Quick and Thrifty Breakfast at Los Compadres

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In an effort to make Mom proud, Chow Bella's taking a good, hard look at the most important meal of the day in the form of Scrambled, a mash-up of breakfast recipes, news and reviews of local restaurants serving the a.m. crowd.

We'd been passing the Seventh Avenue location of Los Compadres and noticing a sidewalk sandwich board sign advertising its breakfast for $2.49. That's pocket change.

We took a detour to check out the breakfast menu at what the locals call simply "Los."

Los Compadres has been around since 1958. It really feels like a second home. We've seen people arrive in their pajamas at one time or another on previous visits.

It's a little dim (which is so welcome come summer) and no frills. You walk in through the south door near the parking lot into what looks like a converted old home. Clean and sparsely decorated, each wall has been painted a different color to provide some interest.

Orders are taken at the counter and you're given a number and your drink. You can chose to sit in one of two separate dining room areas. When they call your number, you walk back up to the counter to retrieve your meal served on a tray.

There's a self-service station near the bathrooms with ice and water, but if you've ordered coffee or a soda, you do need to walk your drink back up to the counter. When it's busy, refills can be a bit of a challenge since you might look like you're trying to cut in line.

We arrived at the Seventh Ave location (the only Los Compadres location to serve breakfast) just after 10:30 a.m. -- technically, after they stop serving breakfast. We asked whether they would still serve us from the breakfast menu, and they did without missing a step.

We ordered the $2.49 breakfast advertised on the sandwich board on Seventh Avenue. There's only one item at that price and it's their Basic Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs, potatoes rancheros, and cheddar cheese in a flour tortilla. We also tried the huevos rancheros ($4.49) and included beans and rice. Other choices from the breakfast menu include eggs plus either chorizo, machaca, an enchilada, or tamale. Those are all served with potatoes or beans and a flour tortilla.

Breakfast beverages are juice and Mexican coffee. The juice is a bottle of Langers brand orange juice and the coffee comes in a 20-ounce styrofoam cup filled three-quarters of the way up. The coffee is pretty standard -- nothing fancy -- but we liked that we could transform it from a hot coffee to an "iced coffee to go" by filling it up with ice from the self-service ice machine before heading out.

While ordering at the counter, we were given a tray with our juice, coffee, thin crispy corn chips, cold garlicky salsa in a squeeze bottle with a fat tip and more little cups of creamer than we needed but we liked the generous offer.

Both the burrito and huevos came out fairly quickly (there weren't many other patrons in the restaurant at the time) and plated with a tuft of shredded lettuce. The huevos came with an extra flour tortilla. The soft scrambled eggs and fluffy potatoes were fairly plain. It was quickly remedied with many squeezes of that salsa we've seen other patrons take home by the quart.

The huevos rancheros came with two fried eggs over a thin, crepe-like corn tortilla and topped with the green chile beef. The eggs came over easy with crisped edges. We liked the green chile beef but knowing we have dreams about the more rich and flavorful red chile, we think we'll order it red for our next visit. The corn tortilla was unexpectedly delicious on its own, and we should have asked if we could take a dozen home.

If you're in the area and are thinking about swinging by a drive-thru for an egg muffiny sandwich, consider taking a few more minutes and let the Valdivia family feed you. It might not be quite as fast but it's definitely better food, for practically same price.

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