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If you're a fan of Mexican food, Yuma, Arizona just might be your personal Shangra La.  If you're a fan of great Mexican food, you'll want to pay a visit to Los Manjares de Pepe, as the food is delicious, the people are friendly, and you'll walk away with a full stomach and a smile on your place.  Not to mention a real plus for breakfast lovers, as Manjares is open for breakfast!

Photo:  Los Manjares de Pepe is located in a former house, and what used to be the front yard offers plenty of parking.  That's my white F-250 truck parked in front, sporting many high frequency radio antennas.

I woke up early Tuesday morning, October 19, 2010, with the idea that I was in the mood for a good, Mexican style breakfast, as I planned to spend the day touring the nearby Mexican border town of Cd. Algodondes, and I felt that breakfast would put me in the mood.  The night before, I'd surfed the web and found several prospects, and none sounded better than Los Manjares de Pepe.  There were even a few reviews of the restaurant published on the web, so I plugged the address into my GPS, hopped into my truck, and five minutes later I found myself pulling into their shady parking lot.

Los Manjares de Pepe is located in a former residence, in other words, it's in a house that's been converted into a restaurant.  The former living room is now the major dining room, what once was a bedroom is now a semi-private dining room, I assume the kitchen is still the kitchen, albeit greatly expanded, and the bathroom is now a restroom, shared between the sexes.  The semi-private dining room even has a fireplace... in Yuma, none the less. The partition between the rooms sports a hilarious plaque that reads:  "NOTICE:  All children running loose and unattended will be towed away and stored at owner's expense."

I walked in the front door, heard the tinkle of the bell attached to the door, and was greeted by friendly María, who invited me to sit anywhere, which was not an issue, as on this Tuesday morning, there was only one other customer in the restaurant - a local police officer.  If you're a reader of my web site, you'll note that I trust the culinary instincts of law enforcement officers, so the green flag immediately came up.  María placed a menu on my table, and a cup of coffee - probably the best coffee that I've ever tasted - more on the coffee in a bit.  Manjares' menu includes a wonderful selection of Mexican combination plates, but they also serve lunch and dinner, and, according to some of the reviews I read on the Internet, they also serve killer tortas.  But I was here for breakfast, so I ordered chorizo and eggs with all the fixin's.

Photo:  I love the beer bottles that decorate the fireplace, in the semi-private dining room.  My friendly server, María, pointed out that the fireplace is fully functional, and they use it during chilly weather.

Photo:  I surprised María when I snapped her photo in front of the kitchen, as she was about to bring my delicious breakfast to my table.

I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee when María placed my order on the table.  Talk about fast service... my order arrived in less than five minutes.  María is a very nice and friendly person, and she noticed my ever-present camera and the fact that I'd taken a few photos.  Anyway we got to talking, and I told her that I'd just spent several days in the greater San Diego area, enjoying fine dining in Tijuana, and she told me that she was originally from San Diego, and we discovered that we'd even eaten at a few of the same restaurants in Tijuana.  I told her all about this web site, and she was very interested and took down my email address, and the url to this web site.  I should have asked for her email address, so I could let her know when I published this article, but at the time, I had other things on my mind, like breakfast.

My combination plate consisted of chorizo, which is a spicy Mexican sausage, mixed with scrambled eggs.   Sides included fried potatoes, refried beans garnished with grated anjo cheese, and a small salad, on the plate, which seems to be a de facto standard in Yuma.  No toast was included with this breakfast  - who wants toast with a breakfast of chorizo and eggs? - instead of toast, I was presented a stack of in-house made corn tortillas, just off the griddle.  

María kept my coffee cup full of probably the best coffee that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.  Mexican restaurants aren't noted for their coffee, but whatever formula Los Manjares de Pepe uses to brew their coffee should be cloned, and distributed across the globe.  Honestly, I simply could not get enough of their delicious coffee - move over Starbucks, Peets, or for that matter, mamma.  Their coffee alone is worth the drive from Anywhere, USA.  I enjoyed cup after cup of their delicious coffee.... just thinking about their coffee makes me want to visit Yuma immediately.

So what about the food?  In a word:  delicious.  Just look at the photo... yes the food looks good in the photo, and it tasted even better.  Good food, lots of it, fast, friendly service from charming María, and at a very affordable price - the total bill came to $8.03 - I left María a $5.00 tip - and you have a restaurant that will give you a wonderful breakfast dining experience.

Photo:  This is the main dining room.  The kitchen is to the left, out of the photo.

Photo:  María has just placed my delicious breakfast on the table, and has just topped my coffee cup with some of the best coffee that I've ever enjoyed.

After spending a day checking out the sights of Cd. Algodondes, Mexico, I decided to order one Los Manjares de Pepe's legendary tortas, that I'd read about on the Internet.  Late in the afternoon, María had gone home, so I told the gentleman who greeted me that my order was "to go," and I ordered a Torta de Carnitas with everything, and requested an extra serving of Manjares' legendary guacamole on top of everything.  Like breakfast, my torta arrived in a styrafoam box, all dressed and ready to go, for the small price of $4.50, plus Arizona state tax.  You get a Texas-sized sandwich within the friendly confines of Arizona, just minutes away from California and Mexico.

Photo:  The legendary Torta de Carnitas spread open and ready to eat.  The guacamole was especially good.  This torta is an entire meal.

Back at the motel room, I opened up the box, savored my dinner, and took a quick photo or two.  You start out with a huge bolillo, which I knew was baked in-house, thanks to my breakfast experience.  The sandwich fills up a plate - no kidding - the bottom layer was a smooth layer of creamy frijoles.  On top of the beans was a layer of carnitas that alternated between soft and crunchy... oh baby!  The carnitas were covered with chopped lettuce, cilantro, white onions and jalapeño peppers, diced tomatoes - all could be collectively categorized as pico de gallo - and a liberal coating of guacamole.  It was an effort to take photos before doing what was meant to be done... eat it!

Ok yes!!!!  The torta was delicious, as it was GIGANTIC, and composed of fresh components. Fresh would be a good word to describe my torta, as everything, including the freshly baked bolilo was fresh, even after the 5-minute drive from the restaurant to the motel.  

Photo:  María snapped my photo, as I was about ready to dig into my delicious breakfast.

Photo:  My delicious breakfast of chorizo and eggs, refried beans, fried potatoes, salad, and fresh corn tortillas.  I'll rave again about the coffee - this restaurant knows how to make coffee!  Not shown is the bowl of salsa, which was great on the potatoes.

Friendly María told me that the gentleman in the kitchen was her dad, so that would place Los Manjares de Pepe into the family-owned, family-operated, and family-friendly category of restaurants.  Whatever you want to call it, I highly recommend a visit to Manjares for giant tortas, delicious coffee, friendly service, and a delicious, Mexican breakfast.

Los Manjares de Pepe
2187 W. 8th St.
Yuma, AZ 85365
928 782-2366

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