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Cafée Tacuba

Cafée Tacuba
Recipe Below

Meyer Lemon Margarita

El Diablo

El Diablo


For a detailed description & pricing information
for Frontera click here.

Book Plates Available. While supplies last.

A brand-new collection from America's leading authority on Mexican cooking.

For years, fans have urged Rick Bayless to collect recipes for his prized margaritas, guacamoles, and snacks in one book. Now Rick shares 35 new and classic margaritas, including his version of the perfect margarita, the popular Topolo Margarita, and modern variations made with Mezcal. There's a margarita for every budget, taste, and season, including the Quintessential Strawberry Margarita. Rick also provides a guacamole recipe for each month of the year, such as a summer guacamole with grilled sweet corn and roasted jalapeños. As added bonuses, Rick suggests aqua fresca cocktails, with fresh fruit juices, and offers recipes for nut and vegetable snacks. More...

Grilled Corn and Porblano Guacamole

Grilled Corn & Porblano Guacamole

Sesame-Green Chile Pecans

Brown Butter Guacamole with Porcini and Crab

Brown Butter Guacamole with Porcini & Crab
Recipe Below

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

When my wife, Deann, and I opened Frontera Grill in 1987, after having spent a number of years living in Mexico, we had a single goal: to bring the then little-known regional flavors of Mexico to an audience we guessed wouldn’t have tasted them, an audience we were convinced would fall in love with them as we had. Downtown Chicago became our location of choice for several reasons: Chicago has the second-largest concentration of Mexican immigrants in the United States, which, happily for us, meant an easy availability of ingredients. Plus, we had the support of Deann’s family there and a burgeoning group of diners who were very enthusiastic about new restaurants offering something beyond the steak-and-potatoes fare Chicago was known for.

In many ways, except for a very few exceptions, the 1980s were the antithesis of today’s locavore, farm-to-table restaurant culture. In fact, when we opened our restaurant’s doors, all notable Chicago chefs prided themselves in sourcing their key ingredients from exotic locales.

While living in Mexico, I’d become steeped in a different way of thinking. There I’d learned that the most varied, most delicious regional cuisines flourished from a special synergy between the cooks and the local growers and producers, resulting, after many generations, in sound and very pleasurable traditions for nourishing the community.

Nevertheless, I knew that if I wanted my restaurant to be taken seriously in Chicago in 1987, I needed to create an “authentic” dining experience for my guests, and that most of them would understand that to include a menu of imported ingredients turned into faithful, “museum-quality” reproductions of dishes I’d tasted in Mexico. My heart sank. That kind of restaurant--one that serves “classic” dishes that most diners have never tasted before, made from ingredients far from their source--seemed artificial, cut off from its lifeline. Cuisine, to stay alive and vigorous, must be an ongoing dialog between cooks and diners, reflecting culture and place.

I quickly realized that striving for out-of-context authenticity was like chasing a shadow, a distant memory. Without all the freshest ingredients from the locale that had given life to a dish--without the locals to cook and eat the dishes, without the unique scent of the place--there was no way to match my Mexican experience. Think about a simple plate of chilaquiles made from those crispy Oaxacan heirloom corn tortillas simmered in a sauce of local Zapotec pleated tomatoes. It’s seasoned with smoky dried Oaxacan pasilla chiles and epazote; I’ve developed a Chicago source for the chiles, but the epazote grown in Oaxacan soil tastes considerably different from what I grow in my backyard. And the plate’s garnish of thick cream and cheese from local grassfed herds has flavors I’ve tasted only there. Trying to create a pitch-perfect version of that everyday Oaxacan dish in Chicago would be pointless, impossible.

There is one thing I could strive for: deliciousness. I could create an utterly delicious plate of chilaquiles. I could make it from the best ingredients available to me, ingredients that are first and foremost chosen from my local Chicago seasonal bounty--crafted by dedicated artisans. And for ingredients we can’t produce in Chicago, we’d search for ones that could withstand transportation and ones from small artisan producers that we could get to know personally. That wonderful plate of chilaquiles would pay unwavering respect to the Mexican culinary tradition I’d studied for years. But, as with any passionate cook, the dish would be expressed through my hands; it would express my vision (both traditional and contemporary) and communicate to my customers about my love and passion for Mexican flavor and culture.

This book is a perfect expression of the Frontera spirit. It’s filled with delicious creations we make in Chicago, inspired by three muses: by the lively Mexican traditions of guacamole, tequila and spicy nuts, vegetables and fruits from street stalls; by our amazing local growers and producers; and by our passionate guests, who’ve been smitten with Mexican culture through its flavors and textures...

