Pork Belly Up to Brunch at Barrio


Barrio's waffles and chicken and syrup

Barrio's towering waffles and chicken

Up close and personal with Barrio's delectable Benedict

Barrio's outdoor patio, on a day a little too chilly for al fresco dining

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Sad news first: Alejandro (Alex) Meza, owner and head honcho namesake of Capitol Hill’s cute and cozy Meza on 14th is leaving town this weekend. No worries, as his cousin is taking over the Spanish restaurant and bar, so things should continue on just fine with another Meza in charge. And it’s not that sad, considering Alex is leaving for Los Angeles, due to his long-time lady Tara Lynn’s increasingly successful modelling career (rrrawwrrr). Stop by Meza soon—and do not leave without trying their homemade infused vodkas—to wish one Meza a fond farewell and/or welcome another member of the family.

Meanwhile, now that Seattle weather is warming up (except for today) and it’s almost summer (ditto), a young person’s thoughts turn to brunch. To celebrate, Barrio on 12th has revamped their brunch menu [pdf]. And while there are myriad reasons to go to Barrio when it’s lovely out—they’ve got a nice little patio area and even inside the restaurant, the windows open up like old-timey garage doors; the bartending staff is on-point and top-notch; and Monday night means half-price tequila—now there’s a new reason, care of the new brunch menu. Three words: pork belly benedict.

Yes, the new menu also offers fried chicken and waffles, topped with chipotle maple syrup with poblano peppers in the waffle itself, and a croque señorita, Barrio’s Mexi take on the croque madame, but let’s get real, the pork belly benedict is where it’s at. A brief description: chile-braised pork belly atop toasted brioche, with poached eggs, habanero hollandaise sauce, and fresh tomato salsa, accompanied by a fried jalapeño and papas bravas. As a whole, the dish is rich and indulgent, succulent and spicy, and probably should come with a side of defibrillator. I am generally a farmer’s breakfast kind of girl, but if I was ordering anything else on that menu for my morning meal, I’d like to add some a la carte pork belly, or a little dipping/sipping ramekin of hollandaise. Really, it’s just that ridiculously good. As SunBreaker MvB declared, he hadn’t experienced a brunch this memorable since his discovery of Monsoon’s pork belly. You see the trend.