Yesterday, thanks to a SaveMore deal (of the century!!) I finally went to get my hair done (done = cut and partial highlights) in Raleigh. For $49, I was able to get both done. WELL worth the 30 minute drive to randomsville Raleigh when it normally costs me $110 at best (part of the reason I’ve been putting it off…) I’d say it was a great success, going from this:
Not the best pictures, as both were taken from within my car, but you get the idea. With my fancy new hair, I only had one option. SEMI-FANCY DINNER DATE WITH THE BEAU AND FAM! While I tend to eat at home or make my foods to eat elsewhere like, 75% of the time, every now and then, I pretend to be a fancy pants and head out on the town. When my hair is polished to a high sheen, that is definitely one of those times. On the Monday Menu was Mez, a “Contemporary Mexican” joint in Durham. The table started with some shared guacamole and salsa.
The Guacamole was described as “Made fresh daily with avocados, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, lime juice. Served with crispy tortilla chips” and the Salsas de la Casa as “A trio of fresh salsas served with tortilla chips. Salsa Mexicana, roasted tomato-chipotle and tomatillo-avocado.” My thoughts?
The guacamole was off the chain. There was the right amount of spice and a perfect smoothness, and I felt like I could taste each of the ingredients listed, especially the jalapenos! The salsas, on the other hand, truly didn’t taste worth the $6 price tag. The “Salsa Mexicana” which is what I assume was the Pico de Gallo bowl, was almost flavorless, other than mostly just tomato. The tomatillo-avocado was pretty quality, but I felt like the dark red one on the left was a glorified mexican “sauce”. That being said, the beau inhaled it, so clearly it couldn’t have been too bad.
For my meal, I was feeling adventurous so, due to the recommendation of our server, I ordered the Roasted Tamarind Pecan Crusted Salmon Served with chipotle sweet potato gratin and sauteed Spinach. My plate looked like this:
The piece of salmon was ENORMOUS and this plate could’ve EASILY been two meals. As I was a Ravenous Rachel (not to be confused with a Negative Nancy), though, I wolfed down nearly every bite on the plate (duh, I’m the queen of the Clean Plate Club). The salmon was cooked medium, and had a wonderful pink color all the way through. The spinach was fresh and the chipotle sweet potato gratin, while not tasting like chipotle, was AMAZING! It was like a mille-feuille made entirely out of sweet potato layers (the literal translation of that French term is thousand-leaf, and I knew that without looking it up, and that proves that my education at Garnet Valley High School was entirely worthwhile.) My only complaint about the entire meal was that the pecans that crusted my salmon were a little overcooked (read: burnt). I pushed a few off the salmon, and focused on the ones that weren’t burnt, which added a wonderful crunch to the fish.
I’d like to say I chose my beer to best pair with my meal but honestly, I just love this next beer.
When I used to work at some crummy Ameri-Mexican place while I was finishing out my senior year at UNC that served sub-par burritos and orgasmic sweet potato fries with a habanero mayo dipping sauce that I need to recreat, my favorite beer we served was Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. When I’d serve it to a customer, I couldn’t help but sniff the bottle (yup, I’m a creep) because the aroma of this beer is heady, hoppy, and floral. This IPA poured a light amber color, and since I was already intensely familiar with the aroma, I dove right into the taste. The carbonation is delightfully bubbly and the taste hits the mouth with so many fruit flavors that I can’t make them out one by one, all I know is it’s a flavor explosion of AWESOME! It’s pretty damn hoppy (just how I like it) and, at 7% ABV, not so boozy you’ll feel drunk after 1 or 2, but packs a reasonable punch if you’re throwing them back.
This beer is widely available and, if you’re a newbie to the beer world (or for some reason, haven’t tried it, and feel like you should redeem yourself for your foolish ways) GO GET A SIX PACK! Or even just try one in a pick-6, but bring it to a party and people will want to be your friend. It normally costs around $10-11 at my grocery store in Durham, NC, so it’s definitely a step up from a sixer of PBR, without being a snobby craft beer.
Now I’m off to figure out what to eat TONIGHT! My prediction: Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken.
EDIT: CONFIRMED! KP CHICKEN IT IS!!