Lunchtime Snob: Tiny space, bold flavors at Ever's Cafe 

click to enlarge Mexican favorites like mom used to make - JESSICA ELIZARRARAS
  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • Mexican favorites like mom used to make

Let me put this out there: I love reader recommendations. You put some faith in me by visiting restaurants we review, and I'm wildly encouraged when readers take the time to give me a heads up about new eateries. Such was the case when Lou Portillo, a fan of Flavor File, called me up one recent Monday to talk about Ever's Cafe.

Opened by sisters Didi G. Lastra and Elizabeth G. Nichoff and mom Alicia Garcia this past April, the shop is situated just south of Luna and El Montan Motor Hotel on San Pedro. Though they might compete with their neighbors for signage, the matriarch-driven family is pulling folks in with solid home-cooked flavors. Recipes are created by Garcia and Nichoff, the latter of which spent some time in culinary school in Ann Arbor before moving to San Antonio.

While the menu features tacos, empanadas (which they're gaining a following for in catering orders) and lunch plates, the specials board is usually too enticing to pass up. A hot and slightly spicy salsa ranchera is delivered to all tables with lunch ("I just want to drink it," said my meal pal). While I didn't want to tip the jar into my mouth, I did enjoy it paired with crispy and lightly seasoned tortilla chips.

The pollo en mole, a large thigh and breast combo, was dotted with sesame seeds and paired with pleasant Spanish rice and refried beans. Rich, well seasoned and tender enough to cut with a fork, the mole was a definite must-have. The bite of pumpkin pie that finished the meal was a nice touch. The serving easily made for a next-day lunch (which was even tastier then, once we let the juices sit overnight).

Having experienced a bit of order envy as my pal took in a giant bowl of caldo de res with loads of fresh veggies, I opted for the caldo tlalpeño with a side of Spanish rice and two quesadillas during our next visit. The bowl was warm and filled with shredded chicken, floating avocado cubes and a savory broth with just a hint of chipotle. The tortillas, hand-made by Garcia and Nichoff with fresh ground corn, were worth a return visit alone. The stringy queso Oaxaca inside and nice golden toast were tasty bonuses.

The specials board changes daily and most visits to the shop mean chatting with Lastra about the menu. Even if mom didn't make soup from scratch, you'll definitely feel right at home inside this cozy cafe.

Ever's Cafe

6734 San Pedro, (210) 826-3030, everscafe.com

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