It’s been quite a month, hasn’t it? Let’s all take a brief pause and think about what brings us joy. Here at Frontera, that means looking out toward our local farms, toward Mexico, and doing our very best to bring the two together. We think we’ve done just that on our latest menu. Everything on … Continue reading “Smiles, Delicious Food” and Mole: It’s November at Frontera
Frontera has been bombarded with inquiries in the wake of peagate. What’s #peagate? Referencing a recipe adapted from New York City’s ABC Cocina restaurant, the New York Times tweeted out a link imploring cooks to add peas to guacamole, appending a supremely confident “trust us” to its message. Add green peas to your guacamole. Trust us. … Continue reading 13 Guacamoles That Don’t Involve Peas
As we turn our collective attention to falling leaves and shorter days, the Frontera chefs are, once again, taking the very best of the season and making Mexican magic. Consider the abundance of autumn on our latest seasonal menu. Cortland apples in our guacamole. Pumpkin puree mixed right into masa for the ricotta tamal. The … Continue reading A Fiesta of Fall Favorites: Frontera’s Seasonal Menu
Christmastime in Chicago is downright magical, what with the snow falling gently onto the glowing city streets. Step inside Frontera this month and there’s a different sort of magic, one that evokes the spirit of the Mexican Christmas. It’s warm in here. Festive. And the food? Well, the new menu is all sorts of amazing. “We … Continue reading A Frontera Holiday Feast
Moles are not everyday sauces. Truthfully, they’re not even every week sauces. In Mexico, moles are usually reserved for big parties and other special occasions, because, well, people have to work, you know? Capitalism doesn’t run on people sitting around and toasting chiles all day. And yet for every rule, there is an exception, and that’s … Continue reading A weekend mole that doesn’t take all weekend
Fonda Frontera, our outpost in Wicker Park, has launched its BRAND NEW catering service, which is basically the best of its menu, delivered to your home, office or wherever else you want soul-satisfying Mexican food. A few of the highlights: • TACO BAR! With oven-braised or wood-grilled meats and fresh handmade corn tortillas. Think classics … Continue reading Announcing: Catering by Fonda Frontera!
It’s almost time for the big game and that means parties. And is any party complete without some great snack? Without a great guacamole? For our party we’re cooking some pretty amazing, spicy red chile chicken wings and an epic guacamole with roasted tomatillo, grilled green onions, and smoky bacon. What else do you need? Well, besides … Continue reading Are You Ready For Some Football!?
Yellow mole is often served with chicken, chayote, potatoes and green beans. It is also delicious with grilled fish and mussels.
From Season 9, Mexico—One Plate At A Time
Makes one quart of mole
Getting a glimpse into the mind of a chef is always a treat. Earlier this week we caught up with Richard James, Chef de Cuisine at Frontera Grill, immediately after a staff tasting of his newest additions to Frontera’s May menu, which he said celebrates the arrival of springtime, highlights new seasonal dishes and resurrects an … Continue reading Chef Richard James Walks You Through Frontera’s Latest Menu
Frontera’s menus always beckon with Mexico’s most alluring flavors. But this month, we went over the top. Check out that duck bathed in a nutty, spicy, sweet salsa macha. Check out that striped bass, which has been marinated in jalapeño and paired with mole almendrado. And have you noted the seasonal guacamole? Toasted pecans. Morita chiles. Grilled … Continue reading Duck with salsa macha and PB&J Tres Leches: It’s Frontera in November
We all know that making mole can be an all-day (or even all-weekend) affair. This isn’t that mole. No, this Oaxacan yellow mole is the everyday sort, one that can be served with a lot of stuff—I’m thinking vegetables or chicken—you may already have in your pantry and fridge. What’s more, it’s infinitely adaptable. For example, I’ve swapped out the traditional hoja … Continue reading Ease into Summer with an Approachable, Adaptable Yellow Mole
Literally hundreds of dishes have been introduced in our kitchen since 1987. We can’t keep them all of course, but what we can do is pick the best of the bunch. That’s exactly what Frontera’s latest menu is, a roundup of sorts showcasing the very best versions of iconic dishes we’ve served over the years. … Continue reading Experience “Frontera Perfection”
Like so many of Frontera’s guests over the years, let’s start with the guacamole. Specifically, let’s talk about our “summer guacamole,” topped with a spectacular array of additions from local farms: cubes of compressed (that’s super-flavorful) watermelon, crisp cucumber, cooling mint and floral habanero chile. It’s a dish that’s indicative of the late summer harvest … Continue reading Frontera’s Late Summer Menu is Full of Seasonal Surprises
What can we say? We’re realists here at Frontera. So when it came time to name our new beet-carrot-pea shoots salad, we didn’t call it our “Spring Salad”—we called it our “Almost Spring Salad.” Because, trust us, we’ve lived in this city for a long time—the snow could come back at any second. Elsewhere on … Continue reading Frontera’s late-March menu is all about spring…almost.
