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A Sentimental Sunday Brunch at Ursula Cafe & Bakery

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

For a lot of Mexican-Americans, “the border crossed us” is a phrase that hits very close to home. I’m sure you’ve learned about the Mexican-American War in your high school history class, and how the United States got claims over the states of New Mexico, Texas, and California (to name a few) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. While this seems like a very long time ago, and in some ways it was, there are still generations of Chicano/a/e families that inhabit those areas of the American Southwest, not quite Mexican, not quite American (see Eva Longoria’s interview with Forbes). My family traces back to various areas of New Mexico, spanning from long before the border secession and up until my grandparents were born. The melding of Mexican, Spanish, and Indigenous traditions created a middle-ground culture for many with a heritage similar to mine. While I didn’t grow up in New Mexico, I grew up with much of the food and language that my ancestors had passed down. When I moved to New York for college, I found myself missing this part of my identity, in particular the food. No more blue corn atole (a type of porridge) or arroz con leche (or “rice cereal” as I like to call it) before school in the morning, and no more smell of hatch chiles cooking in the fall. While traditional Mexican restaurants sufficed for a while, I found myself craving those southwestern flavors from the kitchens of my Dad and Grandma. This led me to find Ursula New Mexican Inspired Cafe and Bakery in Brooklyn, New York 

Ursula, which just celebrated its third birthday, is owned by chef Eric See from Albuquerque, NM. The restaurant is named after See’s grandmother, the “matriarch of a big ass family, a former corrections officer, muscle car owner, motorcycle driving, horse riding, and full-out Leo, born in 1933 in the small town of Ponderosa, New Mexico,” according to the restaurant website. In addition to making delicious food, Ursula is dedicated to community engagement and hosts Queer Movie Nights in the backyard. In early September, Ursula was a part of a chile roast, an autumnal New Mexican staple. 

On the sunny first day of October, a few friends and I made our way to Brooklyn. Upon arriving, it was very clear that Ursula is a neighborhood favorite. There was a bustling line for coffee and baked goods, and people talking and laughing out front. It had all the comfort of a home kitchen. We took a table outside on the back patio, colorful tables, recycled tequila bottles, and dried chiles decorated the dining space. I was overjoyed to see the plethora of vegetarian options on the menu, and I ended up ordering the vegetarian breakfast burrito, which featured that classic NM green chile flavor. This, in combination with the horchata tea latte, quenched my thirst for a taste of home.

Ordering and paying was incredibly easy, using a QR scan system, Emily Gorman, a sophomore at Pace, and Fordham student Sofia Hernandez noted that this system made the experience very low stress not having to split a check, saying “it is very efficient for groups, it is less worry for waiters and customers. I wish more restaurants used a system like this.” Between the cozy ambiance, amazing food, and friendly staff, Ursula is a must-visit. Tara Siegel, a Pace University sophomore says, “As a big brunch lover, I’m always looking for a new place to go to, and this is one of my favorites I’ve found in the city.” I couldn’t be happier with my visit to Ursula, I will most definitely be back for the blue corn pancakes, sopaipillas, and vegan arroz con leche.

Emilia Valencia is a general member of Her Campus at Pace University. She typically writes pieces covering television and movies in the comedy genre. Before she joined Her Campus, Emilia was a staff writer for her high school newspaper “The Franklin Post” in Portland, Oregon, where she primarily covered pop culture topics. She is currently a sophomore at Pace University in New York City, and is majoring in Communications and Media Studies with a minor in Film. It is her goal to become a television writer after she finishes university. In her free time, Emilia can be found practicing guitar, roller skating, and watching spooky movies (all at the same time!) While she is in no way fashion forward, she enjoys vintage shopping and giving new life to time-forgotten pieces. Emilia is a big music fan and enjoys listening to everything from The Beatles to Blackpink. She also considers herself quite skilled at shouting Jeopardy answers at the TV.