Saturday, April 24, 2010


I'll admit, Matt and I are one of those couples who check out restaurants based on drool-inducing shows on Food Network or Travel Channel. We went to Lucky's in Wrigleyville after we saw their french-fry-stuffed sandwiches on Man v. Food. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives featured Cemitas Pueblas, so we drove to Chicago to try it.

Unfortunately, sometimes these features mar the authentic local flavor of the place by sending out-of-towners like us flocking to try it. Comet Cafe in Milwaukee is often too busy for people in the neighborhood to get in since the suburbanites saw Guy Fieri's visit.

On the other hand, these restaurants are getting this kind of publicity for some reason. And each place we've tried at a TV show's recommendation has not disappointed. So, a few weeks ago, we did it again. My parents and their friends were going to do some sight-seeing in Chicago with us, and they had the brilliant idea to head for one of Rick Bayless' restaurants. He has a veritable complex of eateries: the high-end Topolobampo, mid-range Frontera, and a lunch place, Xoco, with churros that smelled soooo good. Brunch at Frontera was all we could get reservations for, which was fine since that's where we had seen an amazing dish featured on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

carne asada a la Oaxaquena

Matt and I shared this rib steak, which was easily the most flavorful, tender steak I've ever had. The smoky and slightly spicy sauce made the perfectly-cooked meat so succulent. Fried plantains topped with a bit of queso fresco and crema rounded out the meal as Bananas Foster's more subtle cousin. The other plates at the table were also good, but in my opinion none held a candle to that steak.

tacos al carbon with duck

sapitos: gorditas with chorizo & plantains, scrambled eggs, and chicken and black bean mole

frothy Mexican hot chocolate

chocolate hazelnut tart

The entire meal, from the tasty limeade margarita and chips and salsa to the desserts, was perfectly enjoyable. I would return to try the new menu when it changes. We even got to see chef Rick Bayless himself, making his rounds in the kitchen. Thank you again, food television.

1 comment:

  1. Rick Bayless also has his own show on PBS. He made some really tasty tortas once on the show which I have still yet have to try to make. He's into using microgreens as well.