All photos by Molly Beauchemin.
So photographer-amigo Molly and I attended Rosa Mexicano’s Fall Harvest Dinner on Wednesday night, from which I am STILL completely full; after having read (and reread) the menu, this meal was all I could think about for days, to the point that guacamole invaded my non-waking thoughts. As you can imagine, then, I was beside myself when game time actually rolled around. We were seated at a communal table in the back of the restaurant, which (I think) was supposed to encourage conversation between the guests. However, everyone was too busy cramming delicious things in their faces to bother much with smalltalk. Of course, being the socially awkward person I am, I made some poorly executed attempts at chit-chat; for instance, the guy across from us was talking about how Home Alone is basically the greatest holiday movie of all time, and I wholeheartedly (and uninvitedly) agreed. The rest of our communication was limited to, “Please pass the thing that looks really delicious over there!”
Before we get to the shared plates, though, let’s rewind and talk about the first few individually-served snacks; these included roasted pork flautas with pineapple salsa, oyster tartar with CHILI INFUSED SEAWATER (!!!), and ceviche with razor clams, scallops AND pink grapefruit. Regarding the first of those three things, I was REALLY into the pineapple salsa, which felt more to me like a chutney than a salsa, but whatever it was, it was all kinds of amazing. And as for the oyster and ceviche, both were really refreshing and (predictably) delicious. As we were eating all of these things, by the way, we were also sucking down pomegranate margaritas, which were really good but also REALLY STRONG. But it was okay, because the food would balance out potentially drunk times, right? RIGHT?!
And now let’s move onto the guacamole, which came out in giant bear-shaped mortars (sans pestles and plus giant spoons) and was the highlight of my life. Made with toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds, this was the bomb dot com for real, and Molly and I spent the duration of the dinner talking about how we wished we’d brought some sort of container to steal it and take it home. (I even momentarily considered putting some in my pockets, but then realized that that would be weird and gross, probably.) I also kept saying really smart, sophisticated things about the guacamole, like, “This reminds me of Nutella because of the hazelnuts. Like, I know it’s not Nutella, but it is, kind of.” Even though we were already getting full and still had like eight thousand courses to go, we really didn’t want to stop eating the guacamole. We were also really sad when it was eventually removed from the table, but let’s not dwell on the tragedy that was that moment, because there are SO MANY MORE DELICIOUS THINGS TO TALK ABOUT!
For instance, the wild mushroom salad that came next was pretty incredible; I know I probably should’ve been focused on the mushrooms and/or the chorizo, but I was mainly obsessed with the smoked and roasted shallots, which are now going to be my write-in candidate in the upcoming 2012 presidential election! Molly and I continued to impress our seatmates with an intellectual discussion revolving around the julienne-ification of tortilla strips, which were a nice textural component of the salad. “They would have to julienne an unbaked tortilla, right? Or like, can you julienne tortilla chips? Either way, I would NOT want that job.”
As you can probably gather, we were enjoying yet another fancy cocktail, this time featuring “muddled” strawberries. It was good, and it also came in a mason jar, aka BONUS CUTE POINTS! We were also supposed to be eating grilled lobster and sea scallop tacos at this point, but our neighbors ate all of them (because they were jerks) and we hated them for it. We could have probably just asked someone to bring us more, but being really mature and professional, we just whined about it and inhaled some more guacamole. THEN things got REALLY serious, because they brought out two different kinds of duck dishes. I love duck but rarely get to eat it since I suffer from chronic poverty, and so this was the part where I consumed like six hundred pounds of fowl. There was sliced duck breast with apples, pears and pickled walnuts in a mole sauce, but my favorite of the two dishes would have to be the braised duck legs, which had an amazing crispy skin over fall-off-the-bone-tender meat. The REAL star of that show, though, was the pile of wilted kale, brussels sprouts and fall root vegetables in serrano sage butter that was hiding underneath all the duck legs. WHAT THE WHAT?! As a fellow pauper, Molly backed me up in consuming unhealthy amounts of all of this, and, yet again, we were really popular with our seatmates!
By the time dessert rolled around, we looked like we were wearing those inflatable sumo wrestler suits, only we weren’t. Despite being massively full, we both found space to hold the fantastic sugary treats that were placed in front of us; these included mini churros with THREE kinds of dipping sauces (vanilla bean, caramel and licorice), mini candied apples on sticks, mini pumpkin ancho chile cheesecakes AND cupcakes, which I’m still not really clear on what they were made of apart from HEAVEN. I wasn’t super into the candied apples, because they seemed like they’d be an awkward thing to eat and, having established myself as such a cool person at the communal table, I really didn’t want to blow my reputation. Molly, however, was all about it, so after about five minutes trying to pry one off the serving plate, I passed her one. As predicted, it was good, but also difficult and awkward to eat. I decided to focus on cramming as many churros as I could into my mouth.
Then, needing a churro breather, I decided to test out the pumpkin cheesecake, which I had been really excited about. Unfortunately this one was a little disappointing, mostly because texture-wise it felt more like a mousse than a cheesecake. That doesn’t mean I didn’t eat the whole thing, though, because I definitely, DEFINITELY did. I also really liked the mystery cupcakes, which had some kind of fresh whipped cream on top. Molly liked them so much that she ate TWO, but she took off the whipped cream on the second one, and, having graduated from a liberal arts school, I utilized my broad knowledge base to recycle this as an innovative churro dip.
By the end of dinner we were the fullest of full and probably had a lot of debris in our teeth, but it was so good that we didn’t even care. We said some awkward goodbyes to the friends we hadn’t made, and then, being forty pounds heavier, we struggled towards the door. “Thanks, ladies,” said the hostess on our way out. “No, thank YOU!” I said, although in retrospect I wish I’d have said, “PLEASE MAIL ME SOME GUACAMOLE.” So Rosa Mexicano, if you’re Internet-listening, 1) thank you for an amazing meal, and 2) I will be waiting patiently by the mailbox.