Monterrey Café was difficult to find on a rainy Sunday morning en route to Dallas from San Antonio. A friend’s Google Maps iPhone app pegged it on one side of I-35. My search had it on the opposite side. When we did find the restaurant, we what we found was a freestanding building with colorful murals on its exterior. One the façade, a matador toyed with a bull. A front window bore a scratched, sans serif font in pink declaring homemade flour and corn tortillas. While the south wall a man walked alongside an oxen-led cart. The parking lot was full. A welcoming, potentially great roadside shack, if ever there was one.
We entered into a busy dining room with another space to the left. Black slide letter signs with menu items hung above the tables in the front room where we sat. Everything was a little worn. The service was quick, attentive and in twists and turns in English and Spanish. And the breakfast tacos fresh, served on dusty, cushioned flour tortillas.
The migas breakfast taco was the worst of the bunch: a mushy melee heavy on the corn tortilla strips, dull cheese and what could very well have been microwaved Pace Picante.
Meanwhile, the chorizo and egg was a delightful integration of scrambled eggs and slightly spicy sausage next to a third offering of eggs and cubed potato, snappy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. As boring and tasteless such a simple pairing can be, potato and egg done right in a thick flour tortilla can be as wondrous as specks of dust floating in beams of light. The kind of grub that has you saying, “Huh. Well look at that!”
Then there was the machacado, the best rendition of the dried and shredded salt beef folded into just-wet-enough eggs I’ve had outside the Rio Grande Valley. Whereas most machacado I’ve sampled has come in the form of miniature gum-piercing spears, the kind at Monterrey Cafe was served light and salty. Frankly, it was best thing to happen to us on the pitiful stretch of road called Interstate 35 that day.Monterrey Cafe 2570 S. Interstate 35 New Braunfels, TX 78130 830-626-2500