I'm so, so sorry to have let Café con Chocolate sit in my restaurant to-do list for as long as it did. Don't even bother reading the recap of my meal at this small café in deep South Philly serving Mexican and Japanese dishes; just go there. You won't regret it.
Wait. Huh? Mexican and Japanese? Yes. The owner is of Mexican and Japanese decent, so it only makes sense to serve up what one knows best. One of my favorite restaurants of all time serves Mexican and Korean food (sorry, it's 600 miles away), but it works because it's what the owners know best.
We arrived at Café con Chocolate's sunny yellow building at the corner of Snyder Ave. and Norwood St. (that's between 21st and 22nd) at prime brunch time on a Sunday, and were the only ones dining in, besides a couple of older men that were obviously regulars from the neighborhood. The only reason I can guess Café con Chocolate sits nearly empty while there are long lines at other hot brunch spots is because of Café con Chocolate's location in deep South Philly. I admit that the reason Café Con Chocolate sat on my to-do list so long is it's location in a part of town I have no other business in, but now that I know how good the food is, I don't mind walking the thirty minutes it takes from our house into no man's land.Since it was cold out, we started with a big cup of Cajetuccino (basically a cappuccino with a shot of caramel syrup) and a cup of Chocolate Oaxaca. Both were awesome, but I especially loved the subtly spicy Mexican hot chocolate. There was something else about the hot chocolate other than the cinnamon and chili that I loved, but I couldn't place my finger on it; it tasted almost slightly minty.
When it's warmer out, we'll have to try some of the milkshakes, smoothies, tamarind and hibiscus water, Mexican juices, and other beverages on their menu.
I had the hardest time choosing from Café con Chocolate's menu, since almost every item is or can be made vegetarian. Tacos, flautas, burritos, enchiladas, empanadas, quesadillas, tostadas, or tortas? But what about the Japanese red curry, tempanyaki (grilled vegetables), and itokognaku (sauteed vegetable and noodles served with rice)?
I went with the Mollete from the breakfast menu. The buttered and toasted roll topped with refried beans and melted cheese with a side of pico de gallo is a simple meal, but the sesame seed roll was excellent, and the pico de gallo was so fresh I wouldn't be surprised if it was prepared after I put in my order. The Mollete was also filling (I took half home) and a bargain. The printed menu said $4.50, and the chalk board menu said $4.00, but our bill said $3.50. No matter which price you're charged, it's still cheap.My partner had the Chilequiles, fried tortillas covered with your choice of mole sauce or salsa, two eggs, and a side of refried beans ($7.00) from the breakfast menu. He chose mole sauce, and I am so glad he did. I want to buy buckets of Café con Chocolate's mole sauce, that's how much I like it! I scraped my partner's plate with my fork after he was done to get all of the sauce I could into my mouth. Not classy, but, hey. I like mole sauce, but sometimes the bitterness puts me off. Bitterness is not a problem with Café con Chocolate's mole; it has a sweet edge and ends with a warm spiciness. So good.
We had already picked out the fruit-filled empanadillas from the dessert menu, but were too full to even consider eating more after finishing brunch. Thankfully, we had a thirty minute walk home ahead of us to burn off some of what we just ate.
As we walked home we could not stop talking about how much we loved Café con Chocolate - a café serving food they know and love, doing it well, and not inflating prices. We wished this small café were closer to home, but then thought better of that dangerous idea. A little walk never hurt anyone.
Café con Chocolate
2100 S. Norwood St., Philadelphia, PA, 19145
Thurs-Sat: 10 am - 8 pm
Sun: 10 am - 3 pm