Last night we had the chance to dine at the Mesa Grill in Las Vegas (at Caesars Palace). H had been there before and really liked it. It was my first time. Although I am not the biggest Bobby Flay’s fan I was looking forward to trying Mesa.
Overall the service was excellent. It was friendly, unpretentious and professional. There were ten of us including a toddler and our waiter was textbook good on helping us with everything.
Food was very good, but I would not considered it in the great/fantastic category. In fact, some of the dishes were excellent. Others were a bit “meh, it’s good but for the price…not that great”.
I ordered the Chorizo Meatballs for appetizers and the Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit as the main entree. The chorize meatballs were fantastic. Great smoky fire, perfectly cooked and the sauce was also delicious. The Rabbit was more in the “meh” category. It was good, but nothing special. The couscous was very bland (the last thing you’d expect from a Bobby Flay’ dish).
Some of the other diners had different experience. H loved her Chile Verde Cioppino. Another friend was lukewarm on the Espresso steak.
Overall I am glad we went. We had lots of fun. But I also now know there are better places to go in Vegas.
I ordered the Seelbach. It was really good and worked well with food.
Jalapeno Corn Muffins
Crispy Blue Corn Lobster Tacoc plus Pickled Habanero Relish
Chorizo Meatballs with Red Chile Tomato Sauce plus Cotija
Cascabel Chile Crusted Rabbit. Toasted Cous Cous, Fava Beans, Smoked Red Pepper Sauce plus Queso Blanco.
Green Chile Cioppino with Jumbo Prawn, Scallop, Grouper, Little Neck Clams, Mussels. Served with Blue Corn Stick plus Scallion Butter
Recently I had had lunch with a friend at Local 360. This is how Local 360 describes itself:
Local 360 is a sustainable restaurant and food producer, based in the heart of downtown at the corner of 1st and Bell. Our emphasis is on local sourcing, with the majority of it falling within a 360 mile radius of Seattle.
We ordered the special there: chicken fried steak with an egg over grits. It was excellent. A bit on the not-so-light lunch side of things, but the chicken was moist and flavorful. I’ll have to visit for dinner.
During our recent weekend in Seabrook our friend Preben made some awesome grilled oysters. He calls them “Burton Style BBQ Oysters from Lydies”.
We had some nice local fresh oysters. Preben added a bit of cheese and a spicy mix. Good stuff.
This is a simple, quick and tasty dish for a rainy day (which happens a lot in Seattle) lunch.
The one tip is to use one pan to cook the mix greens and than the sausages. Finally use a bit of chicken stock to deglaze the pan. It’d result in a very thick and flavorful sauce that you can use on the sausage and polenta.
credits to jurek_durczak
This past weekend I was talking about Bourbon vs Ryes with a few friends (we were in a house in the Pacific Coast for razor clamming…and bourbon in the evening was a nice complement).
In somewhat a timely coincidence the guys at seriouseats just posted a fantastic primer about Bourbon. You can find it here.
So What is bourbon?
In brief, bourbon is a whiskey, made predominantly from corn and aged in charred oak barrels
or in more legal speaks:
Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. (Other grains in the mix may include wheat, rye, malted rye, and malted barley, in any combination.)
Aged in new charred-oak barrels.
Distilled to no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume (ABV). In practice, most bourbon is distilled out at a lower proof than this.
Entered into the barrel for aging at a proof no higher than 125 (62.5% ABV).
Bottled at no less than 80 proof (40% ABV).
Where is bourbon made?
The other interesting thing is that you might assume that Bourbon is from Kentucky… well, not necessarily. Although the number one producing state is Kentucky (given the abundance of corn and iron-less water) it is also made in other states. There seems to be a distillery even in Washington State (Woodinville Whiskey).
One final interesting fact that the article covers is the fact that most of the bourbons are made with GMO corn. One of the two distillery that do not use GMO corn is Wild Turkey – which happens to be owned by the Campari Group.
Anyway, head over to the seriouseats post to learn more good stuff!
btw… this is what we were drinking in Seabrook.
credits to sidereal
If you are in the market for a bourbon… here’re some ideas.
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This past weekend we headed out to the Pacific coast for a razor clamming gateway. This was my first time, but fortunately our friends had been there before. “Razor clamming” is essentially the harvesting of the pacific razor clam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_razor_clam). In Washington State the harvesting of razor clams in is highly regulated. You can find location and dates here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/. You will also need to get a Wild ID.
One of the things that early on sounded very restricting is that you can also catch up to 15 clams a day. It sounded very little…well it’s not. In a couple of hours it is not easy for beginners to even get to ten.
We headed to Seabrook. Housing is great there, easy access to a great beach with little day traffic, and pricing is great as well.
We lucked out with the weather. It was sunny and warm all weekend, which made the morning activities much easier and a lot more fun.
As for the actual cooking. We lightly fried the clams in butter after buttering them in a mix of thick cornmeal, flour, pepper and salt. The sauce was mix of mayo, wasabi, lime juice, and spicy sauce.
We are in a business trip in the Bay Area. On the way from the airport (Oakland) we were passing through Fremont and I remembered that the city is essentially the west coast capital of Afghanistan. So I called H and got the name of the the locals favorite Afghan restaurant: Salang.
We ordered Mantu for appetizer (afghan ravioli with a light white beef sauce and yogurt dressing). We followed with Chapli Kabab (very fine ground beef mix with lots of herbs and bread crumbs and than grilled) and Qabili Rice (basmati rice with lamb, nuts, mix raising, and shaved carrots).
One quick note. Alcohol is not sold in the restaurant, but you can bring your own bottles (and I believe there is no corkage fee).