My sister and Brother-in-law ROCK!!!!!
At the end of last year they decided to give my mom and me their time-share because they would not use it and they didn’t want it to go to waste. We debated and debated where to use it and after a huge search we settled for Las Vegas. This would be my first time in Las Vegas… Yes, I was until last month – a Vegas Virgin. I had been to Reno, NV when I was about 14 or 15 yrs old… but it has rained quite a lot since then.
I am not into gambling. We have casinos here in Puerto Rico and that’s not something that entices me. I have played a bit, I have won some too, but usually using other people’s money… but that’s an entirely different topic. The thing is… what do you do in Las Vegas if you are not a gambler and are traveling with your mom??? We both like to have a good time, but let’s face it, traveling with your mom is not exactly the equivalent of Party Central… And because we didn’t have to spend $$ on Hotel or Airfare (I told you, my sister ROCKS!!!!!), we decided to invest in 2 things – Shows and Food.
To me, the best restaurant we went to was MESA GRILL, yes, of Bobby Flay’s fame. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting all that much, but the ambiance, the service and the food were awesome. Had we had the chance, we had eaten here again…
Mesa Grill is located at the Caesar’s Palace Resort and just like most any restaurant in Las Vegas, it’s nestled in between the casino’s slot machines and game tables. We missed it the first time around we were looking for it. We went for lunch because we were into having big lunches and smaller snacks for dinner… that way we had the chance to eat at these celebrity restaurants at a fraction of the dinner prices. Besides, coordinating show times and dinner reservations was giving me stress and we opted for this arrangement.
One thing that helps us vegetarians is when eating at these restaurants, is we usually have to pick from options in the salads and appetizers menus. The restaurant guides tell you these are $$$ or $$$$ restaurants, but because you’re not ordering from the meat-heavy entrée menu, our bill was usually less than the average price the guides said.
This is what we had at Mesa Grill, and everything we ordered we split between my mom and I:
Being that we were in a fancy Bobby Flay restaurant, I wanted to order something nice to drink. Nice but non-alcoholic, it was still 2:30PM… so the server brought his recommendation. Don’t ask me what combination it was, but it was citrusy, tangy, sweet and yummy. And pretty-looking too, no??
While we waited for our salads, we received a basket filled with breads and these cornmeal muffins. Half the muffin was yellow cornmeal and half was blue cornmeal or a combination of the two. It had corn kernels in the batter, they were spectacular. I was a bit hungry so I asked for 2 more… my apologies for not writing down what was in the butter, but we did not have just plain butter with his corn muffins… Again, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!!!
Gala Apple Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese and Ancho Chile Vinnaigrette
I could have eaten a whole salad… and even though I am a spice wimp, I could tolerate the heat in the dressing. This was scrumptious and delectable. Big adjectives here…
Cremini Mushroom Quesadilla
This was so big we almost couldn’t finish it… It’s a 3 tier quesadilla, with roasted cremini mushrooms in between 2 tortillas and melted cheeses in the other middle between tortilla 2 and 3. I can’t remember what was in the Salsa Verde, but it was not cilantro heavy and it was delicious. We ordered it without the egg on top… and even without the egg, it was delicious with the crema Mexicana squirts on top… Mmmmm.
Goat Cheese Queso Fundido with Blue Corn Tortillas
OMG!!! Que rico!!!! This was “to die” for… I can’t tell you what’s the other cheese, but the regular melted cheese mixed in with the tanginess of the goat cheese and the pepper rajas on top… perfection!!! A standing ovation to Mr. Bobby Flay… My mom and I were fighting over the pepper rajas… Again, we are chiles wimps, but these rajas were the perfect balance to all that creamy cheesiness. I ate ALL of it… ALL OF IT!!!
We didn’t get a chance to have dessert… I wanted to try the CHURROS, but they were out of them already at the lunch service. And the rest of the desserts were egg-heavy so we said PASS. Besides, we were full already… ordering dessert would have been gluttony.
I am seeking MESA GRILL the next time I travel to NYC… I certainly did not expect to eat as well as I did. I am always skeptical of places with lots of hype… And the server, when I mentioned I was vegetarian, went out of his way to point out what I could order and what I should stay away. During my next visit, I want to order the Chiles Rellenos filled with Roasted Eggplant and Manchego Cheese, part of the Entrée part of the Menu, and they sound especially appetizing – kind of like Mexico and Spain meeting in the middle.
I am so pleased big name chefs, like Bobby Flay, have vegetarian alternatives in their menus… for us vegetarians to enjoy the mastery of their cooking skills and flavor combinations. I wish more local chefs would take notes from these hi-profile chefs and be more open to vegetarian patrons.
Stay tuned, next we’ll be sharing our experience at Otto, from Mario Batali…