Meso Maya

Meso Maya

In Dallas we have a surplus of Tex-Mex restaurants and everyone has their favorite one. So when I was taken to Meso Maya by my office, I expected the standard Tex-Mex cuisine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t a Tex-Mex place at all, its a Mayan-Mex place! Meso Maya lives by three pillars when it comes to their food:

  1. Heart – They stay true to the foods that inspired their Mayan and Mexican ancestors. That means “fresh, earthy, and bold flavors”.
  2. Soul – They use natural ingredients from their native land
  3. Fusion – They use talented chefs to make made-from-scratch moles, adobos, salsas, and hand-ground tortillas.

Yes, that’s right: HAND-GROUND TORTILLAS. When my co-workers told me, the first thing I thought of was that tortilla press machine-thing you see at Chuy’s or El Fenix. But no. At Meso Maya they grind up the corn fresh by hand and make corn tortillas to order. If thats not a good enough reason to give this place a try, then I don’t know what is.

They also have a house specialty dish called Budin Azteca. Its basically like Mexican lasagna, made with layers and layers of their fresh corn tortillas. You can order it with chicken, shrimp, beef, or vegetarian. It’s super good and super filling.

When I went I ordered their spinach and mushroom enchiladas and I swear I never had fresher mushrooms in my life. They were delicious. Definitely worth going back for (and I did!). Meso Maya is located on the northwest corner of Preston and Forest (right behind Snappy Salad). It’s kind of pricey (along the lines of Mi Cocina) but their lunch menu is pretty affordable. While I was exploring their website, I came across an interesting blurb about their head chef, Chef Nico. So I’ll leave you with this:

Our kitchen is led by Nico Sanchez. A Mexico native, he moved to Dallas in 1996 to pursue his goal of becoming a chef.

Before he had dreams of becoming a culinary artist, Sanchez lived in Guanajuato, Mexico with his two sisters and brother. When he was seven years old his father passed away, which left him with a heavy responsibility to his family. Leaving his family to chase his vision was not an easy choice, but he knew he had to persevere in order to accomplish his goals. He also knew that it would take time and much effort to achieve his culinary dreams.

Throughout Sanchez’s career he has done everything from working as a carrier traveling Mexico to becoming a chef at one of the many Consilient restaurants, Cuba Libre. Throughout his restaurant career he has had great mentors including Brent Hammer, executive chef at Hibiscus; David McMillan, executive chef at the Screen Door in Dallas; along with Nick Badovinus, chef and restaurateur of Neighborhood Services.

Sanchez not only has a passion for teaching and life, he also has been involved with the charity Fundacion ERA. This foundation is a non-profit organization that collects shoes in the summer and coats in the winter for needy children throughout Mexico.

His future plans include mentoring young professionals in the restaurant industry as he continues to create and explore new recipes. Sharing his culinary talents with the greater Dallas area and beyond are his ongoing passions.

Southpaw’s Organic Grill

Southpaw’s Organic Grill

I got the chance to visit a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. On my way to and from my internship last summer, I would always pass “Southpaw’s” and wonder, “is that a restaurant or a animal clinic?”. Turns out it’s a a really good restaurant serving creative, fresh, and healthy food. The concept from started by Reza Anvarian who was born in Azerbaijan. He moved to the States, became a champion boxer, and decided to open a restaurant, opening Southpaw’s Organic Cafe’ in Preston center (and that’s the short story). He later teamed up with TJ Frank, a frat brother of my boss, and opened another Southpaw’s in Uptown. The concept is simple: serve good, organic, and healthy food without added sugars, syrups, nitrates, or preservatives. The atmosphere is friendly and CLEAN. A lot of stainless steel and deep reds make the space very cool and very comfortable. The menus differ slightly between locations (The one in uptown in a “grill” while the one in Preston center is considered a “cafe”) and everything is pretty darn good. What I like most about the menu is that there are no surprises. The descriptions of the menu items leave no room for imagination and tell you like it is. No guessing. They have some killer smoothies with additive options for energy, detox, or weight loss. They also have a whole section for gourmet grilled cheeses (like the “Toastie Nut”, which features melted gouda cheese and pecans) as well as gourmet PB&J’s (like the “Soopaman”, featuring PBJ with vanilla-almond granola, sliced bananas, and agave nector). They have  large selection of signature salads, entrees, and sandwichs, and burgers, as well a a customizable sandwich menu. When I went I ordered the Chicken ‘n; Tabbouleg pita sandwich. It was light and delicious but what I liked most about my meal was the side. Instead of the usual side of fries or chips you would get at any other restaurant,  at Southpaw’s you get a good-sized helping of freshly cut fruit. I was greeted by the freshest pear slices I’ve had in a long time. They are also pretty affordable considering the quality and location and promise a healthy (as in the “appropriate amount of food”, not “super large”, sorry boys!)portion size. Not to mention, they deliver (locally)! I highly recommend checking this place out. Just make sure to go for breakfast or lunch, because Southpaw’s is closed for dinner.

