Travis Mohlenbrink has a veritable spice rack of restaurants here in Peoria: Cracked Pepper, Sugar, Thyme and up until a few months ago he also had Salt on Prospect in Peoria Heights. Well he shook out all of the salt in that place and added a healthy dose of spicy pepper, tacos and a Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos theme and this new restaurant is called Cayenne. The new restaurant is already known for a large variety of tacos and Mexican inspired punches and mixed drinks but something else caught my eye when I was perusing the menu online: Sandwiches. I think this is the only Mexican restaurant in Peoria that has sandwiches, so what better place to go and have our 30th sandwich in so many weeks at? None that I know of, so let’s go hit the road to Cayenne!
We have a driver today and he’s just pulled up outside of MBIP World Headquarters and it’s John Ingles! We last saw John when he and his wife De had a party at Kenny’s Westside Pub, if you missed that post you can check it out right here. And you can look at John and De’s website for their business, Smiley Graphix right here. If you’re looking for graphics work, logo design, branding help, look no further than Smiley Graphix! Okay, now that I got that plug out of the way, John’s agreed to move forward towards our sandwich stop at...
Cayenne! I really like their sign, but I bet it looks a lot better at night all lit up, I’ll have to come back here on a Saturday night dinner post soon, but for now, let’s go inside...it’s freezing out here! Have I ever mentioned how much I fucking hate winter? Oh, I have, well I’m so glad about that! It’s the little things like this that keep me putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, so let’s do that and get the fuck inside where it's warm!
As soon as we step inside I see a familiar face, it’s Andy behind the host station who we’ve met at Sugar! He led us into the dining room...
Which is right here! it’s really nice in here and as you can see, this is a popular spot already! I really like the art on the walls, especially the Dia de los Muertos mural on the far wall. Nice!
As we settled into our table, John revealed his socks that were a little harsh! Well, I’m sure he’s kidding, let’s just move on to...
Our server, Israel, who’s got our menu and he’s very friendly as are everyone that works here. It’s a really nice vibe and everybody on the staff is welcoming and that always creates a nice atmosphere. We placed our order and now I’m going to abandon John and go and take some photos of Cayenne!
Here’s the bar, which is the same bar as it was when this place was Salt, but the lighting has gone from Cyan to Magenta and Crimson hues and there’s a “Cantina” sign hanging over the lit up bottles on display. There’s Josh who’s still behind the bar and it was great to see him in here, nice that he’s still in here despite the transition in spices! And I ran into Nick Vlahos at the bar who was getting an order to go. Nick’s a writer and reporter at PJ Star and is also known as, “Nick in the A.M.” Nice to see him in the P.M!
Tables line the far wall in here and there’s more Dia de los Muertos themed artwork on the walls over here.
Here’s a back room that’s available to rent with even more cool art on the walls. I may have to look into having an MBIP menu sampling party in here, I really like this room! The bottom photo is a shot from the back of the dining room.
Speaking of the dining room, I went back to the table and our appetizer had arrived! We tried the Queso Fundito which is a bowl of melted Queso Blanco cheese served with house made chips. The cheese was creamy and rich and a perfect start to a meal on a cold winter afternoon! I noticed I was the only one eating and then looked over to find John hypnotized by his phone. Now those socks made all the sense in the world...
Put the phone away John! Luckily he took my advice because it’s just about...
Sandwich time! As I said in the introduction, I think this is the only Mexican restaurant in Peoria that’s offering sandwiches and they have three on the menu and we ordered two of them. This John’s sandwich, he got the Fried Chicken Sandwich which is a huge slab of fried chicken topped with Swiss Cheese, Maple Chipotle and lettuce and tomato. He also got a side of their macaroni and cheese which really could be a meal unto itself, the portions here are more than generous!
One of the sandwiches that caught my eye was their Mexican Tenderloin Sandwich. I’ve had all kinds of tenderloin sandwiches in the course of doing this blog, but I’ve never had a Mexican Tenderloin till now! This looks so good, it’s a fried pork cutlet topped with a mustard tomatillo slaw along with onion, lettuce and chopped tomato. It looks so tasty!
Wow, this is such an interesting and delicious take on a tenderloin sandwich. They took a midwestern favorite and by topping it off with that mustard tomatillo slaw it really gives it a great south of the border taste! The pork cutlet was crispy on the outside and juicy and flavorful on the inside. The bread is really unique as well, it’s dense and crispy and holds the sandwich together very nicely! Wonderful sandwich and food here at Cayenne!
Israel suggested the Caramel Apple Chimicheesecake for dessert and while we were stuffed and had portions from our lunch in a to-go box, we couldn’t resist and I’m so glad we didn’t! This was such a sweet dessert, it’s a cheesecake chimichanga topped with baked apples in a sweet syrup, caramel and whipped cream. It was so good and a nice sweet treat after our savory Mexican inspired sandwiches! This was a great lunch and I can’t wait to come back for dinner soon! Thanks to John for driving me and joining me for lunch, it was a great time with wonderful food!
Three and a half Dagwood Bumsteads—Both sandwiches were really tasty but both John and I agreed that the Mexican Tenderloin was our favorite, you should go and try it out and don’t forget dessert!
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