I was invited to be a guest at a preview dinner held at Mesa Latin Kitchen. However my love of the fabulous food is all my own.
As you may recall this past Tuesday I wrote about the excitement and nerves that were setting in as I was venturing out of my comfort zone to try a new restaurant in that was so not like any place I had ever eaten at before. As I agonized over what to wear (often questioning does this outfit make me look fat?) I finally decided on the right one which go figure was the original outfit that I had tried on.
Once I was ready I waited for Kathi from Queen Jarrell to come as she was the driver on this culinary expedition and I navigated. To say I was pleasantly surprised about this particular event would be an understatement.
As soon I stepped in the door of Mesa Latin Kitchen I knew that all those fears were so unfounded. The decor was not only warm and inviting but reminded me a lot of the homes of husband’s family in Mexico. The tables were made of dark wood and as one blogger said it was like they knew that people would be taking pictures of the fabulous food.
We were shown to our table, which I would like to nickname the fun table. I haven’t laughed and felt more at ease than I did in the company of these women. There were several that I had met at the Southern Women’s Show a few months back but never really had a long conversation with any of them. But you tend to bond with people over new adventures and eating octopus. Yes I said eating octopus, but I will get to that in a minute.
We started off our night as our wonderful waitress, Indiana, asked if we would like to place a drink order. I don’t normally drink a lot but on occasion I do have a drink every now and then. I decided since I wasn’t driving why not give it a shot. I ordered the pineapple rumtini. The menu said it was the perfect blend of fresh pineapple juice and Puerto Rican rum. And that it was – it was so delicious that I decided to have another after a few courses.
We were told that we would be sampling items from the menu. And a sampling it was.
We were treated with plantain chips and salsa. The salsa reminded me of salsa that my mother-in-law makes. After that were fried QuesoBlanco (fried cheese) and Mixed Marinated Olives. I think the olives were the one thing the whole night that I did not eat. But don’t worry I didn’t go hungry.
The next sampling was Coconut Rice, Avocado Tomato Salad, Colombian Empanadas, and Shrimp Ceviche. The presentation of the food was amazing. The coconut rice was a mixture of crab, coconut cream, peas and rice and served in a coconut shell. Who knew that you could serve food out of a coconut? My favorite of this course were the Colombian Empanadas. They were absolutely delicious.
The next course ( yep that is right I said course) was Grilled octopus, Smoked Pork Ribs, and a flatbread. Although I was a little frightened of the octopus I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would slimy but it wasn’t. But my favorite of this course were the smoked pork ribs. However there was no way to eat ribs and be lady like so I did what other women at the table did and just picked it up and ate it with my hands.
Next came something that I totally did not expect, after this course, the waiters came around with finger bowls filled with warm water so that we can wash the stickiness off of our fingers. I felt like we were being given a manicure.
After our little break from eating, the next course came. The items in this course were all amazing. We were treated to Vaca Frita (skirt steak), Chicken Imperial, Chilled Asparagus with Lemon Mojo, Fried Lemons, and Curried Quinoa. Although all the food was delicious, I just could not get over the taste of the Fried Lemon. I have never had anything that taste that delicious and was totally to die for.
Before the dessert course was served we were treated with a visit from the chef himself. Chef Douglas Rodriguez was so humble and is an amazing chef. He was once a contestant of. Of course, we had to get a picture with him.
Then the dessert came, before the dessert I decided to try the Sangria,which was totally amazing. The dessert course consisted of goat cheese flan, guava pistachio pound cake served with pistachio ice cream, coconut tapioca pudding served in a coconut shell, and smoked bacon wrapped dates. All the desserts were absolutely to die for.
The Mesa Latin Kitchen was so worth the over an hour drive it took us to get there. And I would so go back this weekend to celebrate their grand opening, but I already had other plans for my birthday. They officially open today July 17 at 4 pm.
Mesa Latin Kitchen is a modern, tapas-style restaurant in Durham, North Carolina offering a unique array of sensational Latin cuisine. Each of Mesa’s mouthwatering dishes is full of bold Latin flavors, with each recipe masterfully created by renowned James Beard Award winner, Chef Douglas Rodriguez. Patrons can indulge in a meal and drinks inside the spacious restaurant, at the custom cement-topped bar or outside on the beautiful patio. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. The restaurant is also open on Sunday for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. They are located at 2701 Hillsborough Rd in Durham NC . If you are ever in the area stopped by and eat with them, I promise you won’t be disappointed.