If you miss the good ole days of Mex-I-Can, you’ll be happy to know that the chef is back on James Street North! I found out about Mesa during Supercrawl when they were handing out samples of salsa and guacamole. The chef was going to start her new venture after the closing of their original location. Of course I was excited to hear the news and I put them on my EAT HERE ASAP list. They opened in November 2015 and I gave them a few months to get into the swing of things.
A group of foodies and I thought that it would be a fantastic space to hold another foodie-meetup, so we did. Sandwiched between Dunas Verdes Cafe Inc. and La Bichette, Mesa’s beautiful wall murals shine through the windows to catch your attention. There is street parking available but now that James Street North is getting popular, I’ve had to rely on side-street parking. Inside, the space is bright and roomy with two dining sections and the bar at the the front. The menu is simple and similar to Mex-I-Can.
We started withand a couple orders of Panela ($13). We’ve heard great things about the Panela so we ordered 3 of them! Oaxaca cheese grilled in a small cast iron skillet and topped with meat and pico de gallo. For the meats, we chose beef barbacoa and chicken chorizo. It came to our table still bubbling and smelling like something that needed to be in my mouth. The bubbling edges were mesmerizing and it got me instantly salivating. The cheese was body-numbingly delicious as well. We shoveled it into our mouths with tortilla chips before it could cool down and turn into a dense mass. The meat toppings were a savoury addition to the stringy cheese. We were also digging into the Guacamole – one bite of panela, one bite of guac, repeat. I was in snacking-heaven and forgot about the main dishes. I could’ve easily filled up on these appetizers and gone home happy.
The rest of the food came out and I was kind of shocked… well I think I was more terrified. When I ordered my burrito, I went with the larger size so I could eat it for lunch the next day. Well, I had it for lunch the next TWO days, it was a monster burrito and probably weighed more than my cat. And at $13.50, it was a deal of the century. The beast was stuffed with rice, beans, and beef barbacoa, then topped with sour cream, zesty salsa, melted cheese, and pico de gallo. It was swimming in tomato sauce too. Every bite was tasty as fuck. No matter what I put in my mouth, flavours and textures were happening. I loved that it was covered in sauce because it added enough moisture for everything to blend together nicely. I’ve had other burritos that needed some saucy goodness like this one. I’m not even sure if I finished 1/4 of the burrito when I gave up. I ate just enough for it to fit snug into the take-out container.
The others ordered Quesadillas ($14.50), Chimichangas ($14.50), and Burritos. Everyone had positive comments and feedback on presentation, portion-size, and taste. We all enjoyed our food and the service from beginning to end. I’m not a drinker but they have a liquor license. I’ve heard wonderful things about the mojitos and margaritas if you’re into fun cocktails.
I’m so happy the chef came back to James Street North to open Mesa. I’ve missed Mex-I-Can ever since they closed their doors. It’s a huge improvement from their previous location, especially their decor and cleanliness. The atmosphere and food seem to breath new life too. I’ll be back and I’m going to bring all my friends and family!