After a bit of recent social media chatter, I realized I had yet to visit Mesa Veracruz Coastal Cuisine on West Jefferson in Oak Cliff. My friend, Mesa neighbor Jim Richardson of Oak Cliff Cellars, suggested we run over there. Jim's wines will be featured on the new Mesa patio, and he is also planning some fun wine dinners with the Mesa folks.
Mesa strikes a pose on the bustling little strip of West Jefferson between Beckley and Zang – just a couple blocks from 35E.
The Reyes family – with Olga and Raul in the kitchen, daughter Jaret front of the house and Raul Jr on the floor – radiate genuine enthusiasm for the cuisine and the guests. The rest of the staff is equally warm and helpful. Let's eat:
^L: Surtido Veracruzano: enfijoladas, plantanos rellenos, empanada, picadas.
^R: Robalo and Gulf shrimp Ceviche. Nice.
^L: Chilpachol de Jaiba y Camaron: spicy seafood broth with fresh crab, Gulf shrimp, dumplings, mussels. The broth was remarkable.
^R: Sopa de Lentejas: lentil soup with pork ribs, plantains, tomato, boiled egg.
^L: Costillas en Adobo: pork ribs in red chile and plantain sauce, jasmine rice.
^R: Huachinango ala Veracruzana: fillet of Gulf snapper sauteed with stewed onions, capers, olives, tomato, jalapeños, carrots.
^ and my destination dish, Mole Mama Cata: Chef Olga's unique mole with over 20 ingredients, recipe has passed down from her mother Catalina. Here with duck. Mole, Mole, Mole! Just divine.
^L: Chocoflan Flan de Naranja; Tres Leches; Arroz con Leche.
Already been here three times – love it. Mico Rodriguez – yes, of Mi Conina fame – offers us Mr. Mesero (Mr. Waiter). The menu touts "American Standards, Mexican Classics" I'm all over the Mex-Mex stuff, myself.
It's a great space (previously Burger Girl, and before that Lombardi's La Cubanita) at 4444 McKinney Ave.
Color accents the room and explodes on the plate.
^L Chiles: Jalapeño, Pulla, Habanero y Tomate, and the house salsa.
^R Toreados – pan fried Serrano peppers w/ grilled onions. Here with Aguacates (Avocado).
^L Don't call it a Mambo Taxi! – it's the El Santo (same effect, as you might imagine).
^R Complimentary pickled goodness! I'm so crazy about these I can't see straight – however it may be the heat, on second thought.
Delicious Caldos at $5:
^L Pollo y Tomatillo – Mexican pozole verde – pulled chicken, tomatillo, cilantro broth. I have this on each visit – sure hits the spot with the crisp air.
^R Fideo y Pollo – Consomme de pollo – con esencia de chile morita.
"The American Side" of the menu features a Caesar ("have to have it on the menu"), Saturday Afternoon Pork Sandwich, Texas Coast Shrimp Salad, Strip Steak and Fries, and The Rose Burger. It's in honor of Rose Stivers' famous double meat cheeseburger, served for decades at her Rose’s Bluebonnet Sandwich Shop at the corner of Greenville and Yale, until she passed away in 2003. There is a tidbit about her here.
^L Mico is testing this preparation out – steak prepared either on the oak wood grill or the plancha.
^R Arroz – a sampling of the three rices. Individual sides are also served with this wonderful mole.
^ a Combo Plate $7-$9; and a Taco Plate $7.
Service is attentive and endearing, this is not Mico's first rodeo.
^L A bunch of tacos, we had to try them all. Among them: Jardineros, Carnitas Mi General, Fino, Barbacoa, Callejeros, and Huerfano.
^R The Pescado Tacos – salmon, Mesero slaw, elote rostizado, tomate.
^L 5 Milk Pastel.
I adore this place and have brought all types of my food pals here to unanimous delight.
Well done, Mico – nice to have you back.
I really dug the design of the place, myself.
There is a large and lively bar between the two dining areas.
^ Wine guys know tequila as well, so we took advantage of Komali's tequila flights and sampled a dozen nice reposados – an excellent value.
