I Can Eat 50 Eggs: Casa Colombia

In honor of Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke,” I’ll review 50 days of eggs from 50 different restaurants.
Day 17: Casa Colombia
1614 E. Seventh St. 495-9425, www.casa-colombia.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.17.12
Here’s how much I like Casa Colombia. When San Antonio chef John Brand came through Austin in 2009, this is where I brought him. Outside, Casa Colombia is almost industrial in its tan austerity. Inside, the walls are dusky red or paneled in dark wood, and a white-trimmed window pane gazes without glass to the dining room beyond. We tore through that menu: hot arepas with chorizo, goat cheese with panela salsa, arroz con pollo, spicy ground beef empanadas, mile-high tres leches cake and figs with caramel and honey.
What stayed with me even more than those candied figs was a catch-all country-style plate called Bandeja Paisa ($14.50), Colombia’s answer to steak and eggs. Or bacon and eggs. Or a lumberjack’s breakfast for lunch or dinner.
It’s easy to reconcile the basics with dishes you already know, starting with two pennant-thin sections of skirt steak scored on the grill, with white rice and salted, tawny cowboy-style beans and a single egg fried over-easy. That’s breakfast already, and a big one. But it all goes south, or rather Central American, with a quarter of an avocado, a dense cornmeal arepa and caramelized plantains crispy at the edges and sweet as a coastal breeze.
Then there’s the bacon, or chicharron, a primordial section almost two inches thick, scored like parapets along its length, showing in full relief a layer of hide, then layers of meat and fat in the honeyed tans and reds of the bacon rainbow. Don’t confuse this with the delicate pork-belly dishes of the new brasserie movement. This is bacon’s answer to the pull-apart wonders of the blooming onion.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking) 
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