The latest additions to Frontera’s latest menu are all about Oaxacan flavors. And yes, that means the complex, mouthwatering moles that characterize the Mexico’s South Central region. More on those in a bit. But Oaxaca flavor also means greens—tomatillo, serrano chile, nopales, knob onions—and the tantalizing smoky goodness derived from open-air grilling. Consider our green … Continue reading Frontera’s New Dishes: A Trip to Oaxaca
“After suffering the doldrums of the Chicago winter, we finally have something green coming out of the ground,” said Chef de Cuisine Richard James, admiring the garlicky goodness of the new grilled chicken in local ramp mojo dish before him. “We usually get really excited around here when ramps are available.” And how. It’s not … Continue reading Frontera’s New Menu: Mexico City Inspiration
Josefina Velázquez de León is an incredibly important name in the history of Mexican food. Sadly, most people don’t know who she is. This month, Frontera Grill is proud to bring you a seasonal menu inspired by this influential author’s many contributions to Mexico’s rich culinary heritage. Our chefs have pored over our collection of … Continue reading Frontera’s New Seasonal Menu is a Tribute to Josefina Velázquez de León
Seasonal summer touches are all over the new seasonal menu at Frontera Grill, and so is the Mexican inspiration. There they are in our new guacamole, packed with juicy strawberries and tropical, floral habanero chiles; and again in the charred green tomatillo “milpero” salsa that tops our Garbanzo Bean Tlacoyos, a common snack in the … Continue reading Frontera’s New Seasonal Menu is Mexican Magic
The dishes on Frontera’s latest seasonal summer menu have migrated from The Library (our private dining room) into the main dining room, but you might say they really originated in Veracruz. “A lot of these dishes are inspired by my family in Veracruz…this menu is a chance to showcase these dishes to a wider audience,” … Continue reading Frontera’s Summer Menu is a Family Affair
If you’ve been to lunch at Frontera lately you’ve probably seen a number of four- and six-tops, groups of people (probably co-workers) drinking margaritas like they’re going out of style (note: they’re not) and in general having a really, really good time—so good that you might wonder how productive they’ll be at work the … Continue reading Frontera-on-the-Fly: A new lunch option at the bar
I was finally able to locate a source for hoja santa plants which lead me to share this recipe for Mole Amarillo. This is a classic mole that pairs well with shellfish. Plus, as soon as I no longer have to worry about frostbite, I'm ready to start using the grill. If you use flat skewers instead of round ones for grilling the shrimp, they won't spin around when you flip them.
