Tag Archives: Topolobampo

12 Days of Mexican Christmas, Day 3: Rompope

rompope_DIA217

It’s Los Doce Dias De Navidad. Day three. Time to talk about rompope.

The big question about rompope is, is it eggnog?

The answer: Basically.

It’s true that eggnog often incorporates egg whites that have been whipped but not cooked, and that, in contrast, rompope is usually cooked fully. But in all other ways the two are twins.

Sometimes this sweet, custardy drink is spiked with booze, sometimes not. Sometimes people buy it at the store, where it’s available year-round (despite having strong ties to Christmas); other times, people make it at home.

rompope

It goes without saying that we like rompope much better when its made from scratch. Our housemade version is being sold in adorable little bottles at XOCO. Alas, those are meant to be consumed in the restaurant only. (If you want rompope at home, there’s a recipe right here.)

But wait. There’s a third option: Come to Topolo, order the Fiesta de Rompope and eat your rompope instead.

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Behind The Scenes of Topolo’s New Art Menu

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DIPTYCH WITH YELLOW CIRCLES AND FLYING FIGURES (detail) Rolando Rojas (b. 1970)
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UNCAGED Lime-marinated Alaskan king salmon, Santa Barbara sea urchin, aji amarillo, creamy coconut, saffron-pickled knob onions, Bayless Garden micro greens, corn masa “jaula”
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SERIES: CHILDREN’S GAMES IV (detail) Rubén Leyva (b. 1953)
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JOY AT PLAY Tender local asparagus and radishes, spiced pumpkinseed “hummus,” savory tropical flavors, unexpected herbs
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BICYCLES AND CONSTELLATIONS (detail) Enrique Flores (b. 1954)
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TIMELESS WONDER Creamy tamal colado, tepary beans, garlic chive oil, homemade lardo,
allium in various guises

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THE CRY (detail) Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991)
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THAT MOMENT OF SELF REALIZATION Viking Village scallop crusted in sal de gusano, braised beef tongue, sorrel salsa verde, sea beans, cured nopal, Japanese root
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LEDA (detail) Rolando Rojas (b. 1970)
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THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM Halibut steak, camote potatoes, escabeche vegetables, guajillo chile demiglace
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UNTITLED (detail) Filemón Santiago (b. 1958)
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THE WARM FLOOD OF MEMORIES Sweet-savory brioche bread pudding with Prairie Fruits tetilla cheese, blackberry-brandy sorbet, spiced rhubarb and almonds, local cream, young herbs
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UNTITLED (detail) Jane Alt (b. 1951)
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THE GOLD-PLATED HUG Cajeta-ganache tart (sweet spice, 2 chiles), fruits & flowers,
prickly pear meringues, gilding

Browse all seven courses of our new art menu—and the artworks that inspired them—in the slideshow above.

Six weeks ago, Rick gathered the Topolo chefs around the big wood table in our library.

“This is going to be absolutely the most difficult thing in the world,” he told them. “You’re taking an emotional reaction and turning it into another emotional reaction.”

The chefs—Andres Padilla, Joel Ramirez, Jennifer Jones— looked at him a little wide-eyed.

“You’re going to have to let yourself get into the artworks,” Rick continued. “Not study them in a studious way, but really get into them. You have to step back and think: How does this make me feel?”

I was the lucky one at the table—I didn’t have to create a dish—yet even I could feel the weight of the assignment. In embarking on the Topolobampo Art Menu, the chefs had to grapple with the intersection of aesthetics and emotions. Then, somehow, they had to make it edible.

Still, when Rick looked at the chefs and said “So, how does this feel as a way to start?” the chefs said it felt good. Then they got to work.

Each of the three chefs picked a few pieces from our walls—whatever they were drawn to. And, as Rick instructed, they spent time with that piece and paid attention to their guttural, emotional reactions. When Joel stared at Enrique Flores’s “Bicycles and Constellations” (pictured, as all the artworks on the menu are, in the slideshow above), he felt pangs of love mixed with childlike wonder. “It’s about relationships and space,” he told me. The dish he created—the third of the seven courses—is built around two ingredients entangled in a famous love affair: onions and garlic.

When Andres considered Leda by Rolando Rojas, he felt almost toyed with. The painting is based on the Greek myth about Leda and the swan; what appears to be just a bird on the canvas turns out to be a commentary on rape. “It can feel like a bait-and-switch,” Andres says. So his dish, the fifth of the seven courses, is a bait-and-switch as well.

