Taco Maria Perfects the Mexican American Brunch
Taco Maria, Orange County’s newest high-end Mexican American restaurant, combines traditional Mexican dishes with American classics.. Two weeks ago my partner and I indulged in the delectable brunch menu. Chef Carlos Salgado, who was recently nominated for a James Beard Foundation award, has crafted a brunch experience so exclusive – we made sure to get there one hour before opening to get the first table.
On the weekend Taco Maria offers a prefix three course menu with two choices. After ordering our mimosas we asked for one of everything!
For the first course we had molletes and a fresh fruit and yogurt parfait. Molletes are staple in Mexican American kitchens, who doesn’t love toasted birotes with a thin spread of refried beans and queso freso, plus a side of homemade huitlacoche butter. Yes, butter whipped with scarce Mexican truffle so hard to find that it gets made into a delicate butter. Taco Maria loves to use the whipped setting on their blender because the yogurt was also whipped into a perfect mousse topped with coconut poppyseed granola.
Next up were buttermilk pancakes and Anson Mills oatmeal. The pancakes were topped with blueberries and thyme map syrup – this earthy flavor balanced the sweetness of the pancakes. And you might be thinking why would I pay for someone to serve me oatmeal? But hear me out this hearty bowl of grains was unforgettable. Made with grains from Anson Mills, a South Carolina family farm know for their heirloom grains, the oatmeal was surrounded by vanilla milk and ember-roasted strawberry jam. Brunch has never tasted so deliciously healthy before. I would come back for the ember-roasted jam alone.
Finally, the Mexican staple breakfast dish – chilaquiles! We ended up getting two orders of these because we each wanted to enjoy the dish fully. And I’m so glad we did because they weren’t just regular chilaquiles. Taco Maria serves their chilaquiles in mole sauce – the sauce reserved for gods! The mole was dark, sweet and smoky. Topped with a sunny side up egg, pickled purple onions and scallions , I savored each bite and wiped the plate clean.
I loved how Taco Maria combined the tastes of Mexican foods with traditional American breakfast foods. Self-identifying as alta cocina or high kitchen, Taco Maria is out to prove Mexican food can be upscale. My heart and stomach were happy!