Copyright © 2012 by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Reprinted from Frontera with permission from W.W. Norton & Company.

Cafée Tacuba

Café Tacuba

Bartender ’s Notes:
To prepare the chocolate for rimming the glass, roughly chop some Mexican chocolate, then pulverize it in a food processor or an electric spice grinder. Ibarra and Abuelita are brands of Mexican chocolate commonly found in well-stocked groceries--Mexican or otherwise--but specialty brands like Taza will give you much more chocolate flavor. You may think it odd that I’ve called for a blanco tequila here, as aged spirits, after all, are associated with after-dinner libations. The blanco’s brightness makes this drink sparkle.

Makes 1 Cocktail

Finely ground Mexican chocolate (See Bartender’s Notes)
1 ounce 100% blue agave blanco tequila
1 ounce Kahlúa
1 ounce espresso or very strong coffee, at room temperature
1 ounce half-and-half
6 to 10 ice cubes (about 3/4 cup)

Spread the ground chocolate on a small plate. Moisten the rim of a 6-ounce martini glass with a wet paper towel, then upend the glass onto the chocolate to crust the rim.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, Kahlúa, espresso or strong coffee, half-and-half and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into the chocolate-crusted glass and serve immediately.

Copyright © 2012 by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Reprinted from Frontera with permission from W.W. Norton & Company.

Cafée Tacuba

Brown Butter Guacamole with Porcini and Crab

Cook’s Notes:
I love jumbo lump crabmeat or plump morsels extracted from Alaskan king crab legs, but those are not always within reach. Use what you like, what’s available or what you can afford. Dried porcini, while very special, are available in most well-stocked grocery stores and won’t break the bank.

Ideas for Serving:
This is such a surprising, over-the-top guacamole that I’d serve it in the most beautiful bowl I have, along with unexpected accompaniments for dipping or onto which your guests may want to spread this treat: a variety of root vegetable chips (sweet potato, beet, taro), jícama, crispy toasts or croutons or out-of-the-ordinary crackers. Or make your own tortilla chips and top each one with a spoonful of the guacamole, a bit of crab and an herb leaf. Pass them to your guests--who will never forget these perfect bites.

Makes About 3 Cups

1/3 ounce (1/4 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 árbol chiles, stemmed and chopped into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 ripe medium-large avocados
1 large green onion, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or parsley, plus a little extra for garnish
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) crabmeat, picked over for stray bits of shell, then coarsely shredded

Place the dried porcini in a small bowl, pour on 1/4 cup very hot tap water and let soak for 30 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. As the foaming begins to subside, pay close attention: when the butter has turned nut brown and the foaming has subsided, remove the skillet from the heat, add the chopped árbol chile and garlic and stir for a minute, until richly aromatic, then return the pan to the heat. Tip in the porcini soaking liquid and simmer briskly until the mixture begins to sputter (indicating that most of the liquid has evaporated), about 5 minutes. Cool.

Cut the avocados in half, running a knife around the pit from top to bottom and back up again. Twist the halves in opposite directions to release the pit from one side of each avocado. Remove the pit, then scoop the flesh from each half into a large bowl. Add the brown butter mixture (it may have congealed some but it should still be soft). With an oldfashioned potato masher, a large fork or the back of a large spoon, coarsely mash the avocado and butter together.

Chop the drained porcini into little bits and add them to the avocado, along with the sliced green onion, lime juice and sage or parsley. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

When that moment arrives, scoop the guacamole into a serving bowl, scatter the crab over the top and sprinkle with chopped sage or parsley.

Copyright © 2012 by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless. Reprinted from Frontera with permission from W.W. Norton & Company.

About The Authors

Photo of Rick and Deann Groen Bayless by Paul Elledge

Photo (above) is by Paul Elledge.

Rick Bayless’s most recent cookbooks are Fiesta at Rick’s and Mexican Everyday. With his wife Deann, he owns and operates Chicago’s casual Frontera Grill, the 4-star fine-dining Topolobampo, and XOCO, a LEED-certified quick-serve restaurant.


  • Bravo TV's Top Chef Master
  • James Beard Award, Mexican Everyday
  • Gourmand World Cookbook Award, Mexican Everyday

Deann Groen Bayless has coauthored seven books with her husband Rick Bayless; co-owns and co-operates Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO with him; and feels she’s done a pretty good job nurturing along their teenage daughter, Lanie. She is a former president of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, a national organization that promotes the education and advancement of women in the restaurant industry, and is the administrator of the Frontera Farmer Foundation.

For a price & to purchase Frontera click here.

Also by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless:

Mexican Everyday 
Fiesta at Rick's

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