Growing up in Southern California, I developed a passion for authentic (“California style”) Mexican food, because — and I mean this sincerely — even the simplest Mexican cuisine, when done right, is the best comfort food in the Universe. When I moved to New York City, I was horrified by numerous aggressively bad excuses for Mexican food, such as goat cheese quesadillas and enchiladas made with flour tortillas, which, just no. Thirty plus years later, New York City boasts a handful of decent-to-very-good Mexican restaurants, but nothing can compare to anything you can find at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, located in Old Town San Diego. Behold, the Crispy Cheese Quesadilla, one of Old Town’s specialties. This restaurant is famous for making its own flour and corn tortillas, and this unique, open-faced take on the quesadilla begins with a freshly-made, large flour tortilla, which is grilled to a flaky crispness before being smothered with mixed cheeses and served hot to your table with a side of sour cream. Mmmmm, deliciosa!
Do you like Mexican food? I sure do. As a transplanted native of southern California, I was already spoiled for life when it comes to excellent Mexican food by the time I got to NYC 27 years ago. But the bar for (what passes for) Mexican food in NYC has definitely been raised, a lot, in recent years, and now it’s pretty easy to find reliable sources for the fresh taste of California-style Mexican food all over the city. One of my favorite spots to pick up a burrito that gets me all nostalgic for L.A. is the fast casual chain called Moe’s Southwest Grill. Maybe you have Moe’s in your town, so you already know what I am talking about.
Last week, Moe’s threw a rad party, called An Honestly Awesome Night, over at the Hudson Mercantile Building, and a bunch of us press peeps were invited out to eat and drink until we were all fat and logey with delicious Moe’s food and assorted intoxicating beverages. Also, there was music, and some fun art. It was a good time. Let me tell you about it, and show you some pictures of what you missed on what really was an honestly awesome night!.
Moe’s was founded in Atlanta back in 2000, and I’m not sure if it is widely known that the name Moe’s is actually an acronym for “Musicians, Outlaws and Entertainers” — so clever! Sixteen years later, there are over 650 Moe’s restaurant scattered across the country, with the restaurant recently named Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant Brand of the Year by the 2016 Harris Poll! One of the main qualities Moe’s is known for is their literally millions of possible food combinations that can be created with all of their fresh and delicious ingredients. You can have it ‘your way’ and not be shy about asking for what you want when you go to Moe’s!
Say hello to Moe’s mascot, Joey Bag of Donuts, the Human Burrito, and check out his awesome dance moves! Did you know that all the music you will hear while dining at a Moe’s restaurant is by bands with musicians who have passed on to the Great Gig in the Sky? This is a great idea for creating an excellent playlist, since all of the best music happened in the 80s and earlier (my opinion). You can hear music by living musicians anytime, but at Moe’s you get a real pop-culture history lesson! How much fun would it be to play “Guess the Dead Rock Star” with your teenager (who thinks he knows everything) every time a song comes on? Answer: so fun! You would win every time, because kids today don’t know anything about good music.
One of the most popular items at Moe’s is the Legendary Homewrecker Burrito, and the party had a burrito station exclusively dedicated to making this delicious food item!
All freshly-made Homewrecker Burritos were wrapped and stuffed into these little round holes, so party-goers could just grab and go! What a great idea! Moe’s should change its name to Moo’s because we were all grazing like cows.
This is the Salsa-tails Wall of Great Refreshment. The Lime Green and Orange Colored Cocktails were a tasty homage to the Salsas served at Moe’s but they did not taste like a spicy tomato, they tasted sweet and potent.
The green one was especially intoxicating, and had a subtle flavor of cucumber.
Everyone loves a Burrito Bowl, am I right? They had Burrito Bowl station where you could customize your dish to suit your taste.
The food began to take a more artistic bent with the Quesadilla Spinart Station, which is exactly what it sounds like. Take a look below.
Artsy! The finished product was not only beautiful, but also delicious.
Another chef invited us to watch him do a Smashin’ Nachos Demo. This demo drew a large crowd of people armed with their smart phones.
We were then invited to eat the Nachos right off of the board on which they had been smashed. It tasted much better than it looks!
There was also an Art Exhibit for the unveiling of Moe’s Rockscapes: six musically-themed masterpieces, each one of which salutes a different memorable music moments. The Rockscapes were created with help of artist and photographer Carl Warner, who is famous for his realistic food scapes. and everything within each tableau is made from real food items! Click on any of the images in this post to enlarge them, so that you can see all the detail that went in to creating each photo.
The above scene is a tribute to The Beatles‘ final live performance, which took place in January of 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple Records offices in London.
This one celebrates the Jamaican Reggae scene.
The most ambitious Rockscape tribute is called Foodstock, which is, of course, meant to honor the first Woodstock concert in 1969, and the profound impact it had on both music and social culture. Foodstock is also the first of the foodscapes to receive the Augmented Realty treatment as part of Moe’s new Rockin’ Rewards loyalty app. Augmented Realty will give fans an opportunity to interact with the art and bring Moe’s fresh ingredients to life through their smart phones. With AR you can leverage the feature to play the onion drums, see bees buzz and, literally, create sweet melodies with Moe’s endless, high-quality food combinations! Fun! The six new pieces of artwork that will be in all Moe’s locations by the end of the year!
I hope you enjoyed living through me as I took you on a food-coma/journey through Moe’s Honestly Awesome Night!