My husband and I spent this past Fourth of July weekend in Chicago celebrating our 6 year anniversary. Last year I gave birth to my second son so we were unable to do anything special for ourselves. So this year my husband swept me away and took me to Chicago especially to dine at La Frontera Grill. On our last trip to Chi-Town, we were unable to get in and my heart was honestly broken. I’ve been a Rick Bayless fan for about 4 years now, ever since I caught him on his PBS series, Mexico One Plate At A Time. I had the privilege to attend a cooking demo by him a couple years ago at our local Gateway Market. After tasting his food, I knew I wanted to visit his world-renowned restaurant.
It’s no wonder Rick Bayless and his restaurant holds a numerous amount of accolades including the JBF award for “Outstanding Restaurant” of 2007. Above and beyond the creations and presentations, he is an owner that holds a true belief of eating local and organic. He truly supports family farmers by recognizing that there is no better way to display the authenticity and flavors of Mexican food than to use the best pastured/grass-fed meat, sustainably raised fish, and chemical free produce by local artisanal farmers.
From the menu:
Our goal is to serve you seasonal sustainably raised vegetables, meat and poultry; and fish from sustainable fisheries. We support local, artisanal farmers.
At Frontera Grill, their sauces, salsa, cultured crema (Mexican sour cream), and corn tortillas are all homemade. I have never had a better tasting tortilla. For me, that could have been my entire meal and I would have left enlightened. The fresh tomatillo salsa was a beautiful blend of onions, tomatillos, and cilantro. Gabe couldn’t get enough.
For my main meal, I knew I wanted something from their Maresqueria Ecologica (Sustainable Mexican Seafood Bar). Ecologica in Spain meaning organic. I ordered Salmon al Cilantro con Mango.
grilled green garlic and crunchy jicama.
My husband opting for meat decided on Tacos de Asada al Carbon.
Mine was more in the form of an appetizer but having Mexican in my blood, I ate my meal wrapped in fresh, warm homemade tortillas, topped with some of my hubby’s guacamole and fresh tomatillo salsa. OH, MY GOSH!!! It was awesome!
Gabe loved his meal and as a true country boy, only wished he had more. Our night was almost perfect until Gabe looked at me and said, “Hey, there’s Rick Bayles.” I was so thrilled. We went over to him and he happily took a picture with me and told us to enjoy our evening. He looked so tired but still took the time to take a picture and smile. Thank you, Rick Bayless!
What made the perfect end to our evening was coming back to our table to enjoy homemade flan. We ordered a duo de flanes. A duo of traditional Mexican Caramel Custard, one infused with Mexican vanilla, the other with honey and Bayless Garden lavender topped with fresh strawberries. (Lavender from the Bayless garden!) They were both delicious.
This restaurant was everything I imagined it to be – fresh, local, creative, and authentic. If you’re ever in the Chicago area, I would highly recommend La Frontera Grill. One word of advice, call ahead of time to make a reservation. Gabe and I were waiting in line 20 minutes before they opened at 5 pm and we still had to wait an hour and a half to be seated. However, It was well worth the wait!