^ Tamalitos del dia: Oaxaca style tamales topped with mole coloradito; ^ Quesadillas del dia: a trio of quesadillas of the day served with roasted tomato and raw tomatillo salsas.
^ Queso de Cabra: morita chile goat cheese topped with a sweet piloncillo sauce and grilled bread (a BIG hit at our table); ^ and the Ceviche de Pescado: fish ceviche with avocado, cilantro, tomato, red onions and totopos.
^ the Pozole de Puerco: braised pork pozole served with cabbage, radish, onion, lime and oregano.
I'll be back for the ^ Huatape Verde de Mariscos: tomatillo shrimp and avocado leaf broth with mixed seafood; ^ The somms picked us a nice Rioja.
Abraham ran back and forth from his eponymous restaurant, Salum, next door, checking in on the goings on. We had a couple service glitches, but the place was two days old – we'll be back for more.
A buddy and I ran over to a friends and family preview night at Alma – Tristan Simon’s new spot located in his previous Cuba Libre space on Henderson. Here’s a quick post to give you a look:
^ Tristan and his chef, Michael Brown (previously of Red O in L.A.)
^ The Alma & Omega: Espolon Blanco Tequila, hand pressed Serrano Peppers, Cilantro, Creme of Coconut, freshly squeezed Lime Juice.
^ Anejo Bravo: Pueble Viejo Tequila, Agave Nectar, Angostura Bitters, Grapefruit Zest: ^ Brandied Horchata: Gran Duque D’Alba Spanish Brandy, Dry Sack Sherry, house made Horchata, freshly grated Canela Bark.
The menu isn’t quite set – but we sampled a number of dishes. Not a bunch of description – just take a gander:
^ Chef’s Salad; ^ Ceviche.
^ Shrimp and Rice.
^ Duck and frijoles refritos.
^ A real standout was the Cochinita Pibil – a Mayan-style slow-cooked achiote-marinated pit pork dish. Nice.
^ Of course, the bar scene upstairs was already rockin.
^ The fireplace upstairs.
^ The delicious Tres Leches.
This place will be a big hit – and the food is very promising – bonus!
Recently, we took some work newbies out on the town and ended up at El Ranchito in Oak Cliff.
I was pleased to take the opportunity to get my Cabrito on!
^ Camerones Cocktail; ^ and the Cabrito en Salsa: Baby goat topped with salsa de tomate. Served with charro beans, rice & pico de gallo. Nice.
We dropped by Manny’s Uptown Mexican Restaurante in Addison (across the street from Snuffer’s on Midway) to enjoy the patio weather and some lunch. Comida? “What’s Spanish for “lunch” I know milk is leche…?” (That’s a bastardization of a movie quote – good luck guessing that one.)
^We enjoyed the Brisket Queso; ^CK got the #11 – I happily devoured a bite or two.
^I went with the Two Beef Burritos: ^They came with one Sauce and I added another: the Tomatillo, and the Pica-Pica – a nicely fiery and flavorful choice, mealy with dried red jalapeños. Pretty good stuff, I’ll be back. They have half a dozen other interesting sauces… the Chile Vinegar is calling me.
So… We needed good comfort foods the other day – and CK and I were on a mission. It was still pretty hot out so we decided to save our local burrito hideout, DJ's, for another time… (it's steamy in there …in January.) We drove west… to Belt Line and Josey – or thereabouts – and arrived at the Carrollton Herrera's.
There have been a few locations of this establishment that have come and gone over the years… and I have enjoyed the charm of each, particularly the original which was across the street from the current Maple Ave. location. It was a little adobe shack with hardly any room for tables… Somebody took me there literally 25 years ago – cool. But, anyway, I never even knew this Carrollton one was out here, until now.
Above: The delicious and spicy bean soup; and one of the satisfying Lunch Specials.
^ (Weird iPhone Art Pic):
CK needs more hot sauce (He will pay for this later… ); and the Tacos al Carbon – I enjoyed these.
…and the sopapillas… time for a nap! Just reminds you to run out and have a yummy, lard-laced, dodgy-decadent meal once in a while… sooo sating, and resets the clock for the next coquette draped in dining finery.