Rick has teamed up with our friends at Craftsy to bring you unprecedented access to the Frontera kitchen. Launched today, the “Essentials of Mexican Cooking” series contains five streaming video lessons presented in glorious high definition. Access them anytime and anywhere. Rick will step you through 15 recipes, including handmade tortillas, rustic salsas, taco fillings, … Continue reading Huge News! You Can Take Rick’s Cooking Classes on Craftsy
Score one for efficiencies in the modern food system. Luxurious pork belly is no longer relegated to butcher shops and restaurant kitchens. Well-stocked grocery stores are now carrying cooked pork belly (I buy it regularly at Trader Joe’s), allowing home cooks to skip a whole mess of steps and get right to the cooking. That … Continue reading Indulgent Weeknight Perfection: Pork Belly Tacos with Apple Guacamole
It’s #GivingTuesday, a day of charitable contributions, and here at Frontera, that means one thing: It’s a great day to give to the Frontera Farmer Foundation, our non-profit that awards grants to small, Midwestern farmers. But since this is a day about giving, we thought we’d do some giving, too. So: Donate $100 or more … Continue reading It’s #GivingTuesday, and we want to give you a book.
Frontera Grill is throwing a guacamole party and you’re invited! Come check out our test kitchen and library, where Private Events Chef Rishi Manoj Kumar will offer a hands-on, DIY guacamole master class. We’ll set you up with everything you need to make your own masterpiece … Continue reading It’s a DIY Guacamole Party at Frontera Grill!
For the first time in 32 years, Frontera Grill is hosting a happy hour. Just head into the bar on weekdays from the time we open our doors at dinner until 6:30 p.m. and we’ll offer you this special menu of mouthwatering snacks and drinks. Only available at the Frontera bar. New School Margarita Espolón reposado tequila, … Continue reading It’s Happy Hour at Frontera Grill!
Next week, The James Beard Foundation Awards are coming to Chicago for the first time ever. We’re looking forward to a few whirlwind days of top-flight food, good company and high hopes as the Foundation bestows its annual awards to the world’s best chefs and restaurants, including our very own Topolobampo, which is up for an Outstanding … Continue reading James Beard Awards: A Weekend Full of Fiestas
Overlooking the bustling River North neighborhood, La Vista offers mouthwatering street snacks, tacos, seafood, guacamole and a well-stocked tequila and mezcal bar. La Vista is not only super festive, it’s also completely flexible: we can accommodate your business meetings, happy hours, cocktail receptions, festive dinners or whatever else you have in mind. Ready to book? … Continue reading La Vista is Our Newest Private Party Room
Spring’s glorious arrival means it is finally time to step outside and start grilling. There’s no better way to kick off the season than with this hearty grilled chicken salad, made complete with a rustic guacamole mixed with grilled onions and the same garlic dressing you’ll toss with the salad. It’s a dish that’s sure … Continue reading Later, Caesar. Try this Grilled Chicken Salad Instead
Oaxaca is legendary among Mexico’s regional cuisine. It is, of course, the land of the SEVEN MOLES! But it’s a whole lot more. And that’s where Topolo’s latest menu will take you. First we head to to the beach for oysters and a little mezcal. Then we’re off to the infamous, smoke-filled “taco corridor” in downtown Oaxaca … Continue reading Let Topolo Take You to Another Oaxaca
First, know that this “soup pot mole,” as the name translates directly from Spanish, isn’t an all-day affair like other moles. Instead, it’s a brothy soup—not a sauce—that can be finished in your slow cooker (or oven) in a matter of hours. Still, like Mexico’s most famous moles, this soup celebrates the deep flavors of … Continue reading Let’s Beat Winter Together With This Red Chile Short Rib Soup
Sadly, finding a good Oaxacan tlayuda — that smoky, rustic treat of crispy tortilla topped with salsa, brothy bean mash and chorizo (or pork cecina or beef tasajo) — isn’t an easy an option for most of us here in the U.S. We simply don’t have the crop of Mexican corn to create the unique size and texture for the … Continue reading Let’s Talk About Avocado Mayo, Bacon and Heirloom Tomatoes on Grilled Tostadas
9:35am Good morning from Kendall College, where the second annual ModMex conference has just kicked off with coffee, granola—and a passion fruit-tequila-chamomile cocktail. We’ve got some amazing chefs who have flown in from New York and Mexico City for this event (and a few that have walked over from Chicago’s Randolph Street), and together with Rick … Continue reading Liveblogging ModMex 2014
Mangos show up a couple times in Frontera’s spring menu: There’s mango in the guacamole (don’t dismiss the power of fruit in guacamole, people) and mango sorbet in the sopa de frutas. But mangos aren’t the only signs of spring: We’ve got fiddlehead ferns in our chicken fideos, shrimp in a herb-packed adobo and carrots in … Continue reading Mango guacamole and oyster mushroom tamals—it’s Frontera’s new spring menu!
