Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pachanga Patterson

Brunch: I sort of don't get it. In my world, eggs and pancakes are meant to be eaten before 10 am, and booze is not consumed until at least 6 pm. (OK, maybe 5 pm on a Friday.) So the idea of combining these things in a single meal around noon just never made sense to me. One Bloody Mary and I'm ready for a nap. (Not to worry, Astorians: Mark Killian and his Brunch Bunch cover this meal nicely.)

So when I found myself entertaining two hungry relatives  we'll call them the Jersey Girl and the Upper West Sider late on a Sunday morning, I faced a new challenge: where to get really good brunch just a few blocks from home. We chose Pachanga Patterson (a mouthful of a name I will hereafter refer to as P2).

P2 has a lot to recommend it: out-of-the-ordinary Mexican fare, local ingredients, and creepy Day of the Dead artwork, to name a few. When Dr. Science and I went there for dinner, we liked the ambiance a bit better than the food, but found it a nice addition to the stretch of restaurants (Bareburger, Il Bambino, Zenon Taverna, etc.) along 31st Ave.

Three, count 'em, three!

We started out with chips and three kinds of salsa. (Hey, when it comes to exciting dips, why stop at one?) All were excellent.

For my main course I got the gorditas, thick corn cakes topped with poached eggs. (These normally come with chorizo, but the chef is amenable to leaving the pork off the plate.) The cakes were on the dry side but the eggs were cooked the way I like 'em: runny but not overly so.

Gorditas (sin chorizo)

Dr. Science ordered the Veggie Jenga: fried eggs over beans, avocado, and mashed sweet potatoes, with a tostada buried underneath. It wasn't the tower of block-shaped food we had hoped for, but it tasted great.

Veggie Jenga


The Jersey Girl played it safe with a plate of scrambled eggs, Mexican style, cooked with tomatoes and peppers and served with flour tortillas instead of toast. The Upper West Sider went rogue and ordered some sort of chicken dish (not pictured).

 ¡Endiabladamente buena!
All the dishes were pleasant enough, but dessert was the real winner of the meal. As we were all stuffed with brunchy goodness, we split the El Diablito. It's the
evil twin of the celebrated Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Cristo served at Vesta, Pachanga Patterson's sister restaurant. Forgive me, Baby Jesus, but I liked the little devil's cake, with its dash of chili heat, even better.

Perhaps because the Jersey Girl is a minor, we skipped the alcoholic beverages and went instead for P2's excellent coffee.

On weekend mornings, you'll usually find me with the early crew at Sanford's, scarfing down my home fries before the hordes arrive. But the next time I need some salsa to ward off the Sunday afternoon blues, I'll know where to go.

Pachanga Patterson
33–17 31st Ave.

  Veg friendliness
Food quality