My mom and I have been longtime fans of notable chefs, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, since their days on Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales” when I was a little girl. Since those days, the two incredibly talented chefs and friends have been on “Top Chef Masters” and achieved much more while continuing to run Border Grill for decades, along with their other standout restaurants.
So naturally, when I got the chance to attend their new menu launch party last night thanks to Dana, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Border Grill Downtown, located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles underneath the skyscrapers and city lights, is launching a new fall seasonal menu for the first time in a long time. So last night, I had to get a taste of all the brand new fare!
I knew going in that Border Grill is vegetarian-friendly, so I brought my friend Roshni along with me. Not only could she give me an opinion from a vegetarian perspective, but she was also a huge help in assisting me with getting all the shots I needed on camera and video. Also, I’ve seen Susan Feniger at so many events that she greeted me warmly and offered to be in my video (below)!
So I raced the sun to get my visuals before we finally could dive in to eat, drink, mingle and enjoy the rest of our evening as the sun set over Downtown L.A. Work before play, I say… but good thing the two can often overlap for me, especially in this facet of my life!
The recap video at the end speaks for itself (I mean come on, Susan Feniger even explains one of her own dishes!), but some of my personal favorites included:
The Squash Empanada, filled with pine nuts for crunch and manchego cheese for body. Definitely a great fall take on the empanada! The Chimichurri sauce on top really enhanced all the other flavors as well.
The Ancho Chile Roasted Beef, served at the carving station complete with a DIY “deconstructed sandwich” bar. The buttery grilled telera bread had a great bite to it, being crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The chile cascabel sauce and horseradish crema added a smoky heat and a cooling component, and the habanero pickled onions and watercress added acidity and freshness to the dish. Plus, we got to plate our own food (can’t you tell? Ha!).
The Key Lime Cheesecake Squares. The mint and seasonal berries added great flavor and depth, while the graham cracker crust and nuts added a crunchy element to the fresh, tangy, wonderful bite of dessert!
The Filled Churro Pops. Whether filled with luscious red wine poached pear or rolled in chocolate, cayenne pepper and hazelnut, these soft, moist bites of cinnamon-y, doughy churros are what dreams are made of… on a stick!
The Mezcal Sour cocktail, which had a smoky flavor, thicker texture from the egg whites, and a depth of flavor from the Aztec chocolate bitters. Talk about an equally complex tasting and cool-looking drink!
And now… I present you with the full holiday showcase menu:
Below is a video recap of the evening, including those juicy quinoa-stuffed mushrooms and, later, Susan Feniger herself presenting the out-of-this-world Vegetarian Paella with roasted pumpkin seeds. All of it here:
If you’d like try modern Mexican food with a bold twist, inspired by the flavors of Oaxaca and the Yucatan, then I definitely recommend checking out Border Grill Downtown. They even have a food truck and catering services. I know I’ll be back again, especially for those delectable chocolate-hazelnut-cayenne churros!