notes from the mexican kitchen

Frontera’s New Menu: Mexico City Inspiration

“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 just that unctuous dish that has captivated our kitchen — Frontera’s spring menu offers plenty of reasons to be excited, like the crazy-good queso fundido with salsa a la Mexicana, smoked pork and housemade ricotta cheese.

Or the earthy mushroom enchiladas, inspired by the abundant hongos growing in Mexico City. Here, fresh-made tortillas are filled with a woodland mushroom braise (brown butter, caramelized onion, potato) and drenched in pasilla chile sauce, with homemade crema and añejo cheese offering a distinctive punch. 

We’re also crazy about the Mexico City inspired red pipian, a complex sauce of guajillo chiles, toasted pumpkin seeds and spices that complements grill roasted Gunthorp Farms pork shoulder. 

Another highlight? The Chicken Mole Tamal, a fresh corn masa tamal filled with chicken and grilled onions and served with Josefina Velazsquez de León’s Mexico City-style mole, a dazzling symphony of red chile, nuts and seeds.

And, of course, there’s our new desserts. Buttery crepes accompanied by goat cheese ice cream. Mango sorbet flecked with Honey Manila mangoes and poached rhubarb and chamoy. A duo of flan, one starring classic Mexican vanilla and the other reminiscent of buttered popcorn. As ever, they are out-of-control good.


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