Before Bobby Flay was a Food Network icon he was a New York restaurateur. A good one at that. A lot of people from all over go to his places now and I doubt many leave disappointed no matter how far aloft his cooking star has become.
My good friends and I begin each holiday season with a drink and some nibbles in the bar at Mesa Grill in New York City. There are a million places in our fair city this ritual could be held with satisfaction but we like Mesa because the place never lost the appeal of a place that does everything well but is completely over itself and having enough of a good time to allow the guests to have one as well.
And then they have the cocktail. The one we have at times travelled and traversed to get to: The Cactus Pear Margarita.
I love this photo because it has the dazzling, gauzy, glamorous glow of evenings in New York in this glittering holiday season.
I took this photo to my right at the end of the long bar where Dori and Becca sat. Had I turned to my left, had I not been someone who goes to Mesa now and then, had I not been a native New Yorker, had I been a person willing to be star struck over a guy you'll see around in New York... I would have leaned over to where Booby Flay stood next to me and said: Can I take a photo of you? But I am none of those things and he was tied up with a constant stream of people approaching him to get their Mesa Grill cookbooks signed and get a picture taken with Bobby Flay. Surely they had come a long way to New York in this fine season and were thrilled to find Chef working the floor in his own place. If it becomes pressing, I will ask next time. In the meantime Linda from Ohio's trip would not be complete without memorializing the moment she stood shoulder to shoulder with a legend.
So many flashes went off next to us for this holiday gathering that we were certain to be the most photographed bystanders in New York last Friday night. I will laugh if in future years tourist photos surface of Bobby Flay, that awkward girl who desperately tried to get his attention and a photo, and our shoulders in the background. Could that have been our fifteen minutes?
Because of the flashes we really had to work to sneak in a picture or two of our bar nosh addiction, the Mesa Grill Pretzel:
We had some delicious snacks which I highly recommend when you get to Mesa, which you should at least once in this life: Blue Corn Pancake with BBQ Duck and Habenero Sauce, Blue Corn Crusted Squid, BBQ'd Country Ribs with Mango Habanero Glaze, and BBQ's Pork and Oaxaca Cheese Quesdilla with with Hot + Sweet Cabbage Relish. For dessert we had some delicious strong dark coffee to go with our chocolate souffle pudding with pecan flatbread accompanied by a bowl of sweetened whipped cream and then and finally the Cookie Plate.
Delicious. Glamorous. Glittering. And star lit. Get there if you can.