Tuesday, October 11, 2011
RESTAURANT REVIEW - Esquina, Lawrence, KS
801 Massachusetts Street
(at the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts)
Lawrence, KS 66044
Hours: Sun-Mon 11:00am–9:00pm; Tue-Sat 11:00am–10:00pm
A couple of the other performers at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival happen to live in Lawrence, Kansas, so Mark and I like to drive up there once a year during the weeks we spend in Kansas (between festival weekends) and have lunch with them followed by shopping at the many awesome stores downtown. Today, we had lunch at Esquina, which I've been told is a relatively new Mexican restaurant.
The entire menu is written on blackboards on the wall, and the gal behind the counter can check everything to find out what is (or can be made) vegan.
There were so many different things that looked good, but I decided to go basic and get a sampler plate of three soft tacos. I was told that the last three on the board were all vegetarian and could be made vegan, so that's what I got. The Peruvian taco had purple potatoes, roasted garlic potato puree, and a sort of coleslaw-like mixture of shredded lettuce and cabbage, the Calabaza taco had roasted zucchini and squash with butternut squash puree, and the Tobago Tofu taco had tofu marinated with West Indies spices, rice, and toasted almonds. The Tobago Tofu taco was a bit bland, but the tofu was done extremely well; being crispy-chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. The Calabaza taco was likewise on the bland side, but was very fresh and juicy. Since the Calabaza originally had goat cheese crema and the Tobago Tofu originally had coconut-lime cream, and both were left off in order to be vegan, I'm assuming that may have been the main reason for the slight blandness of the two. Next time, I may ask for an alternate sauce for those tacos. The clear standout was the Peruvian taco; the potatoes were extremely flavorful and had some good spice and heat, and the "coleslaw" provided a nice crunch.
Now, I say that I might try to get a different sauce with the Calabaza and Tobago Tofu tacos, but I'll probably end up trying something new, like the Paella (saffron rice & veggies), the enchiladas (with potatoes, guacamole, cactus salad, and salsa verde and a side of rice and beans), or the Mexico Salad (pineapple, jicama, avocado, radish, pickled onions, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette). The Adobo Tofu sounds awesome as well.
Tomorrow, I'll be posting about the rest of my jaunt around Lawrence. Stay tuned!