Monday, July 4, 2011

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins

Three years ago I introduced myself to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in the Bahamas and the experience has stuck with me ever since.  Bobby's love of Southwestern flavors in combination with the grill have left me nearly speechless.  The cooked to perfection New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin sitting in a pool of Bourbon-Ancho Chili sauce and accompanied by a melt in your mouth Sweet Potato Tamale topped with a bit of crushed pecan butter pulls at my heart to this day.  Or how about the bursting with flavor Coffee Rubbed Fillet Mingnon, tender as butter and sitting atop a Mushroom Ancho Chili Sauce?  Yep... good to the last drop!

Coffee Rubbed Filled Mingon

Liv has a penchant for a good steak.  Last year at her Vegas Nationals I took her and my son to Mr. Flay's Mesa Grill, located in Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip and enjoyed introducing them to the world of finer dining.  Neither had ever been to a restaurant of this caliber nor had they experienced meat of the quality served at the Mesa Grill - cooked to perfection slightly better than I do on my home backyard grill. ;)

As soon as the Dance National Competition location was announced as Las Vegas last August, Liv asked, "Mom... can we go to Mesa Grill again??".  Letting her think that I was only doing it for her, I gave a resounding, "Of course!" and we started counting the days.

Reservations in hand, we continued the Star System Dance National Dance Competition (see here for Liv and Savannah's first few days) with the solo section of the event.  Arriving at the venue with costume and shoes in hand, Liv set to stretching and I was proud at the focus she brought to her warm up.  She had scored fairly well throughout the year, but I think I could see a few butterflies flitting around her mid section as she prepped with her teacher to head on stage.

Heading to the audience I once again became teary watching our girls dance.  These girls truly pour their hearts out into their performances and I find myself bursting with pride at their sheer confidence and stage presence.  Liv took the stage, and through my tears I saw her dance one of her best performances to Sarah Jessica Parker's "Shy" from Once Upon a Mattress.  We settled back and waited for results, fingers crossed for a Top 10 scoring.

Awards began some 2 hours later, and the girls and boys who competed in the solo portion of the event took the stage for results.  Our studio scored well in the Top 10-4 spots with one of our tap solos scoring 8th and another 7th!  Liv's name had not been called as they placed 3 large trophies at the front of the stage, meaning either she did darn well or didn't make Top 10.  As they called 3rd, her name was not called nor was it called for 2nd.  Hearts pounding we knew this was either really good or better luck next year.  Fingers crossed and hearts in our throats we held our breath as they built up the first place position.  Tears began an unending stream from my eyes as the announcer called Liv and "Shy" as the 1st Place Junior Soloist!

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill on UrbanspoonWith reason to celebrate, Liv and I headed the next evening to Mesa Grill.  In anticipation she had skipped lunch arriving at "Bobby's place" nearly weak with hunger and with high hopes for the meal of her life.  Replicating her meal from last year she enjoyed her medium rare, man-sized Fillet minus the Coffee Rub, with gusto, promptly looking up and asking, "Mom... can I have another??"  I enjoyed my fillet with the coffee rub atop the Ancho Chili Sauce and answered, "No... you can not have another."  Offering her some of the decadent side of Roasted Corn with Chipotle Aoli, Lime and Cotija (seasoned with just the right amount of jalapeños and cilantro to make your mouth water!) and some of Bobby's crumbly and zesty Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins we filled nearly every last spot in our stomachs, but somehow did save a tiny bit of room for dessert.

Liv chose Bobby's Churros, dusted with cinnamon sugar and star anise and served with a side of a Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce.  I had thoughts of the Mango Buttermilk Upside Down Cake served with a Rum Caramel Sauce and Mango Ice Cream, but the waiter suggested that unless I adored rum, the cake was very "rummy" he explained,  that I might enjoy the Strawberry and Cherry Shortcake with a Crème Fraiche Whipped Cream and Wild Strawberry Ice Cream.  While "enjoy" might not be quite a strong enough word to describe my true feelings about the shortcake, he was right!  Raw sugar topped, tender biscuits sandwiched the flavorful strawberries and cherries with a delightful combination of the Crème Fraiche and Ice Cream eliciting true groans of  pleasure.

