LIVE TO EAT: “What is Mesa? It’s every reason to cross the bridge from Louisville and to visit.”


Previously I mentioned Bobby Bass’s hospitality in allowing me to sit in when Chef Peng Looi appeared at Mesa (A Collaborative Kitchen).

LIVE TO EAT: Chef Peng Looi at MESA on Thursday night.

 … Chef Looi’s mantra is “there’s nothing new under the sun” in a world of kitchens, and his advice for cooking is something along the lines of “keep it simple, stupid.” Refreshing wisdom from a grizzled veteran of the restaurant wars … and I very much appreciate his thoughts.

I was there “on assignment,” and as a sidebar, don’t forget to look for Food & Dining’s next issue (Aug/Sept/Oct), which will include my profile of the amazing Mimi Dabbagh, co-owner (with Looi) since 1987 of August Moon Chinese Bistro. She has a wonderful story to tell, but for some reason it hasn’t been told until now.

And a second note: I’m putting together a beer tasting at Mesa for Wednesday, August 23. Details are being sifted, but expect two appetizer courses prepared by Chef Josh Wiese (Brown-Forman) and five or six beer samples from the Starlight Distribution portfolio.

At Mesa for Peng Looi’s night, I was seated next to the “The Bluegrass Mom” (Angel Hamilton) and her husband. The conversation was much appreciated. Here is her blog post about the evening, and you’ll want to click through to see the photography.

A Night at Mesa, A Collaborative Kitchen

Tucked away in a storefront in the quaint and charming downtown New Albany, Indiana is Mesa, A Collaborative Kitchen. What is Mesa? It’s every reason to cross the bridge from Louisville and to visit. Mesa, a collaborative kitchen is more than a restaurant, in fact it’s not a restaurant at all but a unique dining experience that has created a small intimate setting for live cooking shows from Louisville and Southern Indiana’s best chefs.

My husband and I dressed up, greeted the sitter, kissed the baby goodnight and headed off to New Albany this past Thursday to experience the newly opened Mesa. When we pulled up to the freshly painted store front we saw Chef Peng Looi from August Moon and ASIATIQUE casually hanging out and chatting out front of the spot, a hint to how intimate this evening was going to be. Upon walking into Mesa we immediately knew that this was not a typical restaurant. The open concept room was divided into two spaces. On the right was a small shop adorn with cute cookware, delicious olive oils and toys for children all tastefully arranged. On the left of the room was a menu of the four course meal Chef Peng would be cooking for us along with an intimate kitchen that had 14 bar stools surrounding the chefs cookspace.