Each week, we review a different breakfast spot in town, highlighting culinary offerings, brunchability, and the overall vibe as you sip your morning joe. Whether the restaurant in question is grab-and-go or stay-and-play, each offers a unique breakfast buzz that might be just what you need for the most important meal of the day.
The Spot: Carolina's Mexican Food
1202 E Mohave Street
The Scene: Mohave Street is a hardscrabble straightaway with not much around. By the time you park outside this legendary restaurant, modest and sporting pleasantly scuzzy white brick, you almost feel like you're in some kind of special isolated pocket of the city.
A stream of burro-seekers flows into Carolina's even in the morning. People of all kinds line up, study the menu, and look into the kitchen at employees making dozens of flour tortillas. In the dining room, naked lightbulbs burn and reveal timeworn white walls. There is a church-like sacred feeling. People sit with friends and family and eat in quiet, letting the flavors of the food speak.
The Goods: Mornings at Carolina's are all about the breakfast burro. Burros are wrapped with just-made flour tortillas and come long, bulbous, and packed with fillings. Don't come here if you're not that hungry. Don't come here if you're kind of hungry. Come to Carolina's in the morning when you are 100% full-tilt starving.
A breakfast burro here will prime you for a huge day.
At the ordering counter, one must choose between chorizo and machaca (if you want meat). From there, you can add eggs, beans, or potatoes to your burro. You can up the flavor ante by going for enchilada-style and having green or red chile slathered on top. I prefer the red. It leads with a low, blunt heat that gives way to a deep, mole-like complexity. Not enough heat for you? Add salsa. It has flavor and torch.
Can't decide between red and green chile? Go both!
The Bottom Line: Carolina's offers a legendary breakfast burro to hungry folks. Starting your day with one can raise your spirits for the rest. If you want haute vibes and pumpkin pancakes, go somewhere else.
Special Something: Come on Saturdays for menudo that draws a crowd. A cup and a breakfast burro should put a dent in even the fiercest hangover.
Hours: Breakfast served until 10:30 a.m.; Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday Closed
Coffee Options: Limited
Drinking Before Noon: Nope