Black Bean Torta – Red Mesa
Red Mesa is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Petersburg. I have spent countless birthdays, happy hours, ladies’ lunches, and one memorable Cinco de Mayo at 4912 4th Street North. The food is Mexican, the spices Southwestern, the influences via the Gulf of Mexico, and the sangria sublime. I have been lucky enough lately to have a few lunch dates at Red Mesa; one with my now retired school bestie Lori (never underestimate the daily joys of a fantastic co-worker) and one with my mother and my husband (never underestimate the fun of watching your spouse and your creator interact.) An appetizer you can always count on is the guacamole. Fresh avocado, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. So tasty. If the guacamole is not for you (and I don’t know you if you don’t love the guac), another amazing option if the Shrimp Fundido. Shrimp, sundried tomato, feta and jack cheese fondue, served with warm flour tortillas. So salty, so gooey, so savory, so mine.
My favorite soup is the Tortilla. Chicken broth, shredded chicken, carrot-onion sofrito, fresh avocado, queso fresco and tortilla strips. Ole! Lori sampled the Vegetarian Enchiladas, filled with fresh zucchini, corn, mushrooms, onions, spinach and jack cheese topped with ancho tomatillo sauce, queso fresco, cilantro-onion and crema. Mi marido sampled the Blackened Chicken Taco Salad. A crisp tortilla bowl filled with romaine lettuce, black bean corn salsa, fresh avocado, queso fresco, and blackened chicken breast in chipotle caesar dressing. He added on the optional and highly recommended fried goat cheese. So ridiculously delicious!
Mi madre ordered the Chile Relleno. The chihuahua cheese relleno is topped with ancho tomatillo sauce, queso fresco and crema. It was actually a burrito and it was incredible. Everything I have ever had on the menu at Red Mesa has been so flavorful and perfect…….except for my torta. Womp womp. The sandwich gal was denied, Mexican style. I am 95% convinced that a good torta just does not exist, or I am ordering the wrong ones. The quest continues, any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The vegetarian black bean with slices of fresh avocado and tomatoes topped with pickled onions, carrots and jalapenos on freshly baked telera bread was decidedly meh. The french fries with chipotle ketchup made up for it, a little bit. I love this place. If you are looking for a fun, classy atmosphere and fusion food executed at the highest level, Red Mesa is the place for you.
When my folks were here, I gave the Short Ribs Torta a try. The flavors were there, but the meat was one solid chunk that kept slapping me in the face every time I tried to take a bite. I ended up going fork and knife and handing some of it to my Father.