Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brunch at Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina

Mexican brunch?

Yup, we have that here.  Actually, on Sundays, any meal between breakfast and lunch can be considered brunch.  Sure, you may have to get up early for church or an event, but even if you have two meals before dinner...I guess we could call that "double-brunch".

Yeah, I'm coining that.  Trademarked.

Verde has been doing brunch for several months now, and even did brunch on Saturdays over the summer.  Now they are down to Sundays-only, but that is the day when brunch is a must - especially since so many restaurants have great brunches in the area.  I've experienced great ones at the Tin Front Cafe, Root 174, Zenith, Bar Marco, Sugar Cafe, and Square Cafe - and now a Mexican restaurant with Sunday brunch?

Yes.  That's for me.

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina
Even better, Verde was recently named the 3rd-best Mexican restaurant in Pittsburgh by readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper (in a tie with the Franklin Inn, which we had visited the night before!).  Finally, people of Pittsburgh are starting to recognize that there are greater Mexican restaurants around here besides the chains.

But I'll be happier when a non-chain is #1.  It needs to happen.

We made a 12:30 reservation, but arrived a little early and were seated right away, not far from where we had sat on our last visit.  The place was bustling with people - not completely packed, but definitely busy.  Jeff, the manager, re-introduced himself, as we had met on our previous visit almost a year ago.  He's one of the most hospitable managers in Pittsburgh, for sure!  So friendly and inviting - it makes the rest of the restaurant experience seem even better.

View from our seats - bustling!

Jacen was our waiter, and I adored him!  To start off, James and I both asked for coffee, and I also wanted to try fresh-squeezed orange juice - which is the best way to experience orange juice, of course:

I had such a hard time making up my mind, and Jacen had no problem suggesting something that he was sure I would like - the Caballeros Pobres.  Funny, because a Twitter follower had suggested the same thing, so it sealed the deal.  Two pieces (each) of brioche with a jalapeno cream cheese, mango marmalade, and cinnamon syrup:

Caballeros Pobres
I also ordered the Tortita de Patata, a sweet potato hash brown:

Tortita de Patata
Wow, was that a lot of food!  In fact, I only ate half of the Caballeros Pobres, and basically tasted the Tortita.  The Caballeros Pobres was not spicy hot - the flavor of the jalapenos was there, but in no way was it burning my mouth.  The mango marmalade plus the cinnamon syrup gave it a sweet flavor on top of that savory jalapeno flavor - genius!  Chef LBEE is a kitchen magician, for sure.  It was SO GOOD - but I was SO FULL!

Oh well.  I ate the rest for dinner the next day :-)

Caballeros Pobres leftovers!  Double meal!
James ordered the Ensalada de Pescado del Dia, which on this day included Mahi Mahi:

Ensalada de Pescado (Mahi Mahi)
He also ordered the Camote Hash, which included sweet potatoes, poblanos, red onion, and sweet peppers:

Camote Hash
Again - so much food!  I tried some of his things, too.  I was leery of the fish salad, but it wasn't "fishy" and actually complemented the rest of the salad nicely.  The hash was great, but so filling.

Darn.  More leftovers.  Nothing like prolonging a fantastic meal!

Everything was great - the food, the service, and the atmosphere were all awesome.  Jacen was amazing, and Jeff was so nice to talk to us about our experience after the meal (and offer us the to-go bags that we so desperately needed since we ordered too much food!)

Eat at Verde.  Brunch, dinner - it doesn't matter.  The people (of the Pittsburgh City Paper, at least) have spoken, and it's well worth the visit.

Now I need to figure out when I'm going back for dinner again...

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina
5491 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Website: http://www.verdepgh.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VerdePGH?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VerdePGH

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina on Urbanspoon

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