It seems like just last week that we were still immersed in Mexico City, 1491. Actually, it was just last week. But as of Tuesday night, we’ve jumped ahead 200 years to our new menu: Mexico City, 1671. Turns out a lot can change in 200 years. By the 1670s, the indigenous culture that we … Continue reading Mexico City, 1671: Our new “collision course” menu
I'm forever trying to come up with recipes that use the garlic mojo I always have in my refrigerator and hit upon the idea of using it to flavor guacamole. I added sun-dried tomatoes, which are a staple in my pantry, jicama for a crunchy element, and chipotles for heat. The result is a guacamole that you'll have to pry yourself away from and that's what happened when I tested it here!
We’ve always been inspired by the mothers of the traditional Mexican kitchen. In fact, Fonda Frontera owes its names to the fondas of Mexico City, those rustic and family-friendly neighborhood restaurants often helmed by a family’s matriarch. As the Mother’s Day holiday draws closer, Fonda Frontera, 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, will celebrate by featuring … Continue reading Mother’s Day at Fonda Frontera: We’re Cooking Moms’ Recipes
Tepito (Sunday Morning only) One of my favorite places, but one I recommend to folks who are adventurers and who are looking for a glimpse into Mexico City’s past. Lots of antiques, relics and paraphernalia. Adjacent to a large, working class Sunday market with clothing, cds, household goods, etc. Have the taxi driver take you … Continue reading My Very Idiosyncratic Guide to Some Near-Downtown Mexico City Food-Lovers’ Favorites
The Champagne is on ice. The mariachis are tuning up. Our wood-burning grills are fired up and so are we. New Year’s Eve is one of favorite nights of the year. Here’s a look at what’s happening in our restaurants. Ring in 2020 at Topolobampo with a special six-course menu celebrating our staff’s favorite dishes and pairings from … Continue reading New Year’s Eve at Frontera Restaurants
A lot of you have asked me for years about where you can get a great comal (flat griddle) or a really useable molcajetes (mortar) or the right pot to cook mole in or steam tamales. Today, I have your answer … and getting it into your kitchen is just a click away. Today, I get to tell you about … Continue reading Prepare Your Next Fiesta with Rick Bayless Cookware
Update: The event is sold out. Thanks for your interest. We hope to do it again soon. Any trip to Oaxaca isn’t complete without visiting Mezcaloteca, the revered historians and purveyors of fine mezcal. Intimate and private, Mezcaloteca is the perfect backdrop to learn about the robust history of this dignified spirit. On March 21, … Continue reading Rare Mezcal Tasting in The Library at Topolobampo
Let’s get this show on the road. Chef Rick Bayless will soon be traveling across the country signing copies of his newest cookbook, “More Mexican Everyday: Simple, Seasonal, Celebratory.” Filled with dozens of full-color recipes and expert guidance from Rick, the book helps home cooks step up their game. Inside, you’ll find time-saving tips, slow … Continue reading Rick on the Road
Chef Rick Bayless is headed to the kitchen in Wicker Park making some amazingly tacos for the “Fonda Fridays” series. “Occasionally, it’s nice to get out of downtown and just have fun in the kitchen. I can promise some different, delicious and downright joyful tacos. These tacos will be unlike any thing else I’ve done,” … Continue reading Rick to Host “Fonda Fridays” in Wicker Park
During this time of year, I'm always looking for new guacamoles that don't rely on summer produce. Last month Topolo was serving a similiar guacamole that used freeze-dried corn. I used that guacamole as a jumping off point for my version and substituted frozen corn for the freeze-dried. Roasting the corn in the oven enhanced both the flavor and the texture.
