Showing posts with label barbacoa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barbacoa. Show all posts

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, Chicago

Serendipity would have it that the Amalfi hotel where I stayed at in Chicago was two blocks away from Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill and XOCO.

I decided to walk to Frontera Grill as soon as I checked into the hotel. The restaurant was packed, including the bar, but a bar seat for one is apparently pretty easy to come by. One advantage to dining solo (the disadvantage would be having a guy hitting on you while he's hiccuping, but that's another story ...).
I'm not sure what the theme was supposed to be, but the decor was rather ... unique, with some awesome-but-a-bit-creepy sculptures hanging by the ceiling, like this one:

The cocktail list at Frontera was pretty interesting. I started with Cerveza y Tamarindo ($10), since I don't come across 1) beer cocktails and 2)tamarind cocktails that often in the states.
This was made with fresh tamarind, Cazadores blanco tequila, and Ayinger "Ur-Weisse" heffe weizen. The tamarind lends the drink both body and tartness. Quite an interesting drink.

I wasn't used to eating alone at a new place and had a hard time deciding what I wanted to order. I narrowed it down to a few things and with the help of the bartender finally ordered the weekly special of the day:
Barbacoa de Borrego (red chile-marinated Crawford lamb slow-roasted in banana leaves, $23) - available on Thursdays.
Served with some warm corn tortillas, of course.
It was indeed a very good barbacoa, with the right flavor components. Despite having been marinated in red chile, it wasn't particularly spicy. I I found the tortillas a bit thicker than I would've preferred it, but the barbacoa itself was tender and very flavorful. t's just that the last time I had barbacoa I spent $8 instead of $23.

The people sitting next to me were gushing about the Topolo Margarita ($9), so oh, well, why not ...
Made with Sauza Commemorativo tequila, Gran Torres orange liqueur and housemade limonada, shaken at the table. A very good margarita, indeed.

"Sopa de frutas" (velvety tropical mamey-orange ice in guava, orange, and passionfruit afloat in passion fruit "broth", $7.50) sounded pretty light and I didn't want to leave and just review one dish, so I ordered it.
It didn't end up being as light as I expected, as passionfruit broth was actually a pretty thick puree.

It's undeniable that I had quite a good meal at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. It had a fun vibe and a solid cocktail program, which may justify spending an extra $20 on Mexican food than I normally spend. Maybe. At least on my very first trip to Chicago, I didn't mind doing so.

Frontera Grill
449 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 661-0381
Frontera Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's for Breakfast? Hidalgo-style Mutton Barbacoa

Our first full day in Tijuana on a trip sponsored by Cotuco and the Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau involved a food marathon across 7 restaurants, but one night was all we needed to recover, being the pro foodies that we were. The next morning we were all ready to chow down on some Hidalgo-style barbacoa!
Barbacoa Ermita opens only on the weekends and owner Victor Torres roasts one mutton overnight in the stone pit in the garage of his house.
By the way, we're eating in the garage too, which has been outfitted with tables, bathrooms, and a kitchen. Ermita closes when they run out of meat, which is never too late in the day.

Nothing like a glass of jamaica and some mutton barbacoa to start the day.
We start out with a bowl of consomme made with the drippings from the mutton being cooked overnight.
The consomme has been watered down but chick peas were added for extra flavor. Don't drink all the consomme though - this is meant to dip your barbacoa in later.

Then a container full of the lamb and another of corn tortillas were set on our tables and the party began.

This is a DIY affair. Cilantro, onions, and a variety of salsa are set on the tables for you to build your lamb tacos the way you like it.

Tender lamb with that smokey roasted aroma on grilled tortilla, plus all the traditional Hidalguense salsas you can grab off the table.

But that's not all. For the offal lovers, there's also the pancita which is offal stuffed lamb stomach tossed in chile rub.
Even the spices did not hide that strong offal flavors. Yum.

Read more about Barbacoa Ermita from Street Gourmet LA, Food GPS and Table Conversation.

Barbacoa Ermita

Avenida Ermita 807
Mesa Otay
Tijuana, BC
phone: (664) 622-1969
Open Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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