Chilaquiles at Homi in St. Paul

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

Comfort food is a cross-cultural cuisine. A plate of spaghetti and meatballs stands equal to a piping bowl of daal or rice and beans when it comes to satisfying the diner’s need for a hot meal. At the barely two-year-old Mexican joint called Homi in St. Paul, comfort food is a guarantee.

Homi’s version of a dish called chilaquiles is an excellent source of warmth. A simple pile of fried tortilla bits is simmered in a spicy sauce of either fresh tomatillos (chilaquiles verdes) or tomatoes (chilaquiles rojos) and topped with a bright bunch of cilantro, queso fresco, and your choice of protein. The result is a heat that grows steadily with each bite and a satisfying play between crunchy edges and citrusy, salsa-soaked middles. Topped with a couple of wobbly eggs, it’s not hard to see why chilaquiles are a popular hangover food throughout Mexico. Alternate bites of creamy yolk with that sizzling sauce and you’ve got yourself a useful morning catharsis. Comfort food at its best.

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

Just don’t expect your plate of solace to emerge from the kitchen in two shakes. Everything at Homi is made from scratch, usually by owners Miguel and Hortencia. “Homi” is a combination of their first names. The married duo hails from Hidalgo and Veracruz in Mexico, but they cook up comida casera (homemade food) from all over their home country. Enchiladas, moles, empanadas, tamales, and caldos (soups) just scratch the surface of their gigantic menu, which also includes choices for children and take-out options. Homi’s the sort of place where, on a lazy Thursday night visit, the only noise rises from a cheery gaggle of the restaurant’s family members hanging out at a corner table, inviting you in their unassuming way to put up your feet and dig in.

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

Mexican Restaurant in St. Paul
864 University Ave W
St. Paul, MN 55104
HOURS: 10am-8pm or 9pm when busy
BAR: None
PRICE RANGE: Entrees (not including a la carte) from $4 to $14, Kids’ entrees from $2 to $3.75

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table



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About the Author

Emily Schnobrich

Emily comes from a family notorious for dunking whole pieces of cake into cold glasses of milk. It’s no surprise she inherited their angry sweet tooth and a devotion to pudding. Between a string of restaurant industry gigs, she has tutored writing, biked across Quebec, studied cheese, and baked cakes professionally. A perennial Minnesotan, Emily is at home in South Minneapolis where parking is prolific and the livin' is easy.

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  1. maggie 06/06/2011 Reply

    this piece makes me very very happy. best chilaquiles in town! thanks, emily!

  2. Chilaquiles are, hands down, my favorite breakfast. Yum.

  3. Sounds good, but whatever color-stripping filter was used on the photos didn’t do the food any favors.

  4. Homi is my FAVORITE mexican place in the cities, and hortencia and miguel are the sweetest couple :) so glad to read this article!

  5. David Foureyes 06/07/2011 Reply

    The review looks largely positive, however you can’t recommend Homi. Any big reasons why?

  6. David, the “recommended” field at the end there refers to whether reservations are recommended. (In this case: they are not.)

  7. David Foureyes 06/08/2011 Reply

    Got it. Thanks James.

  8. Just stumbled upon Homi this past weekend. Absolutely fantastic…loved the empanadas! Nicest owners you’ll ever meet. Thanks for great food and great service!

  9. Finally checked out this place and it was great! Agree with Emily that the owners are so nice. I did not have the chilaquiles, so I will have to go back.

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