10 Aug

As far as the Food Network is concerned, most of the “talent” is pretty annoying.   Giada’s head is way to big for her tiny body,  Ina Garten moves at the speed of paint drying, Paula Deen uses far too much mayonnaise, Rachael Ray needs psychiatric help, and Tyler Florence has an odontoid x-ray on his set (he seriously does – look for it!).  Even though I find Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown” a little ridiculous, and sometimes insulting to the home chef, I can’t deny that his food does appeal to me more than most of the personalities on TV.

With that in mind, when we went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago and faced the decision of which Celebri-Chef restaurant to dine at, Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace seemed like a good choice.  Admittedly, we had to eliminate a lot of restaurants purely based on the menu – if it only covered different cuts of steak, it was a no.  I know that steak is supposed to be great, and expensive steak is supposed to be even better, and as someone who loves food, I, more than most, should love steak.  The truth is I hate steak.  It’s not that I’m opposed to red meat (well, I was for a while in high school because I had an irrational fear of mad cow disease, but the two year sabbatical ended in the drive thru line of In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco), I just prefer meat as more of a side dish or an ingredient in a dish.  When I saw that an option on Mesa’s menu was a Chile Relleno we made a reservation immediately.

(Ross did not find it amusing that the margaritas, albeit delicious, were magenta.)

Thankfully, Bobby Flay DID live up to the hype and Mesa Grill served up some seriously fabulous food.  Everything was delicious from the corn muffins to the, well, side of corn.  I mean, when have you ever eaten at a restaurant and said, “Oh my, this corn is quite outstanding”??  Well, it was.  Here are a few pictures of the food:

Queso Fundido

Mom ordered Grouper topped with a fried squash blossom

Ross had a tuna steak with a caper sauce

And I had the best chile relleno I’ve ever eaten.  Period.  It was utter food bliss and made me want to plan trips to other fancy Food Network Chef’s restaurants to repeat the experience.  (Luckily, we went to San Diego next and I had La Playa fish tacos and was sated for the time being)

Upon our return, we knew that simply talking about this awesome meal to everyone didn’t do it justice, and it wasn’t very nice.  A few google searches later and we found some of the recipes from Mesa Grill – the corn muffins AND the relleno!  A few nights ago we did our best to recreate Bobby’s meal:

The corn muffins were delicious!  Though we could not locate blue corn, we found that it made the muffins look less like mold, so it actually worked out.


Though the chile rellenos required a little more work, they were totally and completely worth it – though, admittedly, I could eat Manchego cheese as a meal and consider it a success.

Here’s the peppers after they’d been blistered and peeled:

Then stuffed and closed up with toothpicks:

Then fried in a cornmeal batter:


We served the muffins and rellenos up with a side of black beans and vodka tonics.  Though I missed the background noise of slot machines and the tobacco infused scent that is Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas – this meal was pretty darn good, too.


One Response to “Throwdown”

  1. Sandra cole August 11, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Very impressive. My mouth is watering. BTW, I LOVE Ina and her cute little husband.

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