When I first moved to Washington three years ago, I did what many of my peers did: turn to Craigslist to try to find an affordable rental with fun roommates in Dupont Circle.
Never one to take the path most traveled, I opted to move into the master bedroom of a stunning red row house on 15th and Q Street N.W. My bay windows overlooked a charming garden, and my fuschia, black, and white décor worked perfectly with the bedroom and master bath.
My roommates? Well, it was me; my Maltese-Shih Tzu , Daisy Mae; and three gay men. Basically, you couldn’t dream up a more quintessentially fabulous Dupont home. We were one, big, happy, drama-fueled family—like a sorority house, but better.
Best holiday of the year? The Tuesday before Halloween for the drag queen race, obviously. Every year, my most fabulous roommate dressed as his alter ego, Whitney Houston (RIP) and I helped him with baubles and blush. Because, you have to accentuate the cheekbones, girl. To this day I cannot hear a Whitney Houston song and not think of him.
My other roommate taught me how to make cream puffs, a la Julia Child’s Art of French Cooking, and also once explained the concept of ass-less chaps and leather conventions.
If there’s one thing Dupont’s gays love, it’s Sunday Funday: beginning with brunch and carrying through to $1 vodka cocktails at JR’s on 17th. The only thing that carried them through the week to Sunday Funday was taking Daisy Mae to the S Street Dog Park to pick up boys. She brought all the boys to the yard, naturally.
Where did the boys love to brunch? Lauriol Plaza. But, somehow, despite my roommates’ frequent attendance and my affinity for its Mexican food, I had never been.
So, three years later, I sat down with the lovely Traci Allen, a District native and PR maven, for brunch at Lauriol.
Obviously, one of the best things about Mexican restaurants is the complimentary chips and salsa. I’m quite fond of Lauriol’s chips, as they are thinner and covered in salt and oil—rather than hard, thick, flavorless chips you find elsewhere. They often arrive to your table still warm from the fryer. Rather than icky Old El Paso salsa, Lauriol’s salsa is more like a finely chopped pico de gallo than a typical, chunky American salsa.
When drinking a margarita or mimosa at Lauriol and waiting for my entrée, I’m known to shamelessly leave a trail of spilled salsa from the bowl to my mouth. You know what? Nobody’s perfect.
Let’s talk about the mimosas at Lauriol: they are unique, and very very yummy. The frothiest mimosa I’ve ever had. Fresh, pulpy orange juice, mixed with bubbly and served with a straw in a cocktail saucer rather than a champagne flute.
For my entrée, I opted for a traditional Mexican dish: huevos rancheros. I’m not quite sure why I selected huevos rancheros, as I don’t like black beans. Oh, I know, because I write a website about brunch, and thus felt obliged to order the signature brunch dish. However, the half of the dish I consumed was quite yummy: the eggs were fried and delicious, the tortillas were crispy, and it was covered in sauce. The dish was not pretty, and quickly became messy, but that’s not the point.
Good Mexican is good Mexican: it’s affordable, delicious, and hits the spot. You always go back because you’re craving Mexican food, or your friends are craving Mexican food, to which you reply, “I could go for Mexican.”
Traci selected the crab-stuffed salmon, a healthy yet satisfying entrée that is also available during lunch and dinner. Though she didn’t order off the brunch menu, Traci is a true Power Bitch so I forgave her. The salmon was covered in a cream sauce, and served with a side of carrots, broccoli, and plantains. I snagged a bite of grilled plantains, or plantanos, and they were amazing.
We closed out brunch by sharing the French toast, which I can definitely see being a comfort food for the hung-over and the weary folks at brunch. It was thick slices of French toast, with plenty of cinnamon and powdered sugar, but they could have been soaked a bit more in the egg batter.
The French toast and the huevos rancheros were served with a side of fruit, which could have been better.
The Bitches say: B. For Mexican, Lauriol is the best of the best at an affordable price. However, for food snobs, the quality is a bit lacking.
1835 18th St. N.W.
Lauriol Plaza serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.