During the holiday season, it's always nice to have an easy appetizer in your back pocket, one that you can whip up using pantry items. So whether you're entertaining at home or looking for a dish to bring to a holiday party, consider this easy, tasty guac recipe.
The wait is over! Season 12 of “Mexico: One Plate at a Time” is starting to air on public television stations across America. Find your station here and check back at the official Season 12 page for episode streaming (coming soon)! This season, Rick Bayless returns to bustling Mexico City for an exploration of the … Continue reading Season 12 of Rick’s TV Show is About to Begin!
Seems everyone’s always asking what dishes to make for holidays and special occasions. Though it’s close to impossible to narrow it to a manageable list, I can say with certainty that this week’s Taco Tuesday recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas is perfect for any big celebration, including that big Cinco de Mayo fiesta you’re … Continue reading Slow-Cooker Carnitas for Cinco De Mayo
This recipe is adapted from My Search for the Seventh Mole by Susana Trilling.
From Season 9, Mexico—One Plate At A Time
Recipe from "Salsas That Cook"
When it comes to carnitas, let’s assume you don’t have the time or energy to heat a huge cauldron of pork lard and cook a cut-up pig. Instead, you might head to a restaurant that’s known for carnitas and buy some to bring home. But this near-effortless version of the classic Mexican preparation allows you to … Continue reading The Pork Carnitas Recipe You’ll Treasure Forever
We’re on the Chicago Reader’s radar. The venerable alt-weekly just published its annual “Best of Chicago” issue and our very own Rick Bayless topped the readers’ poll for Best Chef. Check it out here. Thanks, readers! The whole “Best of Food and Drink” is worth a read, as it highlights some of the coolest, undiscovered, offbeat and/or important … Continue reading The Reader’s Readers Pick Rick
Real talk about Cinco de Mayo: This year, it’s on a Monday. Which means that, really, you’ll probably celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Cuatro de Mayo, or Tres de Mayo. No problem. The day you celebrate Cinco de Mayo is not important; it’s what you cook that matters. On that front, we have some ideas: Our … Continue reading The Ultimate Cinco de Mayo Party Planner
If you’ve ever gone apple picking, you know how it feels to come home with bushels upon bushels of apples, only to wonder: What am I going to do with all of these? After all, a person can only make so many apple pies. That’s where this Apple-Fennel Guacamole comes in. It’s a modern guac packed with … Continue reading This apple guacamole is full of fall
OK, so you probably know that moles are the famous, time-consuming, special-occasion dishes that Mexicans make from a huge grocery list of ingredients. But this mole—one of the classic seven moles of Oaxaca—is the everyday mole, put together in a matter of minutes. It offers a satisfying, spice-and-herb—tinged yellow-orange sauce to buoy pieces of tender chicken and fresh vegetables. So what’s the … Continue reading This is Not an All-Day Mole (Seriously)
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 … Continue reading Topolo in 60: A three-course lunch in under an hour
The newest Perfect 7 menu at Topolobampo is the latest to reach into the past for inspiration. But this time, it’s a shorter trip. Instead of reaching to, say, Mexico City circa 1671, we head to Mexico City, 1941. Here you’ll find a lot of dishes that are now classics— fideos, mole de olla, pan de … Continue reading Topolo unveils Mexico City, 1941
An introduction to Topolobampo’s latest seven-course “story menu,” a culinary homage to Oaxaca. Download the menu here. Oaxaca always sighs deeply, exhaling a unique scent of sweetness and earth, of sweat and deep-rooted contentment, of smoke and elegant, daring spice. Oaxaca’s aroma is singular. And seductive. At least I’ve found it so, ever since my … Continue reading Topolo’s “Oaxaca” Menu: A Trip to Our Spiritual Home
Topolobampo, the groundbreaking fine dining Mexican restaurant from Chef Rick Bayless, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a one-of-a-kind celebratory dinner. Created as a movable feast with Rick leading the way, the dinner takes place Sunday, Jan. 26 at Topolobampo and throughout Bayless’ adjoining restaurants at 445 N. Clark St. “This party won’t be some … Continue reading Topolo’s 30th Birthday Dinner
Back in February, the Chicago Tribune’s restaurant critic, Phil Vettel, stopped by Topolobampo to try our Mexico City, 1491 menu. He called it “astonishing,” and we were stoked. Nobody expected he would keep on coming back to Topolo in the weeks following that piece, but apparently he did, and today he’s out with a new … Continue reading Topolobampo receives four stars from the Chicago Tribune!
