Let's see, it's been nearly a year since I've had the pleasure to visit beautiful Mexico and enjoy a authentic, delicious style Mexican breakfast. There are a TON of Mexican restaurants in California, but there are very few that are open for breakfast, as most lovers of Mexican cuisine in the United States don't really associate Mexican food with breakfast. But in Mexico, people eat breakfast, don't they? So it's difficult in California to find a Mexican restaurant that serves breakfast. I've been hungering for a Mexican breakfast, and as luck would have it, by word of mouth, I stumbled upon Alonzo's Coffee Shop, where I was assured that a good Mexican breakfast could be enjoyed. On Friday, December 11, 2009, when it was my turn to choose the location for the December meeting of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, I chose Alonzo's Coffee Shop.
Photo: "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head... " as I snap the photo of Alonzo's Coffee Shop, sandwiched in between other businesses, in a small strip mall in south Sacramento.
Alonzo's is a Sacramento institution, as its been in the same location for many years. After spotting Alonzo's sign, which stands alone, like a tall tree along busy Stockton Blvd., you have to perform a small search in the shopping center, as it's a small diner, sandwiched between other businesses, and a little hard to find But the end justifies the means, and whatever effort you make to find Alonzo's Coffee Shop is well worth it, as simply put, this restaurant is a gem.
As you walk in the front door, you'll immediately notice a significant reads "Please Seat Yourself," and that pretty well sums up what Alonzo's is all about, as the restaurant is small and unpretentious. The decor is pure "Americana," right down to the Norman Rockwell prints on the wall and the naugahyde vinyl upholstery on the furniture. Don't let the "seat yourself" sign put you off, as Alonzo's is about the friendliest restaurant that you'll ever find! By the way, members of our club absolutely love a unpretentious, family-friendly, truck-stop-like, hash slingin' place like Alonzo's... it's our kind of restaurant!
Photo: At 0830 on a rainy Friday morning in December, 2009, Alonzo's is a busy restaurant.
So what do you want to eat? The menu offers an amazing array of choices, and a GIGANTIC variety of "comfort food" from both Anglo and Mexican cultures. That's right... the menu offers American, truck stop classics, such as biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, bacon and eggs, along with Mexican classics, such as chorizo and eggs, pozole and menudo, any time, all of the time... What??? Menudo and pozole, during weekdays? Yes, menudo and pozose are offered every day of the week, anytime the restaurant is open for business.
Dan, Bev and I were the vanguard of today's club members, as we arrived about a half hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin. We sat ourselves at a booth near the window big enough to hold all of the club members, and were greeted by Veronica, who produced menus, and coffee, and made us feel at home. We weren't alone, as the restaurant was nearly filled with other diners - Alonzo's in indeed a busy place on a rainy Friday morning!
Photo: Veronica brought a sample bowl of menudo to our table, complete with all of the garnishes. How many restaurants actually provide samples? Alonzo's does... and Alonzo's rules!
As Dan, Bev and I were waiting for the other club members to arrive, I commented to Veronica that I'd heard of Alonzo's menudo, and, although I am a HUGE fan of menudo, I wasn't contemplating ordering menudo for breakfast, but I was curious to see what all the fuss was about, concerning Alonzo's menudo. She offered to bring me a sample of their menudo, which I accepted... Just a few minutes later, she brought a sample bowl of menudo to the table, complete with diced white onions, and a slice of lemon for garnish! We're talking about a FREE sample! Wow! How many restaurants offer a free sample of their wares? How many restaurants serve menudo, whenever they're open? Alonzo's Coffee Shop does, and they've earned a GIGANTIC green flag in my book of fine restaurants... Alonzo's Coffee Shop rocks!
Seating was not a problem, as the "vanguard" of the breakfast club had reserved two booths, enough to seat the eight of us. By the time the rest of the club members arrived, the restaurant was packed... is there really a recession in late 2009? If you look inside Alonzo's, on a rainy Friday morning in December, you'd think the talk about recession/depression or global warming is just a bunch of hyperbole, as Alonzo's Coffee Shop was packed on this morning. I might add that Alonzo's caters to the local crowd, and we observed that practically every element of Sacramento society was present at Alonzo's doing exactly what we were doing, enjoying a delicious breakfast!
Photo: Veronica brings Bev's delicious breakfast to her, as other members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club admire her handiwork.
Veronica brought us coffee, coffee, and more delicious coffee. If you're a lover of coffee, Alonzo's is your place, as the delicious coffee keeps on comin' ... we were especially impressed by the large, stainless steel pitcher of cream on the table, so we didn't have to pester our waitress for more cream, nor did we have to fiddle with those small packaged containers of Half and Half, which lesser restaurants place on the table.
Back to the menu at Alonzo's... most of us ordered an entrée on the Mexican side of things, after all, you can order "Americana" practically anywhere, but if your taste runs south of the border, your choices are somewhat limited in the greater Sacramento area. In my case, I ordered chorizo, eggs, refried beans and rice, with corn tortillas on the side. We didn't have long to wait, as despite the nearly packed house, our breakfast arrived in scant minutes after we'd ordered. Despite the nearly packed house, Veronica was accompanied by only one other server, yet she cheerfully brought our food to our table in a timely manner, and actually agreed to snap a photo of us, after I talked her in her to do. She remarked, "I'm not a good picture-taker..." and I replied, "Just do the best that you can..." and she did... thanks Veronica...
Photo: Today's Sacramento Breakfast Club members, from left to right: Matt Donnelly, Sergio Gaona, (peeking) Mark MacIntire, Dan MacLeod, Brad Holther, Bev MacLeod, and Eric Rench, your webmaster, photographer, writer, and producer of this edition of the Sacramento Breakfast Club. Speaking of Sergio Gaona, although he's attended meetings prior to this posting, he is now an official member of our club, and all I can say is Yeah!!! Glad to have you, Sergio!
Photo: Oh yes! My delicious breakfast of chorizo, eggs, rice and refried beans... oh yes!
Comfort food in any language, be it in Spanish or English, is,well... comfort food, and Alonzo's Coffee Shop excels at comfort food. Two thirds of the club members ordered breakfast from the Mexican side of the menu (the menu doesn't differentiate between the two cultures) and all of had the same opinion... Alonzo's Coffee Shop rocks, in any language!
I commented to Bev that today was the first time, in all the years of enjoying breakfast with Bev and her husband Dan, that I'd ever seen her completely finish her breakfast... she's a typical female diner, and always leaves a portion behind, but today, she polished off her breakfast of Huevos Rancheros that she ordered. She replied that her breakfast was ymmmm, ymmmm good, which seemed to sum up the synopsis of the opinion of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.
Photo: Dan MacLeod, Mark McIntire, Matt Donnelly, Latasha Banks, Sergio Gaona and Brad Holther attend to their wonderful breakfast, enjoyed at Alonzo's Coffee Shop. Great food, and great people...
Alonzo's Coffee Shop is a Sacramento institution, and it's a treasure of a restaurant. Combine delicious food, to-die-for, fast, friendly service, Mexican entreés, and a comfortable, family-friendly place to eat, you can't beat Alonzo's. Oh yes... "comfort food," is presented in both English and Spanish... Factor in menudo and pozole anytime the restaurant is open, and, well... that just leaves me error-free of absolute superlatives...
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