Craving some Bobby Flay in me…

After watching some Throwdowns on my DVR… I got a huge craving for Fried Chicken and Waffles… but that’s not happening til this Sunday…. [going to the C&Q winner, Melba’s in Harlem] But I knew what I wanted… some fried chicken…. Bobby said that Bar Americain had it on its menu so I checked it out. UGH. Only on Mondays.. or was it Thursdays? And the Mohegan Sun one had it everyday but it was too long of a trek for some fried chicken…. now I HAD to eat at a Bobby Flay restaurant. I’d been to Mesa Grill in Summer of 2004… twice… their brunch is great… but now it was time to go back again… well, I’ve also been craving tamales….Mesa Grill it was…

My strongest memory of Mesa Grill is their bread basket… given their brunch one is even yummier.. there is one thing I could never get over…

Their corn bread is amazing. BEST CORN BREAD EVER!!!!…. A bit of heat and crunch.. with whole kernals of corn… YUM!

rough cut tuna nachos

mango-habanero hot sauce + avocado crema
I love blue chips. I’m chipist… I like colored chips :] I couldn’t taste the habanero hot sauce but the tuna was super fresh and in nice big chunks so it was delish. Totally not what I expected… but in fact better.. I was scared it would be taking “nachos” a little TOO literally…

grilled octopus salad

smoked paprika, lime, crispy shallots + basil
This was NOTHING like I expected. I…. hated it. It was mushy… even the tips – hello, the grilled octopus needs charred crispy tips!!! That’s the best part to nibble on – DUR. The sauce was just off – simple is best, this was way too complex – and tooooo much lime. It was just sour mush. I supposed soft is better than overcooked chewy tough octopus but I had a tiny nibble and just didn’t touch it again :P Blech.

shrimp+roasted garlic corn tamale

fresh corn + cilantro sauce
I’m biased when it comes to tamales…. come on… anything mexican by Rick Bayless can be nothing short of heavenly… but then this was pretty darn good…. maybe a bit heavy on the salt and sauce but the tamale with the corn was amazing. Big juicy succulent shrimp… lip smacking good…

tomato soup

charred corn, blue corn tortillas avocado + queso fresco
Delicious. It was like a new twist on classic tomato soup with a kick of spicy tortilla soup. YUM. I wish there were more.. but it was really shallow… I can be picky when it comes to cheeses or how the cheese is incorporated into my soups… french onion is usually the way I like to go for me.. but this was fresh broken apart chunks of the queso fresco… sooooo goooood :D

spanish chorizo quesadilla

fried egg, smoked tomato salsa, grilled green onion + crispy artichokes

This was the biggest portion we got of anything that night – including entrees – but as big and thick as it was it was surprisingly not heavy. The tortilla was crisp and thin.. the inside… cheesy and just the perfect amount of chorizo… none were more overwhelming than the other – perfect balance. We broke the egg on top and FINALLY… a delicious artichoke dish with cheese… this TOTALLY kicked Hell’s Kitchen’s Artichoke Quesadilla‘s booty.

blue corn pancake

barbecued duck and habanero chile-star anise sauce
This was sooo tiny – waaa… it was sooo good though… thin tender pancake with super super juicy succulent duck with this bbq like sauce… still couldn’t taste/feel any habanero – trying not to scare ppl off with heat?!?! – but it was delicious!!!!

yellow cornmeal crusted oysters

green chile-curry sauce + mango pico de gallo

Crisp and tender oysters… I’m more of a raw oyster girl…haven’t had a fried oyster in years, I think… maybe a po’boy like a few years ago… maybe hs? college? middle school? HAHAHA….  While the flavors weren’t bad, I wasn’t crazy about these…

roasted “hacked” chicken

five-chile mole, pickled red onions + roasted tomato tamale with key lime butter

The chicken was too bland on its own and there was really little mole.. I’m used to eating chicken mole COVERED in mole… Now I’m always hesitant of ordering chicken on the menu – too boring… but this MOLE… sigh. Mole :T There were some pieces that were all fat and skin and others that just tasted like… boiled chicken. But it came with it’s own tomato tamale so R and I could each have our own :]

grilled red snapper

tomato-red chile sauce, capers, olives, charred jalapenos, basil

It was too fishy for me and I wish it were a bit more tender… I only had a tiny bite and gave the rest to R.  Total disappointment with both entrees.. one of my fav Mexican restaurants on the East Coast is right near my parents’ house. They have amaaaaaazing grilled red snapper with this mango pineapple shrimp salsa… and a delicious chicken mole that my dad ALWAYS gets. Sigh… need to go there on my next trip home…

roasted tomato tamale with key lime butter

Mine mine mine!!!! We each had our own. SOOO GOOD. Probably my most favorite thing of the night :] Simple and tasty. YUM. I was scraping it clean.

crispy squash blossoms with hot+sweet yellow pepper sauce

Yay! No goat cheese in my squash blossoms.. unfortunately.. they were so salty… the hair on the back of my neck were curling :[

smoked chile collard greens

Tasted no chile, no smoke. Just tasted like steamed collard greens.. *shrug*

roasted corn, with grilled cactus, lime + cotija

We both expected grilled corn on the cob all true mexican style… but this was really really good :] Just needed some chili powder on it to give it that extra pow….

deep dish banana cream pie

praline wafer + hazelnut brittle

AMAZING!!!  Creamy innards and sooo banana-y… the crisp wafer.. yum yum yum :] SO happy.


dusted with cinnamon sugar + star anise with dark chocolate dipping sauce
And then came the “famous” cake that all the waitresses were introducing to everyone…. but us…. the one Bobby Flay made [and won] on the Coconut Cake Throwdown :D

toasted coconut layer cake

with coconut cream sauce
This was amazing. It looked like a tres leches cake to me at first.. and I expected a juicy wet falling apart cake but this was so tender and unexpectedly fluffy and full of flavor and creaminess. Delicious :] No wonder Bobby won!!!

My tip for you is to come to Mesa Grill, but just order all the appetizers and side dishes… and avoid the entrees… they’re the same size as the appetizers.. and just aren’t all that interesting to me, the two entrees we got were just meh…[altho I’m kind of curious about the green chile cioppino, cuz you guys know how much I love cioppinos]… but yeah, and get a basket of just corn bread. YUM!


  1. […] LOOOOOOOOOOOVE tamales… I love Brian’s tamales… I’m always looking for good tamales…. HOW ARE THESE NOT COOKED?!?!?!… OMG… R was laughing at me as I picked BOTH […]


  2. […] Bobby Flay… your food is always so full of flavor and wham bam kabam…. so why was your food so bland? Sigh. After narrowing down a list of brunch places I chose […]


  3. […] SO much.  The Chilean salad was just a simple onion/tomato salad with a simple vinaigrette – I. LOVE. TAMALES. And I loved this…. and even my mom couldn’t stop eating […]


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