Chilaquiles, pronounced chil-a-KEE-les are a tried-and-truer hangover remedy you’ll be hard-pressed not to love. Translated as either “broken up old sombrero” or “herbs in a chili broth”, they’re a smart way to use up old corn tortillas as well as a hearty morning repast, and pretty easy to find throughout Sonoma County.
Despite being deadly simple to make, but hard to get just right — soft and crispy at the same time. Whether soaked overnight or given a quick spritz, the idea is to give stale corn tortillas a quick fry, then a leisurely bath in either salsa or mole until they’re pliable. Scramble in some eggs, top with cheese, sour cream, avocados and a side of beans and you’re fueled up for the day.
Most taquerias serve them for breakfast (and even into lunch), but snazzier spots are also getting in on the action. Here are some favorite places to find this Mexican morning treat. Prices range from $9 to $20, depending on what you add on.
Chilaquiles with some chef-inspired flair.
Viola Pastry Boutique: Salsa roja, strips of semi-soft but still crunchy tortillas, a fried egg, sour cream and slices of avocado are a hard-to-resist morning greeting. Readers named this version one of their favorites. 709 Village Court Santa Rosa, (707) 544-8830.
Jeffrey’s Hillside Cafe: Another reader favorite, the secret here is the sauce. Chef Madura does a blend of tomatillos, cilantro, chilies and garlic that hugs the fried tortilla strips. Eggs and beans are served on the side.2901 4th Street Santa Rosa, (707) 546-6317.
Zin Restaurant: A Liberty Farms duck leg is the star of this dressed-up dinner version of red sauced chilaquiles with Mexican cheese, $20. 344 Center Street Healdsburg, (707) 473-0946.
Gypsy Cafe: A bowl of eggs scrambled with tortilla strips, cheddar, red tomato chile sauce, avocado and cilantro pesto with toast. 162 North Main Street Sebastopol, (707) 861-3825.
Flavor Bistro: They’ve just started serving breakfast Wednesday through Sunday, and chilaquiles is on the menu with a zesty red sauce. 96 Old Courthouse Square Santa Rosa, (707) 573-9600.
More authentic Mexican versions of chilaquiles, made with traditional ingredients.
La Texanita: The chilaquiles that started a quest for great chilaquiles began at this unassuming Roseland eatery years ago. This authentic version is simple and straightforward, served with either red or green sauce. Go for the green and add some carnitas to really spice things up. (1667 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa).
Las Palmas: Readers raved about this real-deal version at one of Santa Rosa’s best Mexican taquerias. 415 Santa Rosa Avenue Santa Rosa, (707) 546-3091.
Agave: I’m a huge fan of the mole, made daily by Octavio Diaz’ Oaxacan mother in Healdsburg. Their version of chilaquiles comes with tasajo, thinly sliced grilled beef. 1063 Vine Street Healdsburg, (707) 433-2411.
El Molino Central: Everything here is done from scratch, including the stone-ground masa for the ultra-fresh tortillas. They’re thick and toothy, with a spicy roasted tomato and chipotle sauce, soft scrambled eggs and Rancho Gordo beans on the side. Chilaquiles “El Cardenal”, $10.50, available before 11a.m.
What’s your favorite place for chilaquiles?