Tecolote has been a Roadfood favorite since it opened. When Bill and Alice Jennison conceived it in 1980, they did so with a sense of mission. Their goal, stated on the back of the menu, was “to serve a wholesome, tasty meal, at a reasonable price, in a comfortable and cheerful environment.” From the beginning, the house specialty has been breakfast; and although the restaurant has moved to larger, more spacious quarters and a new generation has taken over, breakfast remains some of the best in the southwest.
The house motto is: Great Breakfast, No Toast! In other words, this is not your ordinary bacon-and-eggs cafe. Atole piñon hotcakes, for example, are made with blue cornmeal and studded with roasted piñon nuts. They actually resemble wide, low-rise cakes more than ordinary flattened-out flapjacks. Pale blue inside with a faintly crusty exterior from the grill, each cake is ethereally fluffy; and what joy it is to bite into a little lode of those roasty-rich nuts! There are blueberry hotcakes, too, made with a similar, from-scratch batter, and plain ones — each available singly, as a short stack (two), or a full stack (three).
Of course there are omelets galore and eggs of every kind, including a spectacular layered dish called Huevos Yucatecos surrounded by fried bananas. One non-traditional meal we hold dear is a gallimaufry called “sheepherder’s breakfast.” That’s new potatoes browned on the grill with jalapeño peppers and onion, topped with red and green chile, melted cheddar, and a pair of eggs. On the side come hot flour tortillas or a bakery basket.
Lunch at Tecolote includes enchiladas, tacos, and Frito pie, as well as an “Americana” menu of hamburgers, chicken fried steak, and pork chops (smothered with green chile, natch).
Tecolote, by the way, is an Aztec word that means owl, originally chosen by the Jennisons because Bill had been fascinated by a nearly-deserted village by that name in northern New Mexico. The wise owl remains Tecolote’s insignia … and a welcome alert for all hungry early birds.