Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Juan in a Million

2300 E Cesar Chavez Street
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 472-3872


Being a single woman, I find myself out late some weekends consuming a little too much and having a little too much fun. When you wake up the next morning, slightly hung over, in last night’s eyeliner, smelling of stale alcohol and cigarettes, with a furry feeling in your mouth, all you can do is take a hot shower and have a big hearty breakfast. When I lived in Illinois, after a late night, we’d go for corned beef hash with a side of bacon and sausage. You can never have too much meat and salt on Sunday morning. But when I moved to Texas, I discovered a wonderful, and previously undiscovered gem that most of the rest of the country has never experienced, Mexican Breakfast (cue the angelic music). I’m not talking breakfast tacos, or crappy juevos rancheros, I’m talking migas, eggs smothered in queso, chiles, refried beans, pan fried potatoes.. Sorry.. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

I’ve popped around town eating Mexican Breakfast at various taquerrias or other Latin eating establishments, but since I’ve moved back, I’ve discovered and become a regular Sunday morning patron of Juan in a Million. Now, Juan’s is way out on the east side of town. So if you’re scared by the colorful neighborhoods, you might want to stick with other places closer to downtown, but for the adventurous, Juan is a diamond in the rough. There’s a small parking lot, but I usually park in the street. Don’t worry, its broad daylight, you’re precious Death Cab for Cutie CDs will be fine. The outside of the building isn’t much to speak of, in fact, the inside of the building isn’t much to speak of either. There’s an indoor dining area, a side dining area, a huge covered patio, and a third indoor dining area attached to the other side of the patio. In other words, there is a ton of seating, and every time I’ve been there, I’ve had to wait. This place is always packed. I usually opt for the patio if it looks like I can edge someone out of a table, but the inside’s not bad either.

Now onto the food. The migas are good. Typical fluffy eggs, tomatoes, onions and tortilla strips with some cheese. It comes with a side of decent beans and potatoes. Not the best I’ve ever had, but when you’re hung over, they taste FABULOUS. I’ve also had the "DON JUAN" - El Taco Grande. It’s a huuuuge breakfast taco with eggs, potatoes, cheese, and bacon wrapped in a perfectly toasted tortilla. When covered in sour cream and guacamole the Don Juan becomes a filling and tasty way to start off the day. One will do you, unless you’ve got a huge appetite, then I’d suggest 2. But what keeps me coming back to Juan, is the Con Queso Breakfast. To me, this is the quintessential Mexican breakfast. Two scrambled eggs covered in queso with a side of carne guisada (don’t tell me what’s in it, I don’t want to know), and the same decent beans and potatoes. I don’t know what it is about the Con Queso breakfast that continues to lure me in. The queso, carne guisada, beans, and potatoes all taken separately are all decent but nothing special. Combined together, their harmonic frequencies of goodness combine together to make one super powered, hang-over curing breakfast that is hard to pass up.

Laura's note: I agree, a great Mexican Breakfast. Definitely a hangover cure for someone who doesn't have much planned for the rest of the day - you will be so full and heavy you won't feel like moving very much after the experience. The margaritas are ok, not spectacular. The location is not nearly as bad as Mariah made it out to be. Oh yeah, and they've expanded in the past couple of years and have a patio. But still, on Saturday and Sunday early afternoons you might be waiting quite a while with a load of UT students and Austinites who also participated in general weekend debauchery and are in "the know." If you aren't into waiting in lines or debauchery, try them out on a weeknight. They do casual lunch/dinner as well as breakfast. Laura - 8.5

Bottom Line: Awesome Mexican Breakfast

Mariah - 10 (In honor of Murphy - You rock!)