El Banquete

First brunch of 2023 is el banquete served at Sol Y Luna’s banquette.

By Jan Walsh

No boring brunch here! Saturday brunch at Sol Y Luna is like none other. The fried eggs come with Huevos Rancheros, and if you are looking for French toast, order Torrejas. There is so much more to explore…

Sol Y Luna’s specialty drinks are always a must: Gin Colada for Kev, and Sol Y Luna Margarita for me. And we pair our cocktails with the Sol Y Luna Sampler, Queso with Chorizo, and a brunch dish we have not had before, Mexican Riviera Shrimp Cocktail. Kev’s colada is fruity, floral, but not too sweet, a mix of London Dry Gin Beefeater, coconut puree, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and orange bitters. My margarita has a dare on the menu to “eat the serrano pepper.” I took this dare once. Not today, thank you. Made of Hornitos Reposado, Sol Y Luna mix, orange liqueur, and garnished with Serrano pepper, already has just the right spice.

Chef, Owner Jorge Castro greets us at the corner banquette, and we invite him to sit down. As usual the sampler gets this party started as we select among crisp plantain, vinegar chips, and sweet potato chips. We dig into the warm creamy queso and cool, refreshing guacamole. As we catch up with Jorge, he shares his new find, Chapulines, which he enjoys as a guacamole garnish. He educates us that these dried, roasted grasshoppers, are a Mexican delicacy with a nutty flavor.

We expect our shrimp cocktail to fit our visual image: pink shrimp, with tails intact, curled around a small dish of cocktail sauce with a slice of lemon. Wow! Our expectations are eclipsed as a towering, stemmed bowl of pico de gallo arrives topped with fresh shrimp and avocado. One bite proves the shrimp’s pristine succulence, crisp freshness, and perfect preparation. As we scoop its accompanying blue and yellow corn chips, into the dish, one bite leads to another, as we fish deep to find the bowl chock-full of shrimp. Also, unlike traditional shrimp cocktail service, these shrimps are literally drowned in it, rising to the surface coated with pico de gallo. A new 50 Favorites is found! And we will be back to Sol Y Luna just for the phenom Mexican Riviera Shrimp Cocktail.

Next Jorge asks if we have ever tried the Corn and Queso Oaxaca Empanadas. Shaking my head no, he excitedly darts off to the kitchen to prepare them for us. And soon he is back with a look of pride on his face and a plate of golden empanadas in his hands. These half-moon shaped crescents are thin and crispy on the outside and soft and airy inside, oozing with melted cheese and soft, yellow corn kernels. Highly recommended!

Thus far, we are over the moon with our new finds, so we keep it up ordering more dishes previously undiscovered, El Cubano sandwich for Kev and Mollettes for me plus the optional pork carnitas. Sol Y Luna had him with the Serrano Ham in El Cubano’s description. Sol Y Luna’s Cuban sandwich cements this Spanish ham with roasted pork with layers of Manchego cheese, mustard, pickles, and a tangy crema Mexicana. A generous portion of garlic home fries accompanies the sandwich. If you love a great Cuban, get in here! Oh, my! I need help with my Mollettes, and Kev obliges.

Four crusty bolillo rolls are piled high with refried beans, scrumptious shredded pork, drizzled with melted chilhuahua cheese, and topped with pico de gallo. This tapa is recommended for BBQ pulled pork sandwich lovers with hearty appetites.

The only dessert we have never tried is Flan. So, Flan it is. Or it was… This creamy, dreamy custard soon disappears. Its tastes simply decadent, and its mouthfeel is firm, smooth, and silky. Each bite of this memorable dessert eases onto our palates with sweet, sticky caramel synthesizing with hints of vanilla, and melts in our mouths, and is enhanced with fresh whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries. What a feast!


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