Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Polvos - Migas, Do You Remember The First Time?

There was a time in my life when I knew nothing about Tex-Mex breakfast. I would say for the first twenty or so odd years of my life, when it came to that first glorious meal of the day it was almost always two eggs over medium, with home fires (well done, almost burnt even), toasted rye toast and a cup of regular coffee. Simple, American diner food, that served its purpose of substance, comfort and familiarity. Over the years I moved onto more sophisticated dishes, like eggs Florentine and biscuits and gravy with fried eggs, but never strayed very far from traditional Northern breakfast fare. Even after moving to Austin, I stuck with simple dishes like breakfast tacos made of eggs, cheese and beans. That was until I was shown the light and tasted what just might be the greatest breakfast dish of all times: Migas.

About two weeks before I moved back to New York, I headed over to Polvos, one of my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants, for my standard late morning meal of breakfast tacos, coffee and margaritas. As I geared up to order, one of my dining buddies asked me if I had ever tried Migas. I had never even heard of them, let alone tasted them, so I flipped my menu over to see what he was talking about. Migas (which roughly translates into “crumbs”) are scrambled eggs, mixed with bits of crispy tortilla, diced onions, sliced chili peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese, and served with rice, beans and your choice of freshly made tortillas. Ok, I thought, nothing special, but seeing how I only had a few weeks before I left town, I decided to try something new. When I ordered, my waiter suggested the café del olla, a sweet cinnamon, Mexican coffee, as a nice compliment to my Migas, and since I was feeling adventurous, I took his advice.

As most of you know by now, I eat a lot. I am rarely, if ever, completely blown away by a simple dish or drink. It’s usually an entire meal (like wd-50) or a dishso exceptional (like fresh gnocchi with shaved black truffles) that it makes me realize the incredible possibilities of ingredients, taste and presentation. Don’t get me wrong, I reveille in finding new and delicious approaches pizza, burgers and noodles, but it’s rarely every a mind-blowing taste explosion. So you can imagine my surprise when I was completely blown away by the most incredible egg dish (and coffee) I have ever tasted in my life.

Where to start? The eggs themselves were perfectly cooked, light and fluffy and a bright yellow. The contrasting consistency of the soft eggs, mixed with the crispy tortillas, peppers, onion and tomatoes did wonders on the tongue; while the melted cheese added an overall creamy lubrication. The best way to eat Migas was to fork a heaping pile into one of the soft tortillas and then smother is with beans, rice and chipotle salsa. Each bite was then washed down with a delicate gulp of café de ollo, a coffee so perfect that adding any milk or sugar would be a crime. With any self-control, it should take someone about twenty minutes to finish off an entire plate and two cups of coffee, but if you’re like me you’ll be licking your plate clean and ordering your third cup in an embarrassingly short ten.

During my trip to Austin last week I had Migas every day, because when it comes to Migas it’s not just about eating my favorite meal, it’s an addiction. Whether it was the Migas tacos at El Chilito, the Migas plate at El Arroyo, or the Migas enchiladas at Trudy’s, I consumed them non stop and in mass quantities. Because to me, as long as it was scrambled eggs, crispy tortillas, a Mexican medley of cooked veggies and melted cheese, it just didn’t matter how or where I got my fix.

Polvos is located at 2004 South First St in Austin, Texas.

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