Last weekend a good friend of mine decided that we should have dinner at one of her favorite spots. I hurried and threw together an outfit, and raced out the door to make our reservation at Moe’s Cantina in the River North area. The restaurant had an intoxicating ambiance with a warehouse chic setting. I knew the place was known for its northern Mexican selection, and I was anxious to see what their menu had to offer.
I decided to step out my comfort zone and chose something on the menu that I normally wouldn’t pick. As I thumbed through the menu, I decided on their Paella dish. The dish included shrimp, clams, Andouille sausage, chicken breasts, rice, broth and mussels. This would be my first time trying mussels!
I enjoyed the dish, but I mostly enjoyed the mussels. Having a newfound thirst for them, I was curious if The Chopping Block had a class with mussels on the menu. I was able to attend a grilling class featuring mussels, and I learned how to prepare them on the grill. It was a new way of enjoying them, and it has become one of my favorite dishes. While researching different recipes with mussels, I learned that mussels are actually in season during fall through spring months. However, they are not good for storage and are best to be prepped and cooked the day of.
I know there’s an obsession with seafood boils right now and more people are becoming comfortable cooking seafood at their leisure. I always enjoyed seafood myself, but never went past crab, lobster or shrimp. My friend convinced me that I was just robbing myself of indulging in the other pleasures that seafood has to offer. By sticking with common crustaceans I was familiar with, I wasn’t open to trying new things. After taking the grilling class, I became comfortable with preparing a variety of different shellfish. I also discovered how grilling can really bring the best flavors out of anything including: meats, veggies, fish, etc. Cooking mussels can seem intimidating and usually people tend to just get them while out to eat like me. But they didn’t require that much maintenance to cook; it was actually a fast and easy process!
Now I’m in the process of finding a new dish that I’ve never tried before that I was hesitate to in the past. I also will be purchasing a new grill next summer, since I’m a grilling master now with newfound tricks under my belt.
Check out the other grilling classes we have to offer at Lincoln Square before grilling season comes to a close:
- New Orleans Brunch on the Grill Sunday, October 20 12pm
- The Argentine Grill Friday, October 25 6:30pm
- Grilling Fiesta Sunday, October 27 12pm
Never be afraid to try a meal out that’s out of your comfort zone, it might end up being your new favorite dish!