catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 8 :: 2007.04.20 — 2007.05.04


You had me at tapas

Upon moving to St. Louis, Missouri almost two years ago I had no idea I would embark on one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had.  Being that I am from San Diego, I was rather skeptical of the food scene here.  You see, I don’t like to admit it, but I am quite a food snob (thanks, mom).  I am one of those annoying folks who not only looks at the floor to make sure it’s clean, but also pays close attention to the décor—this is equally as important as the food.  If any detail is missed, I probably won’t visit your restaurant again, or at least until the experience is wiped from my memory.  That being said let me get back on topic about the best meal I’ve had—a tall order, I know, but when it’s right, it’s right.

The “best meal ever” took place in November.  My sister had come into town for the Thanksgiving holiday and I had decided to take her to this funky place in my neighborhood.  My sister is a lover of all things Latino and since the dinner was in celebration of her birthday I figured we wouldn’t be disappointed. 

Mirasol is located in an urban/artsy/posh area of town known as “The Loop”.  The restaurant is labeled as Latino-Nuevo cuisine, which is fancy talk for Latin-influenced dishes paired with non-traditional items.  They pride themselves on their selection of tapas, which we were more than eager to ingest.  (Word of advice—make sure when saying the word tapas you enunciate every sound, so it's not heard as topless, thus no one is confused.  Yes, this did happen in my life).

As soon as we walked through the door I knew we hit the mother-lode.  I was immediately impressed by how every detail had been accounted for.  My mental check-list was set on overdrive!  There was mood lighting, not so heavy on the mood so as to distract from conversation; the wall colors were definitely inspired by the culture, in muted shades of terra cotta and aqua, and served as perfect backdrops for the pictures that adorned them.  Noting was overdone or showy; the tables were not cluttered, and it was obvious everything had a place.  One word sums it up: simplicity.

We started the meal off with Honduran ceviche—a martini glass layered with corn nuts, peppers, cucumbers, a zesty sauce and surrounding the top were giant prawns.  The combination of flavors against the succulent shrimp was true genius, and absolutely delicious.  My sister and I marveled about every bite until it was gone.  It was then I knew this experience would be special, festive, and tasty!  The tapas that followed consistently exceeded our expectations and we were given as much time as needed to finish (no pushy wait staff here)!  They were also served in no particular order, leaving room for the element of surprise. 

The meal mirrored our conversation at times; spicy, like the rub on the Cuban fries with remoulade, refreshing like a mojito or sweet like the churros filled with cream, covered in chocolate and served alongside Mexican sipping chocolate (best birthday dessert ever).  Mirasol will always represent a new beginning in my relationship with my sister.  For a long time we had settled with our pre-conceived notions of each other and I think for the first time this meal showed us as equals.  We were eating as friends, and just like our dinner, I wanted to savor every moment of it.

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