At The Grown-Up Table: Wherein We Take The Littles to Mesa and They Eat All The Dessert

{Millie doodling her heart out at Mesa}

Taking your littles to dine in restraurnts that aren’t billed as “kid friendly (i.e. no kid menus, no crayons, few, if any, highchairs) can be an intimidating enterprise. But we’re convinced it can be done.

To that end, in the inaugural issue of D Moms, we asked a few of our favorite food-loving local mamas to share where they take their brood when they want (really) good food + a relatively chill environment. Our insiders heralded spots like Sissy’s, Si Tapas, and Sundown at Granda for their tasty fare and stylish yet laid back digs.

In the spirit of those picks, we’re kicking off “At The Grown-Up Table,” a new series here on the blog where we guide you through dining at some of our favorite spots in town with kids in tow. We’re taking the fear out of fine (relatively speaking) dining with kiddos if you will.

After reading Carol’s glowing review of Mesa’s new fall menu, the Oak Cliff eatery jumped to the top of our “to eat” list. And since we were headed to that part of town anyway to pay a visit to the Trading Tortoise, going with the kiddos seemed like a no brainer.

Here’s how things went down.

We arrived at Mesa on a Wednesday around 7:30 — a little later than we normally dine with the kids, but they were still on a high from their encounter with “the tortoise,” so they were hanging in there, but our window was closing fast. The minute we hit our seats, we ordered up a couple of fresh lemonades, and I pulled out a stash of pens so the girls could create some masterpieces on the kraft paper tablecloth.

(Side note: I always travel with a stash of pens and paper for impromptu games of tic tac toe and hangman at restaurants. Somehow a kid doodling just seems less obnoxious than watching them tap away at an iPhone with sticky fingers, but that’s just me…)

While the girls were busy quaffing their beverages and tapping their inner artists, the hubs and I scanned the menu in search of dishes they would eat with minimal cajoling. (Thanks to Carol’s review, I also had a visual of several menu items to help guide my selections.) We ended up going with one order of the simple (i.e. no sauce, minimal garnish) carne asada for the girls to split plus an extra tamale . The girls dug into the meal with gusto, veggies included (although they did pick around the bell peppers), marveling over the rich, almost dessert-like tamale and fighting over the last scraps of meat.

We ordered the enchiladas de mole and the estofado de pollo for ourselves, and both were beyond superb (in fact the chicken may have been some of the most flavorful I’ve ever eaten).

We finished out the highly successful evening with a giant wedge of tres leches cake, of which my husband and I never actually got to taste before the girls wiped it out.

It was a major success all around… Suffice to say we’ll be back for another family dinner.

But next time we’re ordering two desserts.


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