I have a confession. Sometimes… I stray. I have been known to step out on the Dineamic Duo and try a restaurant without my faithful sidekick, Ian Bassett. (He will HATE that I called him my sidekick… but if the cape fits, babe! -EDITORS NOTE- Richard Grayson, my favorite comic book hero, started out as a THE sidekick and became Nightwing. I’m good!) I know, I know. It’s shameful. I am ashamed. BUT, sometimes something good comes out of these misdeeds. Occasionally, I stumble upon a place that is incredible! El Jardin in Liberty Station is one of those restaurants! So of course, I brought Ian back ASAP and we experienced it properly… together!
El Jardin specializes in refined and upscale Mexican cuisine. Both the food and the decor are beautiful. The whole place is colorful and aesthetically pleasing. From the live plant wall to the gorgeous patio to the earthy pottery, everything is part of the experience. The food is just as exciting as the design!
I strongly recommend going there for brunch. I have not been for dinner yet, but I have noticed that the brunch menu is more extensive and constantly upgrading. Make sure to start your meal with either the Café de olla or the Chocolate Batido (Oaxacan hot chocolate). The Café de olla is some of the most flavorful coffee I have ever tasted. It is custom roasted and then brewed with cinnamon and piloncillo (unrefined Mexican sugar). It’s perfect, you don’t even need cream or extra sugar or anything. They also do a special hot chocolate of the day- last time we went it was peanut butter chocolate! I want to try the cocktails, but I just can’t get away from the coffee!
Let’s move on to the food. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Both times that I have been, I got the same thing- the Chilaquiles Divorciados. I know, what you’re thinking… how boring, right?! But you’d be wrong! The meal I get is fantastic! And they slightly change the menu often, so it was slightly different! This dish has made me OBSESSED with chilaquiles. I honestly cannot decide if I like the red or green sauce better, but all I know is these are excellent! The chips are still crispy and absolutely flavor packed. I also enjoy the pureed beans that accompany it. Ian got the breakfast sopes- topped with crispy potatoes, chorizo, and all the goodies. He raved about the house made chorizo completely making the dish. Don got chicken tinga tostadas- flavorful and slightly creamy. Althea got kind of a Mexican spaghetti dish. I cannot remember the name of it (Editors note – Fideos Secos!), but it looked great! I was pushing people to try a sweet dish, but I couldn’t get through to anyone. It just means I’ll have to go back! (Or y’all will have to go and report back to me!)
….and one more thing! As of this posting, the NEW YORK TIMES has decided to do a piece on El Jardin! What’s up New York Times, are you skimming off our instagram for your features? It’s ok, we’ll allow it. Just kidding of course, it is awesome to see this fantastic restaurant get it’s due. Check out the link below!