Friday, October 24, 2008

Brunch at Calle Ocho

This Sunday, FI and I went with friends to brunch at Calle Ocho. It's a Latin-inspired restaurant that apparently has all-you-can-drink sangrias for Sunday brunch!

While we were waiting for everyone to show up so we could get seated, I took some pictures of the decor. I like the use of multiple colors in the place mats, plates, and stools. You never have to worry about running out of one color or not having enough of matching colors or having the right order. You just have to have a plate, a place mat, and a stool.

Upon closer examination, we realized the place mats are from IKEA! They are from the same line as our coasters - Panna.

Everyone finally arrived and we got seated. Turns out the front area is just a decoy. It looks super small and crowded and you're worried you can't get seated. Then you follow your hostess back and see this....

A huge cavernous eating area with tons of tables and a sangria bar.

We started out with a bread basket. There were a bunch of different breads - little unsweetened doughnuts, bread with chocolate chips, cheese bread, muffins, sweet rolls, etc. They were all really good and soft.

With the breads, we had 2 types of spreads - strawberry butter and black bean dip. Both were really tasty and both actually worked well on any of the breads since none of the breads were super sweet or super salty. I ended up putting strawberry butter on the half of a piece and then black bean dip on the other half for each bread I tried.

After ordering our food, we decided to try out the all-you-can-drink sangria bar. When we were ordering food, we tried to find some reviews to see what people had recommended. We couldn't find a single food suggestion but everyone RAVED about the sangria. :)

First, a kitschy tongue-in-cheek sign about the "Rules of the Sangria Bar".

Each giant sangria jar was labeled with the name and ingredients. You basically ladled the sangria and fruit into the pitcher and poured it into your glass.

Here's the one I ended up trying. It had strawberries, raspberries, and some other berries soaking in rum.

It was pretty good. It wasn't too sweet so it didn't feel refreshing and the fruit was really tasty too. Although I ended up with sangria splashes all over my shirt from trying to pick the fruit out to eat.

I had the Huevos Divorciados - crab cakes with eggs and salsa and peppers on top. The green salsa was less spicy than the red salsa. The combination of a plain fried egg (and its accompanying smooth texture) and spicy crab cakes (with a crispy coating) was really tasty.

FI had the Cachapa de Salmon which were crepes with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. It was really rich and filling. Since everything in the dish was soft (salmon, eggs, crepe), I didn't think it was as interesting to eat. But it was still yummy.

This was the Latin Benedict with Indian bread, Serrano ham, salsa, poached egg, and a chipotle hollandaise sauce. The Indian bread and ham were delicious. Both were salty with a great chewy (almost crunchy) texture that worked so well with the soft poached egg. The salsa and sauce were also excellent.

This place is a definite recommend! There's free sangria, lots of room, and they take reservations. Those are already 3 pluses for me and the food was delicious too!

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