BITE-SIZED

So Much More Than Sweets

Fuel up on Venezuelan-inspired breakfast, lunch 
and dinner at this Riverside gem

Posted:

How can you not love a restaurant that shares its name with a delicious dessert made from three different milks?

Owners Eddie and Irene Sweda opened Tres Leches at the corner of Stockton and Myra streets in historic Riverside eight months ago, after relocating from Springfield.

Selling more than just sweets, Tres Leches is open for breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. The Swedas' passion for creating good food is contagious, and Irene Sweda's tried-and-true Venezuelan recipes are made from scratch.

One standout that I haven't had anywhere else in Northeast Florida is the arepa: a round hand-held corn cake that encases your choice of fixings. I've found that butter, black beans and queso blanco make for a nice light breakfast or lunch. It's a bit messy, but the outer corn cake proves sturdy enough to support the fillings. (Insider tip: You can order breakfast items like egg and cheese as fillings.) Wash it down with Tres Leches' freshly made House Lime-n-ade that's refreshing and not too sweet.

The menu features pastries, quiches, artisan breads, sandwiches, cakes and homemade soups. I stumbled upon something on my last visit that's worth sharing: On the third Saturday of each month, Tres Leches offers a $15 three-course brunch, with a choice of coffee, tea or fresh-squeezed orange juice (with complimentary refills).

I tried the brunch recently and was impressed. First up was a spreadable Mediterranean mousse with a stack of crisp crostini. The mousse reminded me of a Greek-inspired, five-layer dip that had been blended together. The feta, olives, onion, cucumber, yellow squash, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and spices fused perfectly.

From the three entrée options, I chose the asparagus, leek and gruyere quiche, but I also snagged a few bites of the tuna and orzo salad. The tuna, flown in from the West Coast, was fresh and flavorful. Full from the first two courses, I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the dessert: A trio of lemon mousse, chopped strawberries and fresh mint sat atop a thin, crisp cookie. Delicious!

With seating inside for roughly 20 and a few seats outside, the restaurant plans to add more outdoor seating in the fall.

Specializing in homemade sweets, Tres Leches has an expansive dessert case featuring tres leches cake, marquesa de chocolate, strawberry meringue cake, French macaroons and meringue cookies polvorosas (wedding cookies). You might want to grab something to take with you.

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