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.
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.
Mexican Restaurant in St. Paul
864 University Ave W
St. Paul, MN 55104
HOURS: 10am-8pm or 9pm when busy
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
PRICE RANGE: Entrees (not including a la carte) from $4 to $14, Kids’ entrees from $2 to $3.75