Jueves a la Mesa: Brand New Location, Same Delicious Vegetarian Eats
Article by Rachael Leonie.
If you’ve ever watched a Hollywood rom-com, you know what a meet-cute is (and if you’ve ever watched The Holiday you’ll remember it outlined perfectly, verbatim). It’s the scene in a movie when a couple comes together in some unlikely, quirky, and entertaining way, ends up hitting it off, and stays together forever. The Jueves a la Mesa story is the small-business version of this Hollywood love scene, and it all started in a small BA café.
Sofi, one-half of the Jueves a la Mesa duo, was a waitress at Meghan’s favorite vegetarian restaurant. As a vegetarian in a steak-heavy city, Meghan was often at the café for fresh eats and to seek momentary refuge from an otherwise crazy city. The two eventually got to talking, bonded over their love of food and expat status (Meghan from the states, Sofi from Costa Rica), and began building a relationship within the café’s walls. But one day, their paths crossed outside of their usual setting: Sofi was strolling through the streets and ran into Meghan, who was a bit frenzied due to the dinner party she was to host that night. Sofi listened to her explain the situation, then offered a helping hand. That night, Meghan and Sofi scurried in and out of Meghan’s kitchen, whipping up dishes while simultaneously entertaining the small crowd. The night was a success and the Jueves a la Mesa duo stuck.
Jueves a la Mesa isn’t new to Buenos Aires. The puerta cerrada is a staple in BA’s closed-door restaurant scene. But recently the girls have switched things up by bringing the weekly dinners into a new space, teaming up with local businesses, and adding more flavor than ever to their vegetarian feasts.
Last month, the power-packed chefs brought Costa Rica flavor to the table. Under the direction of Sofi, the group produced light, vegetarian eats from the chef’s home country, that boasted distinct flavors and depth. Dishes included spinach soup dotted with egg torta and mushrooms, tacos bursting with flavor and fillings, red beans and potato hash browns to accompany, and a cabbage salad dressed with citrus (which sounds simple but oh-my-god that flavor).
On the same night, Jueves a la Mesa coupled with Las Tortillas de Pancho Villa, a local tortilla delivery service, to ensure the Costa Rican dishes boasted that authentic corn flavor that’s impossible to find with the flour sold in BA’s supermarkets. Las Tortillas de Pancho Villa’s tortilla prep is labor-intensive –it’s what makes the tortillas so delicious and also why Jueves a la Mesa prefers to outsource this part of the cooking process. The company prepares the corn used in each tortilla by soaking and cooking the grain in limewater before husking, to give each bite that homemade smell and flavor. These aren’t your average tortillas found in Palermo’s wannabe-Mexican restaurants, and both Sofi and Meghan know that.
Jueves a la Mesa recently changed addresses. What is Biking Buenos Aires during the day now moonlights as their closed door.
Upon arrival, guests are seated around a large coffee table to start their meal with a light beverage and get to know each other. The ambiance is quaint, social, and relaxing. Once the meal is ready, diners make their way into a separate room where a beautifully-decorated table awaits, dotted with bottles of organic wine and full pitchers of water.
The Jueves a la Mesa menu changes constantly, recently experimenting with more global flavors. After their Costa Rican-inspired meal, the duo put themselves up to the test of creating an Indonesian menu. Dishes included gado-gado, a main course of succulent steamed vegetables and boiled eggs served under a peanut dressing, and nasi goreng, a traditional Indonesian fried rice.
It’s clear these chefs aren’t afraid of flavor and creativity in the kitchen. Our tastebuds, and waistlines, are thankful.