Churros with Dark Chocolate Sauce and Strawberry/Cherry Shortcake

Smiles all around, Liv and I sat back and grinned at each other as we gushed about each and every part of the meal.  Truly a treat for the two of us, we are doubly excited that not only did we get this visit, but we already have reservations at his Bahamas, Paradise Island location in about 6 weeks.  Mesa Grill, here we come... again!

Bobby Flay's Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins
Adapted from Bobby Flay

Arriving before your meal at the Mesa Grill is a delightful basket of breads... while the Jalapeño Asiago Bread is my all time favorite, I've yet to find a proper replication of the recipe.  However, the Blue and Yellow Corn Muffins, my second favorite bread, zesty and flavorful are easy to make at home taste just like the restaurant!
Printable Recipe

6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⅓ cups whole milk
4 large eggs
2 Tbs honey
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
 2 jalapeño chiles, finely diced (adjust for heat preference)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp kosher salt (I reduce the salt to 3 T)

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  Divide the mixture evenly between 2 large bowls.

In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, red pepper, jalapeños, corn and cilantro.  Pour the mixture into a measuring cup and add half of the mixture to each of the large bowls containing the onion mixture.

Put the blue cornmeal and yellow cornmeal in 2 separate bowls.  To each bowl, add ⅔ cups flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Mix each cornmeal mixture into a bowl with the liquid mixture.

Pour an equal amount of each batter side by side into each muffin cup and bake for about 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooking rack.

Note:  I got more than the 12 muffins... batter was enough to fill the 12 muffins of the large tin and 6-8 mini muffins in addition.

Proud Mom Moment - Liv's rendition of "Shy"!


  1. Gosh, Kim - I LOVE the look of these corn muffins; they are so much fun for the 4th July and a real talking point. How can you resist the Mesa Grill when Liv performs like that? She's a lucky girl but then she deserves such a feast for such a talented lady! Great mum, too ;-)

  2. Liv is fantastastic! No wonder she got 1st place. Mesa Grill is a fine way to celebrate her accomplishments in the competition Those muffins look soo good. Good job, Mom!

  3. Congrats to your daughter - that is so great! I bet Mesa Grill was simply divine. Between those corn muffins and that coffee rubbed filet, you had a great dinner! Happy 4th of July!!

  4. Great job Liv! Sounds like a two-steak performance!

  5. wow!!!! what an accomplishment for Liv!! Tell her just how proud we are to know her! What a great way to celebrate at Flays restaurant everything looked delicious, and those perfect I would love to have a few of those for breakfast tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing the good news about Liv and for that wonderful recipe! I know you had a great 4th!

  6. Great job Liv! I love her smile in that pic where she is about to dig into her steak. LOL perfect!

  7. Liv's performance was amazing! she is soooo talented Kim! Congrats to Liv on her award! Well deserved!

    This recipe is a keeper! I can't wait for an occasion to whip these up! I love Bobby Flay!

  8. Wow, that is an amazing performance. Congratulations for Liv's first place.

  9. that is one great performance it is really something to be proud of. I love the muffin looks so delicious

  10. I'm never a big fan of bob flay's attitude and his impreciseness of a recipe. But! I do love his grills.
    That fillet mignon looks Deadly.

    Amazing performance by Liv! It looks so alive and comical. Definitely will be a winner of many hearts.

    Thanks for poppin by my blog Kim.

  11. I love corn muffins! I made some a few weeks ago, but never got to take pictures! I've never seen blue cornmeal before.. How interesting! Great looking muffins, Kim! That meal at Mesa Grill looks like a great feast! Liv obviously deserves it! A big CONGRATS to Liv! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post :)

  12. Those muffins look so fun! Love that blue corn :)

  13. I love going to Mesa Grill in NYC. Such a great restaurant. I have never seen blue corn anywhere but I bet it would be fun to work with!

