After a long week of potty training and getting our house ready to list on MLS, Daniel and I were not in the mood to trek to Dallas. Most of the restaurants left on our adventure list are in Dallas (or at least Dallas County), but we’d heard Blue Mesa Grill in Southlake met our local ingredient criteria as well, so we opted to stay local this time. Blue Mesa Grill’s southwestern cuisine menu uses refreshingly unique ingredients such as jicama and mango relish, and they do in fact use local ingredients. According to their website, Blue Mesa Grill began taking steps in 2008 to incorporate local ingredients into their menu.
Here are some examples of how we are achieving these [local ingredient] goals:
- Working with Hardies Fruit & Vegetable Company we found several local farms that supply us with seasonal vegetables. Each season we will feature different fruits and vegetables from these farms. Starting in January ’09 we will be making our fresh fruit margaritas from locally sourced seasonal fruits.
- The chicken in our Slow Roasted Natural Chicken is from Buddy’s Natural Chicken in Gonzales. It is a local farm that feeds the chickens natural grains and uses no antibiotics or other chemicals. The flavor of these chickens is fantastic – you can really taste the difference.
- The cheese in our Goat Cheese Enchiladas is from Mozzarella Company, a cheese manufacturer. These enchiladas have become a very popular item.
- Our tortillas are from Rudy’s and La Mexicana who makes their tortillas right here in Dallas.
- Our coffee and tea (for our Passion Fruit Iced Tea, too) is produced here in Dallas America.
- You will see more and more local products on our menu. The sweet potatoes for our chips are purchased from local growers when available. These products tend to cost more money so it is something we are doing selectively. We want to maintain our overall prices and value to our guests.
Blue Mesa has taken steps to accommodate both vegetarians and individuals with food allergies by posted subject related information.
Menu Options With Local Ingredients
I am not using a rating system, but maybe I should be. If I were I would put Blue Mesa on the lower side of the scale. Although they are more progressive than most restaurants and their food is delicious, the prevalence of corn in their menu means it is almost impossible to avoid GMOs on most of the entrees (if corn is not labeled organic, there is an 85-95% chance it is genetically modified). Also, Buddy’s “naturally raised” chickens aren’t exactly natural. They may not be fed antibiotics, but according to their website the “natural grain” they eat is “primarily soybean meal, grain sorghum, plant oils, and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.” If soy is not labeled organic there is a 80-90% chance it is genetically modified. I don’t know what grain sorghum is, but I do know that many oils fed to chickens can be rancid, so overall I am not impressed with the diet of Buddy’s chickens.
So, with all that said, here are my half-hearted recommendations:
4 Way Queso
Classic, Wild Mushroom, Ground Beef-Chorizo or Spinach-Artichoke. Cheese by Texas Cheesemakers.
Downside: Served with corn chips from conventionally-raised corn. Also comes with sweet potato chips, though. I ate those.
House greens are spring lettuces, baby arugula and bibb lettuce from Young’s Greenhouse in Witchita Falls, Texas. Thumbs up!
Goat Cheese Enchiladas
Mozzarella Co. of Dallas goat cheese. Served on smoky black beans with jicama slaw and quacamole.
Downside: Conventional corn tortillas and sweet corn cake on the side.
Slow Roasted Natural Chicken with Caramelized Honey Ancho Glaze
Texas raised chickens fed natural grain, slow roasted with a signature blend of 15 herbs and spices. Served with a black bean Adobe Pie and local seasonal vegetables.
Downside: The Adobe Pie is a dome of conventionally-grown corn.
Blue Mesa Grill has taken impressive strides in supporting our local farmers and our local economy. Their food is delicious and their location near Southlake’s town square is charming. If they get rid of that nasty GMO corn I will eat there all the time!