Off the Bone BBQ

Off the Bone BBQ

I’m picky with BBQ. It’s got to be legit for me to deem it worthy. I’ve had my fare share of bad BBQ restaurant experiences (including one place in New Mexico that used soy sauce in EVERYTHING. So gross.) so when I find a new BBQ place, I’m a bit skeptical. My boss took me down to Off the Bone BBQ last week and I was expecting just your everyday run-of-the-mill BBQ: ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, beans, the whole nine yards. But this place is not your stereotypical BBQ joint. Yes, they offer your classic BBQ favorites, however, they put their own twist on them. Their offers honey-spiced baked beans, boneless baby back rib tacos, spiced pasta salad, and (my personal fav) summer cool cole slaw which is made with bacon and blue cheese! SO GOOD. I also had their smoked chicken that melted in my mouth. Every meal comes with a onion and sweet pickle garnish which is just plain awesome.

The restaurant is off of S. Lamar right down the street from the Dallas Police Headquarters, just in case you fear the less traveled areas of Dallas. The concept comes from the mind of Dwight Harvey, an award-winning chef who became memorable because of his catering experiences. The store-front itself has a clean, modern design featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows that make the dining area seem much bigger and more open than it is.

The staff is friendly and the food is reasonable. PLUS, if you are going their for the first time, let them know! They’ll give you a free baby back rib to try.

http://www.offthebonebarbeque.com

The Cedars Social

The Cedars Social

If you are looking for a swanky place to go for drinks or grab some dinner, check out The Cedars Social. On its website, it’s described as:

THE CEDARS SOCIAL, LOCATED AT 1326 SOUTH LAMAR, IS A COCKTAIL DEN AND KITCHEN THAT FEATURES AN ADVENTUROUS LIST OF HANDCRAFTED COCKTAILS DEVELOPED BY ONE OF THE NATIONS LEADING BARMEN MICHAEL MARTENSEN AND A MODERN COMFORT FOOD MENU CREATED BY AWARD-WINNING CHEF JOHN TESAR

The interior is decorated in retro 1920’s style complete with a library nook and features a mondo indoor fire pit. The CEO of the company I’m interning for is partners in the restaurant so we go there for lunch frequently. They have a selective menu and everything is fresh, simple, and delicious! Plus, their lunch plates are very reasonable, especially for a college kid on a budget (only $8 per plate). They have some killer parmesan skinny fries that are a must have and their grilled veggie sandwich is fantastic! The staff is super friendly too and very accommodating. When they give you your check, they place it between the pages of an antique book, which I thought was really creative.

This place is right off the DART line (Cedars Station) and on S Lamar St right down the street from the Palladium Ballroom and Gilly’s. So go grab some grub and go dancing!

http://www.thecedarssocial.com

the Best Enchiladas Ever

the Best Enchiladas Ever

So for those of you who don’t know, I am currently interning at bigInk PR with their real estate services division. bigInk caters to restauranteurs in Texas, primarily in the DFW area. I get to shadow their tenant rep who finds space for some pretty trendy eateries (and by “shadow” I mean I get free food at a bunch of really cool places! Some new some familiar). So I have decided to share my foodie knowledge with the inter-web. Thus begins my first of many posts on restaurants I’ve visited and LOVE.

We begin with BEE Enchiladria, or the BEST ENCHILADAS EVER (thats actually what ‘BEE’ stands for, no lie). This place is located in Oakcliff but totally worth the possibility of getting caught up in a gang war! I kid, Oakcliff really isn’t that bad of a locale, especially the Bishop Arts District (which is pretty swanky). Just imagine a WhichWich and Chipotle mixed together and VIOLA! You have BEEs! You order your enchiladas just like you’d order a sandwich at WhichWich, customizing them to your heart’s content. Notice that I said THEM. For just $6.99 you get two customized enchiladas, rice, beans, and a side of chips and salsa! Perfect for a college kid on a budget, AKA: ME. Customization is an understatement. This place lets you choose EVERYTHING. You choose the type of tortilla, filling, and sauce. Its also vegan/gluten-free friendly and make everything in-store except for the tortillas.  And they don’t stop there. After your food is customized, you go through the Chipotle-like section where you choose your toppings from a large array of different items. Then , VIOLA, its time to eat. The menu has way more than just enchiladas. You can get tacos, burritos, or a salad for a great price!

The owner, Monica Greene who is a pretty happen’n lady and well-known in Dallas as a restauranteur. She actually went to SMU! Interesting fact: The word “Enchiladria” doesn’t exist. Monica invented the term and copyrighted it.  So she is the only one who can use it! Its the only Enchiladria in the world. If you want to hear more on this interesting ‘lady’, let me know…

The staff at BEE is super friendly. The first time I went they catered to my every whim! Even serving me homemade sauces they just whipped up for me to taste. Super awesome. Plus, their mascot is adorable! There is even an employee who has his very own bee mustache! If thats not a good enough reason to go then I don’t what is ;).

Overall, I was very impressed. I’ve been twice thus far and am going tomorrow night for dinner. If you ever want to go give me a call and I’ll totally come with!

http://www.bestenchiladasever.com/