Road Trip: Red Mesa Cantina (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Red Mesa Cantina (128 3rd Street South) is a stylish neo-Mexican bistro, sleekly dark inside but with a huge outdoor garden-y seating area too.  Excellent but somewhat over-self-confident service.  Platings are gorgeous, someone in the kitchen has a flair for design, in particular the empanada was served amidst swirls of sour cream and red sauce, maybe even too much, kind of detracting from the (very good) empanada itself. Duck tacos, sweet with pineapple and spicy with chilis, are also delicious; same goes for the simple but satisfying guacamole.  Only one real disappointment: the margarita was too heavy on the agave nectar and too small to justify the $10-$20 price tag (depending on your tequila selection).  Aside from that, we loved our lunch.

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