Susan Feniger, right, at Border GrillEXPAND
Susan Feniger, right, at Border Grill
Michele Stueven

BBQ Mexicana Pops Up in L.A.

Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken brought a taste of Las Vegas to the Border Grill patio downtown last week for a sunset barbecue featuring dishes from their latest venture, BBQ Mexicana.

The pair, still enjoying the afterglow of their recent Julia Child Award, introduced menu items from their new quick-service smokehouse across from the Border Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

As the aroma of smoked brisket and grilled corn wafted through the Financial District, executive chef and BBQ master Mike Minor was carving massive primal cuts and serving up burnt end burritos filled with chipotle coleslaw, crispy potatoes, manchego cheese and slow-smoked brisket slathered in BBQ mole sauce. The pulled pork burritos had a delightful crunch from fried onions and crispy jalapeños.

Kale saladEXPAND
Kale salad
Michele Stueven

There were plenty of non-meat options, including the smoked tofu bowl, a light mound of cilantro lime rice, habanero BBQ sauce, charred corn relish, cowboy caviar (black-eyed pea salad), smoked almonds and topped with crunchy quinoa. The chopped kale salad (which comes topped with any smoked meat upon request) is a tangy and colorful mix of avocado, carrot, edamame, watermelon radish, roasted red peppers, snow peas and marinated red onions in a coriander vinaigrette.

Margaritas and aguas frescas flowed at the pop-up as Milliken and Feniger shared their excitement over being inducted into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History when they’re in Washington, D.C., to attend the Julia Child Awards gala in November.

Chef Mike Minor serves up burnt ends.EXPAND
Chef Mike Minor serves up burnt ends.
Michele Stueven

"I think the best part of this award, honestly, has to be the fact that we get to support some amazing nonprofit organizations that Susan and I have had the pleasure of working with for many years," Milliken told L.A. Weekly. "We're so honored to be the first women to receive it."

Milliken will donate her half of the $50,000 award to the James Beard Foundation’s Women in Culinary Leadership Program, and Feniger will contribute her $25,000 to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s new culinary training program.

Smoked brisketEXPAND
Smoked brisket
Michele Stueven

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