Border Grill (as seen on Top Chef!)

20 Oct

Recently, the boyfriend and I went to Vegas to visit his sister. Trust me, there was no “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” types of moments for this trip. I cooked breakfast, we went to eat, we drank beers at home, and were probably in bed by 10:30. I don’t know when I became so old.

But, we did go eat “brunch” at 2:30 in the afternoon at the Border Grill, located inside the Mandalay Bay Casino. When we were choosing where to go eat, I totally got suckered into the celebrity chef gig. I always do. The boyfriend and I have also been to Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Vegas and to Morimoto’s in Napa. Border Grill is owned by two chefs I have seen on Master Chef – Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Fenige.

The other thing that I am a sucker for is bottomless mimosas. The brunch is $29.95, but to add bottomless mimosas is only $5 more. Decision made.

The restaurant is served tapas style — which is interesting for a brunch. However, I love this style of eating food because it means I get to try an assortment of foods and it gives me an excuse to eat a lot.

First things first, we ordered the mimosas. The mimosas came in different flavors, so we decided to try a different flavor for each round (and repeat). Naturally, we started with the traditional orange, but also tried pomegranate, grapefruit, peach, and mango.

They also automatically serve you guava empanadas and a fresh fruit plate.

What was particularly good about this fruit plate is that it had passion fruit juice drizzled over the rest of the fruit. I love passion fruits. In fact, one of my bff’s make passion fruit mimosas. Try it.

My first order was of chilaquiles. Duh! It is only my favorite breakfast item. These came with machaca (shredded beef), egg, and roasted chiles.

They were good, but I have to say, the chips could have been crispier. I think boyfriend’s mom wins the chilaquiles round.

The boyfriend’s first plate was of crispy potato rajas taco. It had roasted potatoes, chiles, corn salsa, and guacamole. I am a sucker for corn and for guacamole. This might have been one of the best tapas we ordered.

I ordered the Mexican(ish) version of shrimp and grits. I have never had grits before, so that was a big factor in my selection of this dish. The shrimp had a chile flavor and were cooked deliciously. The grits had Parmesan cheese, so they were nice and cheesy. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was a good way to try something new for me.

Next up, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with bacon and jalapenos.

If you like sweet and spicy, you will like this. It is exactly what it sounds like.

My other favorite dish was this — a green corn tamale with salsa fresca and sour cream. The tamale was moist and full of corn flavor and of course, it had sour cream!

You can tell I liked this dish because I accidentally took a bite (or two or three) before I took a picture. The boyfriend is always annoyed with me because I make him sit in anticipation of eating because I have to take pictures. This time, the anticipation took over me because I never forget the Asian in me and forget to take the picture first!

For the next few rounds, the waiter just brought us whatever the kitchen could still make. Unfortunately, we arrived right as brunch time was ending and the dinner prep had to begin. I wanted to order the huevos rancheros, but this no longer was an option. So, he brought us out the following:

Frittata Tart. Egg, spinach, onions, and a variety of cheeses. If you like quiches or egg dishes like this, you probably would enjoy it. I regretted putting it into my mouth. I am a freak about textures and this was just mushy. I don’t think anyone else at our table of six even bothered to try it.

Plantain empanadas. I was still too busy eating my tamale, I did not try these.

I mean, they are just pancakes. Pancakes with a whole lotta butta.

As you can see, by the time that 3:00 rolled around, we were very full and our waiter just brought us out whatever. That made the brunch end with a slightly lacking punch. However, there were still several other things on the menu that I would have liked to try…the skirt steak and eggs…the chorizo and egg burrito (my other favorite breakfast)…the huevos rancheros. My suggestion? Get there when it opens and plan to eat and drink till 3:00 so that you have plenty of time to eat, rest, and eat some more! I definitely wished that that we hadn’t gotten so full so quickly and that we had more time to enjoy our food and mimosas.

Overall? I would come back. $35 is typically more than I will spend on anything, but, if you make a feast out of it and get your drinks worth, for Vegas, it is probably a very good deal. And, if nothing else, I can chalk it up as another Top Chef meal.

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