Rick Bayless and Frontera

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I've eaten here once (thanks to Sharlot), and the four of us absolutely loved the whole experience. We actually ate at the part of his restaurant that allows reservations (Topolobampo), but I think the food is related in spirit if not exactly the same from day to day. We talked about going again for my birthday, but didn't make it yet.

Seems like Bayless is a decent dude on top of all of his deserved success.

Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures: Recipes and Stories
“Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures: Recipes and Stories” (Rick Bayless, Lanie Bayless)

Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty :

Bayless, a 53-year-old ageless wonder who’s ripped like a Men’s Health cover model from his regular power yoga routines, doesn’t need me to get his back. But in January, I made a call for Chicago’s top chefs to offer high-quality eats at a more affordable price in this space, and Bayless is really the only one of the big chefs that has done this.
Frontera Fresco, located on the seventh floor of Macy’s, might be the most important development in high-quality, quick-service food in Chicago. Posters in the thread questioned his integrity precisely because of this move. They didn’t particularly elaborate on their concerns, though my speculation is they see Fresco as an exercise in crass commerce.
The reality is that Frontera Fresco is one of the only spots in the country where you can find well-crafted, fresh-griddled masa flatbreads, topped with all-natural meats, aged Mexican cheeses and high-quality roasted vegetables cooked to order all for about seven bucks. Furthermore, except for Hot Doug’s, I can’t remember the last time I saw so many fashionistas, hipsters, grandmas, children, Caucasians, African Americans, Asians and Latinos all bellying up to the same counter.
After having interviewed almost every haute chef in the city, as well as chefs at many family oriented and ethnic joints in Chicago, I can say without a doubt, when you consider the grant program from its farmer’s foundation, there isn’t any kitchen in this city as committed to organic, local and sustainably farmed ingredients as Frontera. There are a surprising number of hotshot local chefs who show up at the markets for their photo-op trips, but their restaurant larder is filled with rows of Sysco or other commercial-grade food-service products.
The final criticism of Bayless leveled on the board [local food board LTHforum.com regarding Frontera Grill’s recent nod as “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” from the James Beard Foundation, http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=13289]was that Frontera doesn’t take reservations for small parties. This of course is one of his most democratic moves, ensuring that anyone with patience and foresight can score a meal. This ensures rabid foodies can’t hoard reservations ahead of time or rich folks can’t commandeer tables for weeks on end.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on May 23, 2007 7:00 PM.

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