I've been thinking about starting this blog for a while. It won't all be restaurant reviews as I'm trying new stuff at home all the time as well. I guess if it has to do with food, it'll go into this blog and there's always something new to try or taste, so here we go!
Last night David and I ran our first Meet Me @ Maynard's event in downtown Tucson. We walk/ran the 3.4 mile course and planned simply to enjoy the refreshments afterward. However, once we were done, we figured we'd better make use of one of the restaurant discounts offered for MMM's participants. What a great idea from those area restaurateurs! Of course, we would eat out, we just burned all those calories, right?
One of my favorite activities is discovering new restaurants and so last night we checked out Barrio at 135 S. Sixth (at Broadway). As we entered I immediately felt undressed due to the decor and clientele, but the wait staff assured us our attire wasn't too casual (running shoes/ shorts and t-shirts) and went out of their way to make us feel at home.
We started with a "Little Plate" called Stuff Jalapeno. To say this was superb is an understatement! Your abuela's chili rellano, this is not! The lightly steamed bright green pepper was filled to brimming with black beans, goat cheese, and more. It was all laid bare on a roasted red pepper cream sauce with a hint of something tangy (lime?). We finished the pepper in no time and then sopped up the remaining sauce with some of the homemade bread.
Next I had a cup of the soup d'jour, creamy tomato and cilantro. Thick, creamy and very, very fresh tasting! I had to slap David's little paws away as he kept trying to dip his bread into it!
You'd think we'd be full by this time, but our entrees arrived just as we were finishing up the soup. David ordered the black pepper-encrusted roast duck with a honey sauce, basil-infused mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables (carrots, yellow and green summer squash, and cherry tomatoes). After a bite or two, David realized he had never had duck not prepared in the Chinese manner and had a hard time when pressed deciding which he preferred. He finished everything on the plate, except (of course) the tomatoes.
I chose the fruit salad for my entree. Not an entree, I know, but the vegetarian entree was the typical pasta with vegetables that so many restaurants include in their menu. More on that later. Right now, I'm thinking about that wonderful creamy vanilla bean salad dressing that was unlike any other I've ever had. It was the perfect foil for the tart strawberries, black raspberries, mandarin orange, pineapple, and pistachio nuts with Gorgonzola cheese on a bed of young mixed greens. Personally, I thought there was just a tad too much of the cheese, but I'm not a huge Gorgonzola fan. It was easy enough to push most of it to the side though while I finished off the rest of it.
As I mentioned previously, the staff was courteous and kept the bread coming - one of the things that David looks for. Barrio had a pretty good business going for a Monday night and we were the only runners there for the discounted dinner. When I mentioned they needed more vegetarian dishes, the waiter immediately said they are in the process of redesigning their menu and that he would mention that to the chef. He seemed to understand my need for something more hearty than pasta and vegetables, so we'll see...
Overall, we both liked Barrio and will most likely return for more. So, if you're in the area and are in the mood for some really good southwest-inspired dishes, stop by and check them out! Just don't check out the website Google offers as it appears to be an ad for an Asian water filter. Huh?!