Rick Bayless is prominent in the culinary world as a advocate for and educator of authentic Mexican cuisine. Numerous books and awards are to Rick’s credit, including the IACP National Julia Child Cookbook Award and the James Beard Award. Rick is often credited with single-handedly raising the bar of quality Mexican food in the U.S.
A couple of years ago my Chicago friend, Cindy, and I ate at Rick’s Frontera Grill, which specializes in contemporary regional Mexican cooking. Frontera Grill’s literal sister restaurant on N Clark St is Topolobampo, one of the very few Mexican fine-dining restaurants in the U.S. So my restaurant-explorer friend, Cindy, my Cincinnati friend and business partner, Robin, and our glorious friend and women’s fiction author, Mara Purl, of Los Angeles and Colorado Springs, gathered for Topolo’s farm-to-table experience.
A champagne margarita, the luscious intersection of elegance and attitude, was a great starter. The Ensalada Topolobampo with Bayless Garden greens and creamy lime-serrano dressing over roasted peppers and roasted cippolini and chicarron was light and deeply flavorful.
Enchiladas de Berejena, described on the menu as “enchiladas” of thin-sliced eggplant with three fillings, dark pasilla-ancho chile sauce and mesquite bean-oat crunch. Mysterious, subtly interwoven flavors.
Rick Bayless has a personal commitment to organic produce, as available, and supports local farmers through his Frontera Farm Foundation.
Topolobampo, 445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, 312.661.1434