3rd Coast Foodie
Mesquite Pizza & Pasta Co
For most of us summer is a time of nostalgia. Childhood memories of vacations and... Well, not even the vacations so much just of when life was a little bit easier or at least that’s how we remember it. I truly believe it wasn’t easier; we just had different views – usually from the backseat, having to endure whatever our parents had on the radio or worse listen to them talk, because we didn’t have cell phones, portable video games, DVD players, or tablets to entertain us… Although we did have Walkman Cassette players and boomboxes, but they really weren’t car friendly. And don’t even get me started on life without GPS! With all that being said, I think one of those feel good memories we can all share in is family night at a local pizza place. Trying to find that nostalgic feeling for my kids hasn’t been as easy.
This is why I really love Mesquite St Pizza and Pasta Company on N Mesquite Street and Starr Street in downtown Corpus Christi! First, it’s an old Corpus building that they have fully refurbished but has that nostalgic comfort – brick walls, old-timey façade and entrance, checkerboard tablecloths, and of course a couple arcade video games round out that wholesome feeling. But not too wholesome… There’s a bar serving all the best drinks, ice cold beer, and a selection of wines! The music and TVs serve more as white noise than entertainment when the tables get busy and they do get busy! And secondly, as much as we want to reminisce about our childhood, we live in a very modern world and that’s where we want to eat, and that’s another reason we love going to Mesquite St. Not only is the staff friendly and attentive which makes it a great place to take the family for lunch and dinner, it’s a great place to meet friends, and go to before a show. Speaking of which… Chuckles Comedy Club is on the second floor, not to mention all the live music around the area, and in October Fright Night Haunted House is upstairs too!
Every time we have gone to Mesquite St we’ve had pizza, and let me tell you… It’s good! They make the dough and sauce fresh daily and hand toss the crust. Our favorite is John’s Lasagna Pizza because it has loads of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and homemade meatballs. Our daughter has teased that she could eat a whole one by herself – fortunately these pizzas are very big, very filling, so she’s had to share with us. When we decided to write about Mesquite St we also decided that we weren’t going to only write-eat about the pizza, because their name also says “Pasta” but it could easily add “Steaks and Seafood”. We also needed to finish our interview with Eric Alaniz, this issues featured artist, so he and his brother Eddie (Shadow of the Giant’s Ejey) joined us. Well, this is where the nostalgia ends – I don’t remember ever getting pizza, pasta, and seafood as a kid this good!
When Eric goes to Mesquite St he always gets the Pizza Fries and I was so glad he suggested them! Imagine peperoni pizza sans the crust on a huge pile of fries – it’s the best of two worlds! My daughter and I barely shared with the guys. Next we had Fried Pickles, because we fell in love with these little dill treats and get them whenever we can. The Garlic Knots rounded out our appetizers and were awesome! Tender, buttery, and not overwhelmingly garlicy.
When we do 3rd Coast Foodie stories we want you to see what you’re getting when you order, so nothing special for us. But on this occasion Mesquite St did us a favor – we asked for a large with 4 different types of specialty pizza toppings, something they rarely do. We had Ashley’s Margherita, John’s Lasagna (of course), Marcie’s Hawaiian, and Joe’s Meat Lover! Wow, I think I died and went to pizza heaven!
As the name suggests Pasta is one of their specialties! Our daughter’s favorite pasta dish is Lasagna and Mesquite St’s Chef Marcus Rios brought his own recipe to the restaurant when he came in six months ago from Austin. Seven layers of goodness! Actually, Rios told us that sometimes he forgets and it often is nine layers deep. He has had a large role in expanding the menu to include steak, seafood, and chicken. Rios explained that he takes extreme pride and ensures that each plate is made to order and looks appetizing, because taste is only a part of the eating experience. At this point our entrees came out!
First we tried the Shrimp Scampi - large shrimp, spaghetti, garlic, and cherry tomatoes in white wine lemon butter sauce. As Eddie exclaimed, “Oh my God!” Next we passed around the “Bowl of Pasta-Bilities” (the build your own pasta bowl) of Spaghetti with Marinara and Meatballs. I couldn’t believe the size of the meatballs… 3 ounces each! Two of those equal the size of a steak at other places! This is when the Lasagna went half way around the table. Why only half way? Because that’s when it got to our Lasagna loving daughter! I did get a bite and it was excellent! However, the last entrée was my favorite and if I’d only held on to that selfish little kid that I could be I wouldn’t have let it get past me, but I’ve grown up and I shared the Italian Mussels. So fresh we could hear them cry when they went in the hot water! I’m only kidding, but they were extremely fresh and seasoned perfectly in a white wine sauce with fettucine.
At this point I felt a little like the Awkward Yeti comic characters, Tongue and Stomach. Tongue and his taste buds are always trying to over eat and poor Stomach cries out, but still expands. Well, I “needed” dessert. I needed the Cannoli, like I needed another hole in my head, but it was wonderful and that nostalgic feeling of a tummy ache and needing a nap took over!