Loco Café on a Sunday was indeed very loco. And when a place has a line nearly out the door, I’m both annoyed and intrigued. (I’m horribly impatient.)
I immediately had to investigate this site of apparent breakfast seduction.
The ordering style is similar to Pei Wei’s: walk up to the counter, place your order, get a number. You can choose from breakfast and lunch, and judging by my early visit, breakfast was the choice of the hour.
Inside, it’s a modern look surrounded by classics like biscuits and gravy ($3.50) and migas ($6.50), a loose mixture of Southern and Mexican dishes.
If you’re going for Mexican, the huevos rancheros ($6.50) might fill you up, but nothing more: two eggs topped with a powerless salsa and tortilla crisps served with a side of black beans. The beans include peppers and cilantro bits, both bizarre additions to a side dish best left smooth.
Instead, try the tacos ($2). Unlike the huevos rancheros, they’ve got a real flavor profile. They’re hefty (with eggs) and you can pick from bacon, chorizo, or ham ($1 extra). The bacon taco is loaded and savory, but even better is the sweetly striking chorizo taco. (Chorizo: rarely fails.)
On the Southern side, Loco Café serves Johnnycakes ($4-$7), the predecessor to the pancake, made from cornmeal.
However, if you’re a hardcore pancake fan, you might flip at the gritty texture of the Johnnycakes. They’re definitely not as delicate, doughy, and sweet as the beloved pancake, but worth a try for the sake of frontier breakfast knowledge.
On the plus side, dishes like the Johnnycakes and tacos are also on the gluten-free menu.
The two items Loco Café boasts about on its website are the Loco Moco ($6.50) and the Loco biscuits ($2).
The Moco ($6.50) is a plate of hash browns topped with eggs and cheese, served with gravy (or salsa) and a biscuit. For being one of the prized stallions, the dish should be far more integrated – not just simply potatoes and eggs with cheese on top. The hash browns, soft, really should have a little crisp to them.
A much better option is the breakfast nachos ($6) plate: extra crispy tortilla chips topped with cheese, chorizo, eggs, and tangy pineapple pico.
But the main draw at Loco Café – the main reason for long lines – are the made-daily Loco biscuits.
Let me tell you about these biscuits: They’re a new take on something traditional – square and flaky, like a pastry. But they’re also doughy, really soft, yet crispy around the edges. They come in three flavors: butter, honey butter, and jalapeno. And although the flavors are mild, they simply enhance something that’s already done well.
We even ordered a dozen of them to go ($15). They made it home, and lasted a total of one day, evidenced by this overheard comment at home: “Man, who ate all the **** biscuits already?”
In Loco’s kitchen, the biscuits are the bullies, because it’s pretty obvious: they’re better than every other meal served at the café.
And as it turns out, I might just learn to be a little more patient for something like a Loco biscuit.