Gah. Sorry about the quiet few days here, but I’ve been in Texas ya’ll! I flew down last weekend for my gorgeous friend Mariam’s wedding (I mean, STUNNING), and haven’t had much time at the comp. It was my very first time down in Texas and besides the wedding festivities, I was excited about the FOOD. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to explore Dallas by way of calories, but a group of us did manage to get away one day for brunch. My friend Masuma who lives down there recommended a few places, and we ended up going to La Duni Latin Kitchen at the Northpark mall location which was near our hotel.
A cupcake tree
There was the prettiest assortment of cupcakes and pastries at the little coffee bar when you enter. There were also the most gorgeous wedding cakes perched on top of random tables and shelves all over the place too. And then I saw this:
Cuatro Leches cakes?! Tres leches is one of my favorite desserts ever ever so quatros sounded downright heavenly. I already committed to ordering a slice no matter how full I was after brunch. But more on that in a bit. When we sat down, they handed us a full picture menu of just their coffees. We pored over it and when I couldn’t decide, I asked the waitress which one was their most popular and she said their cafe con leche so I went with it.
Cafe con Leche
They come in monster cup sizes and I loved the heart and star surprises on our coffee, but taste-wise, it was disappointing (and bland). My other followed their first instinct though and went with the vaca blanca which is an espresso with melted Belgium white chocolate and milk. Now THAT was amazing…the chocolate gives it such a delicious flavor that just melts in your mouth. I was a little jealous of their coffee.
They also had a full menu of cold lemonade drinks! We got their limonada con menta (mint, lemon, lime, sugar, soda and crushed ice) and limonada mango (lemon, lime, mango and soda):
Mint and mango lemonades
They were so refreshing and flavorful (I personally loved the mango one a little more– it was light and delicious). That was all just drinks…moving on to food. I guess the best way is to just show you the spread of their huevos rancheros, chilaquiles rancho la lira (crisp tortillas with melted asadero and gruyere cheeses, red and green salsa, and black beans), breakfast tacos, and brunch chile relleno (a stufffed poblano pepper filled with beans, scrambled eggs, cheddar, provolone, gruyere cheese, tortilla chips and topped with queso fresco and salsa):
Brunch is served!
Starter tortilla chips and salsa
Brunch Chile Relleno
Chilaquiles Rancho La Lira
The portions were generous and pretty much every plate was under $10. Everything from the salsa-doused eggs to the crisp roasted potatoes hit the spot without going overboard on the spice. And even though I couldn’t breathe afterwards, I was not about to deprive myself from trying their cuatro leches cake…
Cuatro Leches cake
I was soo excited when it came out dripping in their leches sauce. It’s described as a layered mantecado vanilla sponge cake in cuatro leches sauce and topped with caramelized Swiss meringue and dotted with Arequipe reduction. Maybe I was over-zealous, but after my first bite, I thought it was disappointing! Tres leches cake is usually light but this, I guess being a sponge/pound cake, was dense and just too sweet for me. I know this point of comparison may not be useful for most, but it sort of tasted like the Indian sweet called ras malai which is a cream-soaked dessert as well. I love ras malai, but this wasn’t supposed to be that. I guess I was also comparing it to tres leches cake, thinking it’d be the original on steroids (basically a taste explosion of tres leches), but it was really different. Some of my friends really liked it though — they also never had tres leches before!
La Duni Latin Kitchen & Coffee Studio
8687 N. Central Expy #1516
Dallas, TX 75231
Occasion: Exploring Dallas
(Out of three stars)
Food: ** (loses a star for their disappointing cafe con leche and over-hyped cuatro leches!)
Would I go back?: Yes. And I want to try every single thing on their coffee menu.
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