Bar Sótano is turning one! Our speakeasy-style mezcal bar will celebrate its first anniversary with a special five-course dinner paired with the bar team’s Mexican market-inspired cocktails. The dinner takes place Nov. 13 in the bar, located in the alley behind Frontera Grill at 443 N. Clark St. “We knew Bar Sótano would be the … Continue reading Un Año: Bar Sótano’s First Anniversary Party 11/13
October sneaked up on us and now there’s no denying it: Fall is here, with all the amazing foods that come with it. Check out the roasted butternut mash on that plate with the pork in tomamole. And look at the threads of Swiss chard running through those tamales. The wild mushrooms stuffed inside those crispy … Continue reading Wild mushroom turnovers and smoked pork enchiladas—it’s Frontera’s October offerings!
This time of year, deliveries into XOCO from local farmers simply drive our chefs wild. Seriously, the look on their faces is amazing. Even better is what they do with all of those beautiful, fresh-from-the-farm fruit and vegetables. And therein lies the inspiration for our latest seasonal menu celebrating the height of the growing season. … Continue reading XOCO is Celebrating the Height of the Summer Season!
While we are huge proponents of home cooking — I mean, we have a vast collection of at-home Mexican recipes right here — we know that it’s sometimes too much to take on for a party, what with all that planning and preparing. (That’s to say nothing of the actual cooking and serving.) We also … Continue reading XOCO is Changing the Catering Game
It’s downright magical in Chicago. A chill has moved into the air as the city’s holiday lights begin to twinkle. And while our minds are focused squarely on the holiday season, we still gotta eat. Here at XOCO we are (literally) ready to deliver you our latest seasonal menu, one that features a wonderful array of … Continue reading XOCO is Full of Homey Holiday Happenings
Xoco has taken its catering game to the next level. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve catered a small party in a Wrigleyville condo, served guacamole and churros at the Merchandise Mart, brought a lunch fiesta to Salesforce in River North and drove hundreds of tacos and tortas — and eight gallons of our … Continue reading Xoco is Now Taking Cinco de Mayo Catering Orders
There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. — Elizabeth Lawrence This month’s Xoco menu was inspired by Chef Julio’s childhood memories of his mother’s kitchen in Mexico. The Red Chile Pork Loin torta is inspired by the meal … Continue reading XOCO’s Seasonal Menu “Memories of Mexico”
Tomato plants have reached their full height on the Xoco rooftop garden which means September has arrived! For Xoco’s new seasonal menu, the Xoco chefs have crafted some dishes to celebrate the sun’s lingering warmth and others well suited to brisker breezes which soon may blow. We are calling it, “Hot Days, Cool Nights!” Chef Alonso … Continue reading XOCO: Hot Days, Cool Nights
A very big thanks to Aly Bockler and the crew at WCIU’s “You and Me This Morning,” who dropped by early Friday to watch Chef Rick Bayless whip up his Guacamole with Almond and Grapefruit while showing off his new cookware line. Rick will be demonstrating the new cookware line at this weekend’s International Home … Continue reading You & Me & Rick This Morning