huevos con Nopales (three eggs with cactus paddles; which I just had last month at Gallardo's ~ Mexican Restaurant[2]); and Torta de Huevo con Chile (egg omelette with hot sauce). 

All meals start with a bowl of corn chips and two kinds of salsas: a simple pico de gallo and a nice salsa roja picante. There are also bowls of fresh (usually Serrano or Jalapeño) and dried chillies on each table that you can use to spicen up your meal as you see fit; I normally go with two of the fresh Serrano chillies, but this morning I skipped any extras.

The meal was made with lots of nice ooey-melty cheese throughout, but their version of salsa ranchera was really not much to write home about. I ended up flavouring it up a bit (well, a lot) with generous spoonfulls of their very tasty salsa roja. As reductive as this may seem, there are many different versions of Huevos Rancheros (as there are Chilaquiles) and it usually varies from place to place depending on their own familial take on the dish. I have yet to have the exact same version of Pickameup (or as they say in Italiano "Tiramisù") in different restaurants, too.

The orange juice was not only freshly squeezed, it is fresh squeezed by the glass for everyone ordering it (I watched the waitress-server señora actually making mine). I really should have taken a picture of the mini-fishbowl so that you could get an idea of how big it actually was.

And, lastly, but definitely not leastly, la pièce de résistance (which I really have no idea how to say in Spanish… or French, even) is their fresh-made (as in just-made and hot of the grill) corn tortillas. I received two this morning in the little tortilla warm-keeper basket-thing. Two were more than enough for me with all the other food, but you can always request more if you have the appetite for it.

I really didn't bother to bring any of my own condimentary supplements with me (this makes two days in a row now) as I knew that the home-made salsas at Chava's were pretty decent on their own. (When was the last time you brought your own anthracite with you to that city upon Tyne?)

This is always an awful lot of food (but never a lot of awful food). I was planning on getting a cuppa Coffee and something for "breakfastary dessert" afterward at either one of the nearby panaderías mexicanas (there were two or three in the same block along Mission Street) or at Mission Pie (today's choices ranged from: Ginger Rhubarb Chess to Pear Blueberry to Shaker Lemon, as well as a few other nice ideas), which is just down the next block; however, Mission Pie wasn't about to open for another twenty minutes and the (almost) sunny morning had just turned into a smart drizzle (which later turned into a stupid, full-blown light-to-heavy rain on my drive home) while I was inside eating, so I didn't feel like waiting around for the rain to stop or my appetite to replenish. I ended up just making myself a cuppa Bettys Christmas Coffee (yes, I know it is already Easter, but Coffee knows no seasons; besides, I still have another unopened bag that was given to me at Christmas even) at home to enjoy while typing up (laptopping up?!?) this 'blog-entry and eating a Cadbury creme egg® with it.

Chava's Chilaquiles are still one of the best in the city and always worth una visita de regreso.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Huevos Rancheros ~ 6.2; home-made salsas ~ 7.0; home-made corn tortillas ~ 7.5; Bettys Christmas Coffee ~ 7.2

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

The word for "Easter" in many languages is the same as (or derived from) the word for "Passover".

Albanian ~ Pashkë
Basque ~ Pazko
Bulgarian/Russian/Ukrainian ~ Пасха
Danish/Norwegian ~ Påske
Dutch ~ Pasen
Esperanto ~ Paska (so, next time you are in downtown Esperant, you will know how to greet the native Esperantans for the Spring holidays)
Finish ~ Pääsiäinen 
French ~ Pâques
Greek ~ Πάσχα
Italian ~ Pasqua
Latin/Polish ~ Pascha
Portuguese ~ Páscoa
Romanian ~ Paști
Spanish ~ Pascua
Swedish ~ Påsk
Turkish ~ Paskalya
Uzbek ~ Pasxa
Welsh ~ Pasg

2. Coincidentally enough, Gallardo's ~ Mexican Restaurant is located in the same spot that Chava's used to be in many years ago before they had a fire there and moved on over to their current Mission Street location.

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