Mexican Breakfast at Don Patron Bar and Grill
Well, I'm getting closer to the tunnels, anyway. Don Patron Bar and Grill is located in the ground floor lobby of One Allen Center, at 500 Dallas. For dinner, Don Patron turns into a full-service restaurant. For breakfast and lunch, however, they open up a small take-out wing off to the side. Don't worry about the lunch offerings (which center around crunchy tacos, nachos, and taco salads); they're not worth your time. Breakfast, however, is a different story.
The tacos don't necessarily come cheap, clocking in at around $2.25 for your choice of eggs, potatoes, and various meats. Considering the location, though, the price is less shocking than it could be. The real deal here is the "Mexican Breakfast." Clocking in at right around $5, it's enough food that I frequently skip lunch after eating it.
The Mexican Breakfast is a large takeout container filled with scrambled eggs (regular or Mexican), refried beans, potatoes, and your choice of meat. The deal also includes two handmade flour tortillas and two small takeout containers of salsa. I usually make a couple of bean, egg, and potato tacos, and sprinkle them liberally with salsa. A few scoops of chorizo on top, and the things are nearly overflowing.
The eggs aren't anything special. They're actual eggs, though, and cooked and held properly. They stay relatively fluffy, and don't weep liquid. The potatoes are a bit better, with a nice dose of black pepper adding a kick to the simply steamed and diced spuds. A bit of browning would be nice, but they're fine as they are.
Meat options are pretty standard, offering your choice of bacon, sausage, or chorizo. Don Patron has a chronic and unfortunate tendency to overcook bacon, and the sausage is just kind of lackluster. While I get the chorizo (noticing a trend?), it's not really what is says it is. Basically, it's crumbled pan sausage to which someone has added a fair amount of chili powder. I'm guessing it's the exact same meat used for the "sausage" option, just doctored up a bit. It's also rather salty.
As for the beans, they are rich and full flavored, with a creamy texture that is only improved by the occasional un-smooshed bean. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they are cooked in lard. Someone made those beans, and paid attention while doing it. The same is true of the flour tortillas. Obviously hand-made, they have a nicely irregular shape and thickness. Some come out a bit doughy, but most of them are great. They are properly griddled, resulting in some nice char, and have a wonderful combination of toothsome bite and light consistency.
The salsa here is similarly well done. It's a fresh, bright salsa, punctuated by smoky traces from the blackened flecks of roasted tomatoes. The roasted flavor doesn't dominate, allowing the salsa to remain vibrant and simple. It's a lovely counterpoint to the somewhat heavy flavors of the rest of the "Mexican Breakfast."
I'm almost always full after two tacos, and have plenty of food left if I get hungry a bit later in the day. Really, though, if you want to skip everything but the beans, tortillas, and salsa, you would be no worse off. Suddenly, I find myself wondering if they'd let me get an extra helping of beans instead of the chorizo.