Dude Food: El Jordan Cafe

El Jordan Cafe
416 N. Bishop Ave.

Dude Factor: 9, or Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, on a scale of 1 (The Axeman) to 10 (Pete Perkins).

This morning I awoke with the type of breakfast hankering no pop tart, oatmeal or yogurt smoothie could cure. I needed some man-size desayunos. You know, the kind of meal Tommy Lee Jones might eat while he's taking in the sunrise with his ranchhands outside San Saba.

Unfortunately I don't keep ranch hours. So where in Oak Cliff could I get breakfast this late? As I mulled over my options--Smoke, Cafe Brazil, the Metro Diner, etc.--one immediately stood out. This morning I would head to El Jordan Cafe.

The kind of place Jones himself might eat while playing an aging sheriff in one of his movies, El Jordan sits defiantly among the hipper-and-hippier shops of the Bishop Arts District, a a 15-table throwback to an earlier era when places weren't expected to have crap like wi-fi. Funky murals and art adorn the walls. A small, tiny tv sits perched above the door, nestled amongst what appear to be some sort of elementary school trophies. The menu offers pages of cheap Mexican and American fare laid across five or six print-outs decorated with clip art and stuffed lovingly into the plastic sleeves of a binder. And they didn't sweat over the font choice or the weight of the paper.

The waitress speaks in broken English, saying things like "the eggs, how is it?" (scrambled) as I order a breakfast of huevos, bacon and tortillas. I ask for the usual offering of chips and salsa but she explains that they're not ready yet. This seems strange, but perhaps they make the chips fresh here.  After all, I've only been to El Jordan on the weekends, when my breakfast activities rarely take place before noon, so it's not really my place to question the morning timeline of the chip maker.

When my breakfast arrives--and it does so promptly--I am pleased. Sitting next to my eggs are home fries so crispy they fall into the French category (I'm not really a fan of the underdone hash browns you find at many diners; honestly I'd rather have shoestring potatoes from the can.) and a ball of delicious, crispy bacon. I've never understood how one cooks bacon into a ball, but on the rare occasions I've encountered this culinary delight I've always taken a moment to wish for good fortune to befall the cook.

Untangling the crispy porn strips, I take two tortillas and build myself some heaping breakfast tacos (El Jordan also serves breakfast burritos, but I generally don't prefer my bacon scrambled into my eggs the way the cook makes them here). After piling on the spicy, fresh salsa, I catch myself softly moaning with each bite--any day that starts like this will be good, I think to myself.

I head to the counter, pay my bill and straighten my cowboy hat (actually more of a cabbie hat, I got it at Target). Then I step outside, mount my trusted horse (actually a Honda Element) and head out for a day of roping and riding (words that is, in a cubicle).

Oh well, at least the breakfast was script-worthy.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Noah W. Bailey
Contact: Noah W. Bailey