Huevos rancheros at Tazza Kitchen

Huevos rancheros at Tazza Kitchen

what: huevos rancheros

cost: $11

where: Tazza Kitchen, Trenholm Plaza, 4840 Forest Dr.

more: 803-782-0760, tazzakitchen.com

Trenholm Plaza is where I bought my first bra, my first cigarettes, and loads of candy and blue eyeshadow, all transported in the woven plastic basket of my sky-blue Schwinn 3-speed.

So what happened to Trenholm Plaza? Let’s be honest: It got way better. Though the Tapp’s Department Store outpost, the drugstore, and the two (yes, two) bookstores were amazing, the current iteration rocks. You’ll find pants, produce, pretty decent bed linens — and brunch (also breakfast, lunch and dinner). And Tazza is one of the highlights.

The restaurant is always crowded, but, somewhat magically, there’s never too long of a wait. Recently, I parked, went in to ask about the wait for a table, and had just enough time to go pick up a few things at Fresh Market before that table was ready. I had brunch on the patio, where it seemed miraculously more temperate than the parking lot. Then I realized there was a light heat emanating from some sort of contraption next to our table. Hooray for perfect weather, no matter where you sit.

And hooray for huevos rancheros. Tazza’s version resembles a streamlined UFO, with two perfectly baked eggs, yolks soft and ready to draw the other ingredients together. Those eggs, along with black beans, sofrito and chorizo perched on two overlapping tostadas and balanced over caramelized hash browns, combine to make a darn fine brunch. How does one caramelize potatoes? No idea. Please teach me your ways. At first sight, I thought they were onions, but nope. Just delicious, delightfully crispy (and also somehow chewy) potatoes. For about the 85th time that Sunday, I thanked the Lord and said, “Amen.”

The coffee at Tazza is top-notch, and my double decaf espresso hit the spot. But for you brunchers who like a cocktail with your huevos, Tazza won’t disappoint. The cocktail menu rivals any you’ll find in Columbia.

Tazza is open for brunch on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner every day from 4:30 p.m. (closing at various times). It offers a daily happy hour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.