Three years ago I introduced myself to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in the Bahamas and the experience has stuck with me ever since. Bobby's love of Southwestern flavors in combination with the grill have left me nearly speechless. The cooked to perfection New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin sitting in a pool of Bourbon-Ancho Chili sauce and accompanied by a melt in your mouth Sweet Potato Tamale topped with a bit of crushed pecan butter pulls at my heart to this day. Or how about the bursting with flavor Coffee Rubbed Fillet Mingnon, tender as butter and sitting atop a Mushroom Ancho Chili Sauce? Yep... good to the last drop!
|Coffee Rubbed Filled Mingon|
Liv has a penchant for a good steak. Last year at her Vegas Nationals I took her and my son to Mr. Flay's Mesa Grill, located in Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip and enjoyed introducing them to the world of finer dining. Neither had ever been to a restaurant of this caliber nor had they experienced meat of the quality served at the Mesa Grill - cooked to perfection slightly better than I do on my home backyard grill. ;)
As soon as the Dance National Competition location was announced as Las Vegas last August, Liv asked, "Mom... can we go to Mesa Grill again??". Letting her think that I was only doing it for her, I gave a resounding, "Of course!" and we started counting the days.
Reservations in hand, we continued the Star System Dance National Dance Competition (see here for Liv and Savannah's first few days) with the solo section of the event. Arriving at the venue with costume and shoes in hand, Liv set to stretching and I was proud at the focus she brought to her warm up. She had scored fairly well throughout the year, but I think I could see a few butterflies flitting around her mid section as she prepped with her teacher to head on stage.
Heading to the audience I once again became teary watching our girls dance. These girls truly pour their hearts out into their performances and I find myself bursting with pride at their sheer confidence and stage presence. Liv took the stage, and through my tears I saw her dance one of her best performances to Sarah Jessica Parker's "Shy" from Once Upon a Mattress. We settled back and waited for results, fingers crossed for a Top 10 scoring.
Awards began some 2 hours later, and the girls and boys who competed in the solo portion of the event took the stage for results. Our studio scored well in the Top 10-4 spots with one of our tap solos scoring 8th and another 7th! Liv's name had not been called as they placed 3 large trophies at the front of the stage, meaning either she did darn well or didn't make Top 10. As they called 3rd, her name was not called nor was it called for 2nd. Hearts pounding we knew this was either really good or better luck next year. Fingers crossed and hearts in our throats we held our breath as they built up the first place position. Tears began an unending stream from my eyes as the announcer called Liv and "Shy" as the 1st Place Junior Soloist!
With reason to celebrate, Liv and I headed the next evening to Mesa Grill. In anticipation she had skipped lunch arriving at "Bobby's place" nearly weak with hunger and with high hopes for the meal of her life. Replicating her meal from last year she enjoyed her medium rare, man-sized Fillet minus the Coffee Rub, with gusto, promptly looking up and asking, "Mom... can I have another??" I enjoyed my fillet with the coffee rub atop the Ancho Chili Sauce and answered, "No... you can not have another." Offering her some of the decadent side of Roasted Corn with Chipotle Aoli, Lime and Cotija (seasoned with just the right amount of jalapeños and cilantro to make your mouth water!) and some of Bobby's crumbly and zesty Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins we filled nearly every last spot in our stomachs, but somehow did save a tiny bit of room for dessert.
Liv chose Bobby's Churros, dusted with cinnamon sugar and star anise and served with a side of a Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce. I had thoughts of the Mango Buttermilk Upside Down Cake served with a Rum Caramel Sauce and Mango Ice Cream, but the waiter suggested that unless I adored rum, the cake was very "rummy" he explained, that I might enjoy the Strawberry and Cherry Shortcake with a Crème Fraiche Whipped Cream and Wild Strawberry Ice Cream. While "enjoy" might not be quite a strong enough word to describe my true feelings about the shortcake, he was right! Raw sugar topped, tender biscuits sandwiched the flavorful strawberries and cherries with a delightful combination of the Crème Fraiche and Ice Cream eliciting true groans of pleasure.
|Churros with Dark Chocolate Sauce and Strawberry/Cherry Shortcake|
Smiles all around, Liv and I sat back and grinned at each other as we gushed about each and every part of the meal. Truly a treat for the two of us, we are doubly excited that not only did we get this visit, but we already have reservations at his Bahamas, Paradise Island location in about 6 weeks. Mesa Grill, here we come... again!
Bobby Flay's Blue and Yellow Corn MuffinsAdapted from Bobby Flay
Arriving before your meal at the Mesa Grill is a delightful basket of breads... while the Jalapeño Asiago Bread is my all time favorite, I've yet to find a proper replication of the recipe. However, the Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins, my second favorite bread, zesty and flavorful are easy to make at home taste just like the restaurant!
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⅓ cups whole milk
4 large eggs
2 Tbs honey
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
2 jalapeño chiles, finely diced (adjust for heat preference)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp kosher salt (I reduce the salt to 3 T)
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Divide the mixture evenly between 2 large bowls.
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, red pepper, jalapeños, corn and cilantro. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup and add half of the mixture to each of the large bowls containing the onion mixture.
Put the blue cornmeal and yellow cornmeal in 2 separate bowls. To each bowl, add ⅔ cups flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix each cornmeal mixture into a bowl with the liquid mixture.
Pour an equal amount of each batter side by side into each muffin cup and bake for about 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooking rack.
Note: I got more than the 12 muffins... batter was enough to fill the 12 muffins of the large tin and 6-8 mini muffins in addition.
Proud Mom Moment - Liv's rendition of "Shy"!