Chef David Solorzano brings Downtown Tucson a fresh Jalisco-inspired brunch menu—and it’s a feast for your senses.
“This is what Mexican food should be,” said Solorzano “Everything is fresh and made from scratch.” The brunch menu is a gateway into Penca’s more adventurous farm-to-table style of regional Mexican cuisine.
The open space, large windows, and morning light create the idyllic setting for a downtown brunch experience.
Penca Restaurante locally sources ingredients where possible. Their Mechudo beans are from Arevalos Farms and the corn is grown in Oaxaca, Mexico. The corn is either stone-ground and hand-pressed into tortillas by Maiz Tucson or pureed and used in the Hotcakes de Elote.
Encacahuatadas ($9, Vegan) features mushroom, hominy, greens, and garlic-filled corn tortillas topped with a guajillo peanut sauce and almond cream.
The silky sauce is a perfect accompaniment to the satisfying, earthy filling, making this dish a best-seller each weekend. Penca’s manager, Amanda, presented it as “The Belle of the Ball.”
Molletes ($9) is toasted bread topped with refried mechudo beans, menonita cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, and crema.
These deceptively simple toasts are a fresh, upgraded version of a breakfast staple found in many Tucson homes.
Huevos Rancheros ($10) features two eggs, refried mechudo beans, fried corn tortillas, Hoja Santa, and salsas Mexicana.
We loved this dish for it’s perfectly executed layers. Nestled into the layers are hoja santa leaves, a fragrant herb found in Oaxacan cuisine. The leaves, paired with the acidity of the salsa, add punch to the creamy Mechudo beans and runny yolk.
Hotcakes de Elote ($9 short stack, $12 full stack) features corn pancakes topped with corn, braised agave syrup, and berries.
These pancakes are divine, topped with the familiar flavors of berries and cream and surprising pops of dried corn. Made with pureed corn, the cakes are an explosion of Tucson sunshine. We’re going to be thinking about them for a while.
Chilaquiles ($9) has fried corn totopos topped with salsa verde and salsa Mexicana, with a crema drizzle and Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco.
Each bite of this bright and comforting version of chilaquiles is unique. The sweet heat of the red salsa counterbalances the grassiness of the green and you're left with a creamy drizzle lingering on the tongue.
These bright drinks are the perfect addition to your brunch experience.
Grenache Sangria ($5) is a juicy, balanced sangria garnished with citrus and mint.
Puerto Lobos ($10) features tepache, cocchi americano, ginger, citrus, vermouth, and sparkling wine.
Rosé Sangria ($5) features delicate rosé sangria garnished with rose petals.
Penca Restaurante, located at 50 E. Broadway Blvd., serves brunch from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.