  14. Hooray! Congrats to Liv!

    And thank you for sharing the fabulous corn muffins from Mesa Grill...hope to sample these in his restaurant one day, but for now, I'm delighted to try these at home.

  15. Tell Liv I'm just glowing, I can't wait to see her in a few years on So you think you can dance. I love the celebration dinner your guys choose and just printed out the muffin recipe. I hope you and the family had a happy fourth. Mac pics soon I promise, I was so busy, I have to get photos from everyone else.

  16. The corn muffin looks really good, in my country we have purple corn, maybe I can try with that.
    By the way, your daughter is amazing, congratulations.

  17. Yay! Congratulations Liv! You did an amazing job
    Those corn muffins look really amazing..will have to look for some blue cornmeal

  18. Yay! Congratulations Liv! You did an amazing job
    Those corn muffins look really amazing..will have to look for some blue cornmeal

  19. LOVE the pictures! (and the stories!) :D

  20. OMG! I just watched the video... Liv is amazing!!! She's going to be a BIG star one day! Thank you so much for sharing this special moment with us. The muffin looks delicious!

  21. Woo hooooooo! Hard work and amazing talent! Congratulations. What a very special memory to share :)

  22. A big congratulations to Liv!!!!
    I like Mesa Grill and these muffins are beautiful- great way to celebrate and savor a wonderful memory for both of you;-)

  23. Amazing, she is so talented!

    The muffins look delicious:-)

  24. WOW, WOW and WOW Again. Just watching the video ... she is so amazingly talented. Wish here all the success. Not to say that your muffins aren't amazing but sorry to say the show overshadows them :)

  25. Holy Guacamole, Batman! Your daughter is SO talented! That was such a bright, fun performance! I'm late for meeting someone and I watched every minute! The restaurant review and corn muffins look great, but your daughter absolutely....SHINES!

  26. Congrats to Liv! Great performance, she is so talented! Mesa Grill is one of my favorite restaurants! I went to the one in Vegas first and now I always go to the one in NYC. Those corn muffins are insane, and I eat too many every time I go. I always get the pork tenderloin, and I just love the sweet potato tamale with the pecan butter! Great place for you girls to celebrate :)

  27. Congrats to Liv - she's an amazing talent and you can see the joy in her face when she dances! And what better place to celebrate than Mesa Grill. I favor the chile relleno, but the coffee-rubbed filet sounds amazing! Your summer is off to a fabulous start :)

  28. How lucky are you! You look so happy digging into your food. :)

  29. Congrats to Liv! She is so talented. I bet you're so proud of her! :)
    Oh my goodness all of this food looks incredible. I want to eat there! And these corn muffins you made are calling my name. I love how they use blue and yellow cornmeal.

  30. I love that little girl! She is just so good! So proud of her! You make sure and tell her that for me ok?
    What a way to celebrate too! All that food looks fantastic...I have to admit I am quite jealous. I remember after competitions always getting really good food from my parents too though. I think that is the way it goes with dancers and their families haha.

    Your muffins are gorgeous, they have such great color to them! I will have to try them out and see if they taste as good as they look!

  31. I had these when I was at Mesa in Vegas, and I make them all the time now! So delicious

  32. Wow, Liv is one talented girl! Congrats to her and her proud mama. Gorgeous muffins too!

  33. Bravo Liv!! Congratulations!!! Kim, I got goosebumps just reading about it... I would have been bawling if I was in the audience with you! :)

  34. LOL! I loved her routine!!! That was awesomely adorable!! Congratulations to Liv for placing 1st for the solos! You have every reason to be a proud mama.

    These muffins look great. I love that Bobby Flay uses so much ancho chile powder. But why not?? It's fun!

  35. I've never been to Mesa Grill but this post has now sealed the deal ;-) I might even just have to make a weekday trip for it! I loved Liv's prompt of, "Can I have another?" Way too cute :-)

    I'm so glad that she did so well in Vegas! She's an absolute talent, Kim ;-) Liv, you rock!

  36. These look amazing! No chance of finding blue cornmeal here in France, but I do have some masa harina sitting around...I assume that I could make these with that?


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