frontera grill, chicago

last night we celebrated and ate. We are visiting Chicago for a couple of days en route to Grand Rapids for a 60th anniversary celebration of Z’s grandparents and we celebrated our own 2nd anniversary with dinner at Frontera Grill, whose chef/owner is Rick Bayless of recent Top Chef Masters Fame (he won last summer.) Frontera is a tour of authentic Mexico. He has been a long time and avid cheerleader for real Mexican cuisine with shows on PBS. We were delighted to have a taste of his cooking. The flavors and textures. I could go on. I need to look into the chile and salsas, moles and fire roasting meat. Lovely.

Here is what we ate, small plates.
emelas de Pollo en Mole Amarillo: crispy pinched-rim gorditas topped with coarse shreds of grilled chicken, roasted fennel and Oaxacan yellow mole (scented with hoja santa).
Flautas de Carnitas: crispy rolled tacos filled with Maple Creek pork carnitas and caramelized onions. Roasted tomatillo salsa, avocado-infused crema, “shoots” salad.

and dinner.
he: Especialidad: Braised Lamb Shanks with Oaxacan mole wrapped as a tamale in a banana leaf with densely mashed potatoes and lightly citrus bitter greens.
she: Torta de Elote: savory field corn torta filled with huitlacoche (inky corn mushroom), roasted butternut, poblano chile. Tomatillo-corn sauce, seared corn esquites, sunflower “shoot” salad.

Oh, huitlacoche… A fungus that grows on corn. Very bizarre. I tried it because I know this would be my best shot. Very good. Earthy and creamy and baked in a torta (cake). It is best to be aware but unafraid.

trying to be obscure and take photos without a flash in a busy restaurant even had fairly good results. The picture of my torta is the one in this post. I will post two other photos following.

trader joes

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I think Trader Joe’s is cool. I went there today and realized it is just like Aldi except without the ridiculous made-up names for products and the forced march through the aisles and cooler products. So, not really like Aldi’s but kind of. I wish we had them at home. It is unfortunate that I live in a city so bereft and sparsely populated.

We bought some not quite two buck chuck for a hostess gift. Two buck chuck is their take on table wine.

fox and obel

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early morning wake up call and lunch in a new place. fox and obel in downtown chicago.

he ate: grilled cheese with havarti, gouda and white cheddar with house made chips
she ate: breakfast panini with gunthrop farms ham, gruyere and roasted potatoes

hello windy city!