Filemón Santiago’s untitled depiction of a picnic was nostalgic for Jennifer. It took her to a place “of eating in a place that you typically don’t, in a way that you typically don’t.” Her dish, the first dessert course of the night, contains all the elements of those all-to-rare picnics, including that feeling of excitement.

This is not the first time that Topolo has developed an art menu; the first was a few years ago. But everybody who was around then has commented that, while the first one was good, this is the one that got it right. When Deann ate it for the first time, she encapsulated many people’s thoughts: “This,” she said, “is the most brilliant work we have ever done.”

Make a reservation to experience the Art Menu 2014 here, or call us at 312-661-1434.

 

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Cook Topolobampo’s chilaquiles for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) tonight

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We can think of many words to describe chilaquiles. “Sophisticated” is not necessarily one of them.

Topolo Chilaquiles

But when we saw what Julio DeLeon, a cook at Topolobampo, is doing with chilaquiles on the new lunch menu (that’s his dish pictured above), “sophisticated” is exactly the word that came to mind. There’s nothing rustic, nothing “artfully messy,” about these chilaquiles. No, these are chilaquiles you can serve at a dinner party.

That got us thinking—could we serve this at a dinner party? Really?

Yes, really. Let’s get started.

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The sauce is simple enough. In a large (10-inch) pan (we use cast-iron lined with tin foil), dry-roast 3 unpeeled garlic cloves, half of a large onion sliced 1/2-inch thick and 1 or 2 habanero chiles. Get them nicely charred, like you see above. (This will take about 7 minutes.) Let cool.

In a medium-large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. When the vegetables have cooled slightly, chop the onion, add it to the pot and cook, stirring, until it’s golden brown (3 or 4 minutes). Chop the garlic, add it to the pot and cook for another minute. Chop the chile and add it to the pot along with 2 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes and 2 sprigs of epazote. Let all of that simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then blend it until smooth and season with salt (usually 1 teaspoon).

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Now comes the fun part. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat and pour in 10 ounces of tortilla chips. You want thick chips here—thin chips will get mushy.

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Fold the chips into the sauce until all they’re covered in sauce. (If you want to toss in some spinach, or some pulled [cooked] chicken, this is the time to do it.)

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Cover the pot and let the chips soften in the sauce for 3 minutes.

Now you’re ready to plate. The guys at Topolo use ring molds for their chilaquiles, and this, essentially, is what gives them that white-tablecloth-ready look. Ring molds aren’t expensive (unless you buy them at Williams-Sonoma) but you probably don’t have them in your house. We don’t even keep them here in the test kitchen. So we came up with a hack: Ramekins.

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It totally works. Line 4 6-ounce ramekins with plastic wrap, leaving a good amount of overhang on either side. Divide the chilaquiles among the ramekins, filling each ramekin to the rim and packing in the chips lightly with the back of a spoon. Put a plate over each ramekin and invert the chilaquiles. After you (gently) remove the ramekin and plastic wrap, you’ll have a plate that looks like this:

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Don’t worry, it gets prettier. Top each mound of chilaquiles with 1 tablespoon crema and sprinkle the whole plate with 1 tablespoon queso fresco.

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You could eat it just like this if you want to, maybe with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. But to make it more Topololike, we added a little salad and topped the chilaquiles with a fried egg.

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It was so sofisticado.

 

TOPOLOBAMPO’S CHILAQUILES

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Votes: 6
Rating: 3.33
Servings: 4
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Ingredients

Instructions

Heat a large (10-inch) (non-stick or lined with foil) skillet over medium-high. Lay in the garlic, onion and chiles and cook, turning occasionally, until they’re softened and darkened in spots, about 7 minutes. Let cool.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium-large (4- to 6-quart) heavy pot (preferably a Dutch oven) set over medium. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, give the onion a rough chop and scoop it into the pot. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Chop the garlic, add it to the pot and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute more. Stem and chop the chile and add it to the pot along with the tomatoes and epazote. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Transfer the sauce to a loosely-covered blender jar and process until smooth. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Return the sauce to the pot, set over medium heat and bring back to a simmer.

Pour the tortilla chips into the sauce and fold them into the sauce with a spatula until coated. Cover the pot and let the chips soften in the sauce for 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Line 4 6-ounce ramekins with plastic wrap, leaving about 4 inches of overhang on either side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chilaquiles to the ramekins, filling each ramekin to the rim and packing the chips in lightly with the back of a spoon.

