A Tip O' The Cocktail Shaker For Pepe, Mito and Their Brunch

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Photos by Andrea Grimes and Man O' The Hour
Pepe and/or Mito's huevos rancheros excellentos.
Trying to suss out ownership based on the many incarnations of the name of Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe online, on menus, and on the restaurant itself, is a copy editor's nightmare--is it Pepe's and Mito's? Pepes Y Mito's? Pepe and Mito's? To whom can we address our letters of thanks for their high-quality Tex-Mex? Are there many Pepes? Is Mito's always possessive? If only Pepe or Mito were around to tell us--not that we'd be able to hear them over the loud crunch of the chips and salsa we're unable to stop shoveling into our mouths every time we hit up the joint.

The Deep Ellum staple is one of those forgotten-then-remembered-then-forgotten treasures of my neighborhood. The kind of place I can't get enough of for weeks at a time, and then somehow abandon for months. But every time I return, Pepe and Mito (or whoever, howmanyever there are) serve up some of the finest enchiladas, fajitas and tortilla soup around. And praise the Virgen de Guadalupe, they serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Man O' The Hour and I were nursing serious post-celebratory party hangovers on Saturday morning (fun fact: we have the same birthday, is that not the grossest thing you have ever heard in your life?) and were in no position to be driving any farther than a few blocks from home--so to Pepe's it was, and oh, what an excellent choice it also was.

We started, naturally, with a couple of tangy, spicy Bloody Marys.
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Pepe and/or Mito's tangy Bloody Mary.
When you drink as many Bloody Marys as the MOTH and I do, it can sometimes feel like all their tomatoey deliciousness runs together in a muddled memory of spice and lime. But our Pepe's drinks were uniquely flavorful, tinged with a lemony whang and plenty of Tabasco sauce. Our waiter handmade them using disparate ingredients--especially refreshing considering we've had a number of lazily-mixed Zing Zangs as of late. I love Zing Zang, but even the same old delicious thing gets boring after a while.

I could've used more garnish, of course--a lime shouldn't be the beginning and end of the extras added to a 'Mary. I'll forgive them, though, because the rest of the meal was so well-spiced that I hardly noticed I didn't have much to munch on in my drink.

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Pepe and/or Mito's migas, deconstructed.
In fact, the MOTH was so hungrily pleased by his order of migas that he'd practically eaten half before I handed over my ancient iPhone camera to him for a photo--which is why his dish looks deliciously decrepit in this photo. The tortillas, he later told me, "were especially good, had the whole fresh, homemade thing going." His crunchy eggs were gone in a matter of minutes, and he was back to scooping up the restaurant's signature salsa in no time. You really can't put the stuff down.

I opted for the huevos rancheros, lightly fried eggs doused in a spicy red sauce, and they didn't even quibble with me when I asked for rice instead of beans. (Not only does rice photograph better than beans, it ... isn't beans. Which is the best part.) I love a nice, runny yolk with my brunch--it's why I adore an eggs Benedict--and Pepe's delivered with lots of yellowy goop to scoop up with my rice and salad. That's right, salad. The pile of lettuce and tortilla strips you see on our plates aren't just placeholders. They're actually slathered with  vinaigrette, which was a nice taste break from the spicy eggs.

The Pepe's/Pepes Y/And Mitos/Mito's brunch menu isn't extensive, but mainly consists of adding eggs to existing dishes like quesadillas. Still, it's served all day long on weekends, which is a blessing for late risers with limited pocketbooks. Our Bloody Marys were $6 apiece, reasonable for the handmade quality, and both dishes under $10. Best of all, there was no wait for an airy patio table at noon--not something that can easily be said for many other brunch places in town, many of which are a far lower quality than Pepe & Mito's.
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