Desayuno Con Nicolas
By Nick DekkerPublished March 1, 2012
When most people think of Mexican restaurants, they think of bright colors, Corona signs, cheap margaritas, and free chips and salsa. Thankfully, due to the efforts of food bloggers and writers around town, combined with a growing sense of exploration, Columbus is discovering more authentic Mexican eateries and trucks. We often save a visit to Mexican restaurants for a business lunch or drinks after work, but there are some tasty gems to be found if you’re willing to visit a little earlier in the day.
2200 E Dublin-Granville Rd.
Columbus’ taco truck culture has exploded in recent years. More trucks have cropped up around town, introducing Columbusites to a variety of styles from different regions around Mexico, Central America, and South America. One of the mainstays of taco truck culture is Taco Nazo, a bright yellow truck parked along Dublin-Granville Road in a stretch populated by a number of ethnic eateries and trucks. Its owner, Quicho Perez, is popular amongst taco truck enthusiasts for his winning smile, eagerness to share true Mexican cuisine, and his delicious fare. The truck has been in business for nearly seven years, and while the food isn’t strictly breakfast, it’s honest, authentic cuisine you can eat fairly early in the morning. And who wouldn’t want to start their day being served tasty food by Quicho’s smiling face? Taco Nazo features a range of amazingly-seasoned meats, from carnitas (shredded pork), pollo (chicken), asada (steak), and barbacoa (spicy shredded beef). Take any of these meats and order them in your vehicle of choice: tacos, burritos, sopas, quesadillas, and more. Tacos are served Mexican or American style (hint: always get the Mexican style; it’s simple with two corn tortillas, your choice of meat, onions, and cilantro). Or try a plate of gorditas: meat, cheese, veggies, and sour cream tucked between small crispy round shells. Look for Quicho and his truck in the parking lot between Walgreen’s and Lev’s Pawn Shop, near the corner of Dublin-Granville Road and Maple Canyon Road.
Cuco's Taqueria usually nabs high honors amongst Columbus’ favorite Mexican restaurants in reader surveys, but not enough people know about their breakfast menu, served every morning starting at 8 a.m. Owner Juan Morales and his family have been serving Columbus since 2003, naming the restaurant after his father, who operates a taco stand back home in Guadalajara, Mexico. Juan’s small storefront on Henderson Road hides a bright interior whose entryway looks much like a marketplace, with cans and jars and seasonings lining the shelves. If you’re doing breakfast at Cuco's, don’t wimp out and get French toast or a cheese omelet. Pick one of the true Mexican specialties. Moyetes features grilled French bread covered in cheese, black beans, and chorizo. Breakfast tacos can be ordered with eggs plus bacon, ham, potatoes, or even cactus. The oaxaquena covers potato enchiladas with eggs and a black bean sauce. Or the chilaquiles layers corn tortillas with eggs, cheese, and a rich green sauce.
La Plaza Tapatia
4233 Shoppers Lane
If you haven’t discovered La Plaza Tapatia yet, you’ll probably have a chance soon enough: the West Side restaurant and supermarket is located just across the street from the new casino. Already the territory is familiar to taco truck enthusiasts; this area boasts one of the highest concentrations of the trucks. La Plaza serves as a Mexican supermarket as well as a restaurant. You can eat a light breakfast of fresh pastries from the bakery, or you can buy hard-to-find ingredients to cook your own authentic breakfast. In the restaurant, order a la carte or sample the full buffet (on weekdays). The buffet features various egg and chicken preparations (including dark mole sauce), soups, chilaquiles, salsas, and even desserts. The regular menu offers hearty dishes like scrambled eggs and house-made chorizo, or huevos divorciados: two eggs prepped in red and green sauces. Try a lot of Mexican eatery classics like burritos and quesadillas, given a breakfast spin by adding scrambled or fried eggs. Don’t be intimidated by the menu being all in Spanish; servers will gladly explain the dishes, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Nick Dekker holds a legitimate job teaching theatre at Ohio State, but on the side he writes a blog at www.breakfastwithnick.com. He’s also a husband and father, smokes a pipe, and helps run Wild Goose Creative.