There are times when a meal calls for the exquisite and the refined: duck legs confit, passion fruit emulsions, oyster omelets. But there are also moments when nuance begs to be fallen by the dull ax of conventional, perfunctory experience. When cravings or nostalgia strike, it helps to keep it simple. And so we find ourselves pulling into Dairy Queens with rapid abandon, or deciding that nachos are not only a good option for brunch, they are in fact the only sensible option in a world of crushingly unfamiliar culinary possibility.
Just get the nachos, the menu seems to concur. The menu is of the slick, laminated variety, the kind that gets wiped down with a mysterious blue solution in between uses. It belongs to Campuzano Mexican Food, a Tex-Mex spot situated on Oak Lawn, where on a nice day, the front porch fills easily with patrons, as do the tables inside that are lucky enough to be located by big, open windows.
It's a comfortable neighborhood joint, one suited to weekday lunches and margarita-fueled brunches just the same. The "brunch margarita" ($4), as it is literally titled, arrives frosty and blushing in a tall, slender glass. The peachy hue stems from the inclusion of orange juice. Our waiter explained that it also contains Champagne, making this a mimosa/margarita hybrid that manages to check the frozen drink box without being overly sweet.
The brunch margarita's potency makes it entirely possible that it is not the world of crushing unfamiliarity that leads one to order nachos. Rather, such foolhardy embrace of cheese-covered tortilla chips may be a simple reflection of the resulting neurochemical cascade induced by said margarita. We may never know.
One thing we do know is that the breakfast nachos ($10) were maddeningly, shame-inducingly good. Fanned out like a deck of cards, these nachos bore a treasure trove of savory toppings. One might not think scrambled eggs have a place on nachos, but when combined with a thin smear of refried beans, bits of nutty chorizo, a few cooling slices of avocado and a slick of crema, it all makes sense. Crunchy, salty, creamy sense.
An order of huevos Campuzano ($10) — two tostada shells topped with refried beans, red or green salsa and an over-medium egg — were innocuous. Each needed to be doused with a few spoonfuls salsa to give them some life. The accompanying home-fried red potatoes, however, were jacketed in flavor with an abundance of smoky, peppery spice.
Campuzano's does more than provide a place for Dallasites to fix their Tex-Mex jones before noon. In providing that place, it reassures us that it doesn't matter why we feel compelled to eat our weight in tortilla chips and Jack cheese at 11 a.m. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that we do.
Campuzano Mexican Food Oak Lawn, 2618 Oak Lawn Ave.
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