Brunch at Cyclone Anaya's in Midtown

I was giddy with the simple pleasure of walking to Cyclone Anaya's last Sunday morning, a brilliant sunshiney morning meant for strolling and patio dining. And even though we passed a dead rat and several homeless people on the way, it was still a lovely walk.

Cyclone Anaya's, too, was enchanting at first. I'd never been to the Midtown location despite its proximity to my house but was instantly impressed with the amount of effort put into the iron work, the colored glass that studs the canopy over the front door, the abstract sculpture near the entrance.

It's a lovely restaurant, to be sure. And the patio is equally lovely, especially before it gets too busy.

I wasn't wowed by the food, unfortunately.

An almost sugar-sweet Bloody Mary didn't kick things off on the right foot, either, although I was pleased to find the margarita much better than your typical on-the-rocks offerings around town.

The guacamole had clearly been made ahead of time and scooped out of a bowl with giant melon ballers, though I couldn't fault the lovely presentation. What I could fault was a lack of either salt or acid in the bland guacamole. And I was even more discouraged to find pieces of avocado skin still left in the guac. No. Just, no.

Between our appetizer and our actual brunch items, the patio started to swing into its typically busy Sunday afternoon pattern. Two women in clothes far too short, tight and tiny for any point before noon perched at the "smoking tree" and cackled loudly while they preened and drank, like human female versions of grackles. Between the women, the underwhelming guac and Bloody Mary, and the very loud music on the patio, I was already starting to get annoyed.

But it was mostly my own fault, wasn't it?

When our food arrived, I was again disappointed to see that my omelet was more like scrambled eggs folded around some sauteed vegetables, but that thought faded as I ate my way through the cheese and poblano peppers. It was good.

My brunch companion enjoyed his migas with beef fajita meat mixed in -- and I had to admire the use of blue corn tortillas in the shuffle -- but the dish just didn't register with me. It had that same lackadaisical blandness as the guac; where was the oomph and the feeling behind the food? These are simple dishes, but with pronounced and satisfying flavors when done correctly. I wasn't connecting with much over brunch at all other than a headache that had begun to form. Was it the music? The human grackles? The lack of caffeine?

I contemplated ordering coffee after our plates were cleared, but decided against it. I'd had enough blandness for one day. And Catalina Coffee is such a short drive away, after all, with more love and care put into one cortado than into our entire brunch at Cyclone Anaya's.

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Katharine Shilcutt