To serve the chilaquiles, place a plate over each ramekin, grasp the plate and ramekin firmly, then reverse the two. Gently lift off the ramekin and remove the plastic wrap. Top each mound of chilaquiles with 1 tablespoon of crema and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of queso fresco. If you like, crown the chilaquiles with a fried egg. Arrange the greens around the chilaquiles, sprinkle the radishes over the greens and drizzle the salad with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Finish the plate with a sprinkling of salt and you’re ready to serve.

 

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Topolo in 60: A three-course lunch in under an hour

Enfrijoladas

Life isn’t always as luxurious as you want it to be. Take your daily commute, for example. Chances are you got to work this morning via a car or train. A yacht would have been a more pleasant way to start your day, but there’s that whole time/money/body of water issue.

Lunch at Topolobampo used to be the same way: Fabulous. Luxurious. But time consuming, and thus something you couldn’t do every day.

Today, we change all that. Because today, we introduce Topolo in 60, a fabulous, luxurious prix-fixe lunch that gets you in and out of Topolo in an hour for $25. (Of course, if you feel like extending your stay, be our guest!)

What does a Topolo in 60 menu look like? Luxurious, obviously. Here’s a sample menu so you can see for yourself:

TOPOLO IN 60

STARTER CHOICES:
Classic Salad
Bayless greens, toasted walnuts, walnut oil, lime, chile threads

Sopa Azteca
Pasilla broth, chicken, crispy tortillas, avocado, local cheese, crema

Classic Ceviche
albacore, lime, tomato, serrano chile, olives, cilantro

MAIN CHOICES
Carne Asada
wood-grilled natural-raised flank steak, Oaxacan black mole, chepil tamal, smoky green beans

Atlantic Striped Bass
yellow mole (guajillo, hoja santa, tomato), crispy Chesapeake Bay oysters, fennel, local mushrooms

Enfrijoladas
homemade tortillas, parsnip-camote mash, creamy cincho cheese, luscious black bean- habanero sauce, frisee salad

DESSERT CHOICES
Cajeta Brownie Sundae
Mexican vanilla-milk chocolate ice cream, Mexican chocolate brownies, cajeta, whipped cream, meringue

Sopa de Frutas
creamy mango-coconut swirl sorbet, papaya, honey Manila mango scented with Bayless Garden kafir lime, sparkling Beck Grove lime-pineapple “broth”

THREE COURSES | 25
WINE PAIRINGS 15 | 25

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Topolo’s new March dishes

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Winter Salad Lime dressed beets, grapefruit, avocado two ways, Baja Olive Oil, olive wood-smoked scallops, homemade carne seca (dried beef), serrano chile.
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Tortita Ahogada Pork belly 2 ways (wood grilled, lardo), homemade "porridge bread," spicy tomato arbol sauce, pickled rutabaga, Mexican oregano.
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Lamb in Mole de Calabaza Smoky, slow-cooked lamb "porchetta," pumpkin mole (ancho, tomato, spices, pepitas), roasted sunchokes, fingerlings.
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Winter Walleye Cured Lake Erie walleye, braised heirloom white beans with guajillo chile, spinach & clam, creamy Iriquois white corn fritter.
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Tropical Tastes Papaya sorbet, pumpkin “pudding” & tropical mamey, crunchy amaranth alegrías, warm local honey.
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Queso y Frutas Warm brioche bread pudding (infused with queso anejo), poached quince, queso anejo ice cream, Seedling Farm persimmon puree, hazelnut crumble.
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Peaches in Cream Goat milk crema mousse filled with Masumoto peach gelatin & Klug Farm raspberries. Buttery shortbread, Bayless Garden geranium natilla.

The kind words we’ve received about our Mexico City 1491 menu have inspired us to keep those dishes on the menu a little longer (they’ll be around until March 29th). But we couldn’t help adding a few new things here and there. Our winter salad (yes, it’s still winter here) pairs silky scallops with rich dollops of avocado and crispy shards of carne seca (dried beef); our new lamb dish makes good use of chef Andres’s lamb porchetta; and we’ve not one, not two but three new desserts on the menu, including one topped with a geranium from Rick’s garden—a subtle hint that spring might finally be on its way.

 

 

 

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