6.14am, Monday 9th December, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Las Vegas is all about doing stuff that you’d never get to do at home…….and working your way through a list of 22 edible snapshots of Mexico is definitely something that’s never going to happen in Angaston, South Australia. That’s why I claimed a seat at the Border Grill bar at about 1pm yesterday, and read the complete Weekend Brunch menu very carefully – to plan my savoury to sweet trek through chef Mike Minor’s Mexican ‘tapas’ plates. Yep…..here’s the good news. With the Border Grill brunch – only Saturday and Sunday – for $35 you get to try any – or all – of the 22 dishes on offer. So I thought – OK – how to try most of the menu without exploding? Easy – order everything we’d never see at home, sample a bit of each, and share the rest with my bar side neighbours. Good plan – excellent way to make new friends, so away we went! Now planning is essential, as each plate is pretty ‘live’ with spice, flavour and heat, so this is the way I went:
First wave of 2 dishes:
Peruvian Shrimp & Grits – “aji panca chile marinated shrimp, roasted poblano chillies, creamy Parmesan grits” – started with a big gun! Juicy shrimp chased with just enough bite then sting from the chillies to leave your mouth zinging, then softened by the whisked consistency cheesey grits.
Fig and Blue Cheese Quesadilla – “caramelised black Mission figs, Maytag blue cheese, chipotle aioli and candied walnuts” Now, before we even start on this one, for just about all of our Australian folks, we need to run a class on Latino food terminology. For starters chipotle and quesadilla – chipotle is a jalapeño chilli that’s smoked and dried. And then you can do all sorts of things with it. It gives a really solid flavour as well as the sting. Quesadilla is a soft flour or corn tortilla (very very skinny savoury pancake) that you fill and fold. At the Border Grill, the Fig and Blue cheese Quesadilla is a sweet savoury crossover – thick sticky gritty fig paste with the sweet & salty cheese, and the tortilla is crisped under the heat! I’ll be trying this out at home – but the Italian version – with pancetta crisped in the oven added to the mix! It will be the hit of the local Barossa holiday season!!