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La Casa Bakery and Cafe

I stopped into newish restaurant La Casa Bakery and Cafe (1002 Hogan) today. It is bright-yellow, with chain-link fencing wrapped around the building. Maybe that is what attracted me to it. I bellied up to bar and ordered a Tecate michelada and the plato de barbacoa, which comes with beans, two fried eggs and homemade corn tortillas. It was on the breakfast menu which had stopped an hour previous, but I sweet-talked my server and she made an exception. Now that's hospitality.

La Casa is small, and the kitchen is behind a wall filled with windows. A large jukebox with loud Tejano music coming out of it takes up a disproportionate amount of room. The woman serving me put some fried tortilla chips in front of me, and they had just come out of the hot oil. I mean, like 29 seconds before she put them in front of me, they were wading in hot grease.

The michelada was delicious and spicy - there was a strong taste of red chiles that burned my tongue. The barbacoa was shredded, and the meat was tender. The meat was studded with big pieces of fat that went from a Jell-O consistency to melt-in-your-mouth goodness as I chewed. The eggs were cooked perfectly, and the homemade red salsa rounded out the meal. I can't wait to go back. Lucky for me, it is in my neighborhood. Maybe if I ever get up early enough on my day off, I will go in and try some Mexican pastries with coffee and lots of cream.

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Jason Kerr