Orchard Lounge

Since The Orchard Lounge hit the scene, I’ve been drooling over their Facebook page.  I couldn’t wait to check it out and it provided me with the perfect excuse to plan a Girls Night Out.

I was the first to arrive and settled down into one of the cozy tables by the window.  It offered a perfect view of the modern, urban decor, and all the action. 

Of course, after seeing the margarita flight for weeks on social media, I just had to have one!

The drinks were made using a light tequila and a simple syrup made in-house.  Let me tell you, the flavors did not disappoint. 

The flight included four small glasses of some very unusual homemade margarita flavors: Habanero Lime, Watermelon, Strawberry, and Hibiscus Mint.  I decided to try the Watermelon first.  It was sweet and unexpected.  I loved it!

My friend Diana tried the Strawberry and said that it was perfectly sweet and tangy.  She exclaimed that it tasted just like summer.

My other companion, Cari, enjoyed the Hibiscus Mint, though truth be told, she is more of a straight-up kind of girl and said that it was a little to sweet for her taste.   

I was a bit unsure, but decided to help myself to the Habanero Lime, just to try something new.  I timidly sipped at the drink, cautious that it might be too spicy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the habanero peppers gave the margarita just the right flavor and tang.  It was actually quite enjoyable.

To accompany the drinks, we ordered the Cheese Board.  Frankly, it was a healthy serving and I could have made a meal of it.  The Cheese Board provided a delicious selection of aged cheeses including: gorgonzola, parmesan, gouda, manchego, and stella fontina.  Alongside the cheeses was freshly baked crostini and a wonderful assortment of berries.  I’ll definitely keep this delectable dish in mind for future reference, as the Cheese Board and a bottle of wine would make a perfect combination!

Needless to say, though we did indulge a bit on the cheese, we still decided to order official meals.  Again, we were not disappointed.

There were so many appealing choices that it was genuinely hard for me to order.   In the end though I decided to go with their famous Mahi Mahi Tacos.  I almost never eat fried food, but this was the perfect treat.  The fish was tempura battered and lightly fried, topped with cabbage slaw and chipotle aioli, served on homemade avocado tortillas.  I delightfully discovered that aioli is olive oil based and exquisitely different than flavored mayo.  The spicy zing was the perfect accent to the perfectly crisped fish, and though the tortilla had an interesting texture, it still had a savory unique flavor.

All in all, the combination came together perfectly.  It was definitely a generous portion, and like many of The Orchard’s dishes, ideal for “sharing amongst friends”.

Cari had a unique dining challenge as she was on a plant-based diet.  The menu options for a hot dish was a bit limited for her, but still, the Chef was able to whip up an amazing dish specially for her.  It was creamy risotto with asparagus, mushrooms, and butternut squash.  Being a huge veggie fan myself, I had to have a try.  My taste buds were elated.  The risotto was perfectly prepared and delicious.

My attention was soon diverted, however, as a ginormous, unusual looking burger was delivered to the table next to us.  I found out that this is The Orchard’s Concha Burger. I had heard about this before, but was amazed at its design.  In fact, this burger had been entered into the James Beard Foundation’s Annual Blended Burger Project.

This burger was HUGE!  The concha bread looked darker than a regular hamburger bun, and I learned that it is made to be stronger than usual so that it won’t get soggy and brittle once it’s loaded with the hamburger meat and other ingredients. 

The patty was a mixture of ground beef, aged chorizo, and shiitake mushrooms.  It was topped with an egg cooked in duck fat, apple wood bacon, string mushrooms, pickled cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes.  The flavor was accented with strawberry jam and chipotle aioli.  What a burger indeed!

The ladies next to us shared it, and by the looks on their faces, they were in heaven. They mentioned to me that they were definitely going to support this wonderful meal online.  Evidently, the chef with the most online votes gets to travel to NYC to present their burger at the James Beard Foundation’s Annual Food Conference.

So a big good luck to the Orchard Lounge. 

After lots of laughs with the girls, sweet drinks, and savory food, I took a moment to sit back, sip my cucumber lime infused water, and looked around at the lively lounge. 

This place is going to be around a long time.  And I’ll be back soon!

#OrchardLounge #GoodLuck #ConchaBurger    

The Orchard Lounge

1101 U.S. 83 Business, McAllen, TX 78501
(956) 252-0919