Brunching with the Mamacitas at Hermosa Beach's Palmilla
Brunch to Mother’s Day is basically what chocolates and female friendship are to Galantine’s day (thank you Amy Poehler for creating one of the best days of the year). Why is brunch synonymous with Mother’s Day? While it’s probably because we have driven our poor mothers to drink, I’d prefer to think it’s because there is nothing better than drinking at breakfast with your mom. So Leah and I decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early with our biggest fans and the original brunchers – my mom Julie (Mama Ro) and Leah’s mom Christine (Mama Christine). Nothing is more California than Mexican food on the beach, so for our brunch during Christine’s visit from Minnesota we picked Palmilla in Hermosa Beach.
We all decided to meet at the restaurant on a bright and sunny Saturday morning. My mom drove. During our drive down from Santa Monica, I was reminded of having inherited Mama Ro’s driving skills in addition to her love of brunch. We almost hit a bicyclist and a baby in a stroller trying to find beach parking. Needless to say, when we arrived to find Leah and Christine happily chit -chatting on Palmilla’s shaded patio overlooking the pier, we were in sore need of a margarita. Julie opted for a cerveca, Christine the sangria, and Leah the Watermelon-Cilantro Cooler. While everyone enjoyed their drinks, the favorite had to be my beverage, the Pepino Diablo. A Palmilla favorite, the Pepino Diablo is made with Cazadores Blanco tequila, organic agave nectar, fresh squeezed lime juice and muddled jalapeno and cucumber. I couldn’t help but order another given it’s slightly spicy and not overly-sweet take on the typical margarita.
We’d have to say, the highlights of our brunch were the appetizers. Almost immediately, our charming waiter who had hair that would make Johnny Depp jealous, brought for the table what we fondly referred to as churros chips (because churros and chips should have coupled-up long ago) - a creative alternative to the typical Mexican staple of chips and salsa which are often greasy and heavy. Alternatively these chips were light and sweet.
Next came the “guacamole festival”! The guacamole festival is made fresh to order with crisp plantains and your choice of three types of guacamole --classic guacamole, spicy papaya strawberry, peppered bacon chorizo, roasted tomato and Dungeness crab. We went with the classic, spicy papaya strawberry and crab guacamole. If you are guacamole lovers like us, you’ll love this fresh take on the classic dish. We adored the variety, but the winner had to be the creamy and flavorful classic. The crisp plantains complimented the guac nicely, allowing you to focus on the delicious dip without stuffing yourself on heavy, salty tortilla chips.
For entrees, Christine ordered the Palmilla Cocinera Omelet filled with veggies served with citrus jalapeno cabbage slaw, avocado and pickled onion achiote and chicken breast. She raved about the fresh veggies and the homemade salsa.
Leah ordered the Chilequiles al Guajillo with julienne corn chips tossed with salsa roja, guajillo scrambled egg, caramelized onion and queso fundido with cilantro, sour cream and pickled onion. A much bigger undertaking than she expected her delicious fare seemed to be endless, leaving plenty of leftovers.
Although I am typically wary of ordering crab beneditct after being burned one too many times with cheap crab, my mom and I split the Crab Benedict Croquette. The crab benedict has to be in the top 5 crab benedicts I have tried. The Dungeness crab tasted fresh and came atop a crispy sweet potato croquette, with fundito queso, poached egg topped with adobo hollandaise sauce.
We didn’t want brunch to end, knowing it would mean putting down our drinks and worse saying good-bye to our mamacitas. So for this mother’s day, we want to clink glasses to our moms, the baddest brunchers around. We hope we make you ladies proud and may your legacy live on each time we raise our glass at brunch.
We love you! xoxo