All tagged rick bayless

Favorite Dishes of 2012

In compiling this list, I faced the difficult task of choosing dishes that stood out on their own, outside the context of the meals in which they appeared. My favorite dishes from this year are very different from my favorite meals, which can be viewed here. For me, 2012 was an incredible year. It brought me from Noma to Sukiyabashi Jiro, from Tickets to Saison and Masa. Nearly 200 Michelin stars later, 2012 was the most diverse eating year of my life. But despite the many dishes I've consumed (and pounds I've gained) in fine-dining restaurants, the dishes that stick out in my mind this year are the simplest ones. Not the caviar and foie gras from Europe, but rather the shellfish tostadas from Mexico's Baja peninsula and fresh fish from Tokyo.

Of all the places I’ve visited this year, these are the dishes that particularly stood out ranked one through twenty five.

Favorite Dishes of 2011

In selecting a list of best dishes from 2011 I faced the difficult task of choosing those which stood out on their own, outside the context of the meals in which they appeared. My favorite dishes from this year are very different from my favorite meals, which will be shared in a shortly upcoming post. For me, 2011 was a year of many discoveries. It was the year I had the realization that Mexico is on par with some of the greatest culinary destinations of the world, including Japan, China, France, and Italy. It was a year where the food scene in Sweden skyrocketed forward and is now on track to catch up with neighboring Denmark. It was also a year where I realized one does not have to travel very far for exceptional eating. Some of the best restaurants are right here in the United States, and San Francisco, Charleston, and Chicago are leading the pack.

Frontera Grill

Mexican cuisine is extremely regionalized; each state has its own specialties and variations on national dishes. A lot of this regionalization is due to Mexico's diverse climate. Tacos al Pastor, the late night street food where pork is sliced from a spit and layered in a corn tortilla with pineapple, originates far from the ocean in Mexico City where swine is abundant.. Ceviche, campechanas, and seafood cocteles can be found in coastal states like Baja California and Sinaloa, where fresh fish is plentiful. Tinga, a dish where shredded pork is placed in a clay pot and stewed with chipotle, tomatoes, onion, and garlic, can be traced back to the farms of landlocked Puebla. Given this incredible specialization of regions and their dishes, creating a single pan-Mexican restaurant that tackles all of the regions while maintaining quality, is no easy task.

Mariscos Cepy's

Mexico's rich and diverse cultural history lends to uncountable regional dishes. Nearly every small town across the country has its own specialty or rendition of a National dish. Recently added to the UNESCO world heritage list, Mexican cuisine has at once some of the most complicated and simple recipes in the world. This dichotomy of complexity -- where hundred-ingredient mole sits alongside raw fish garnished with nothing more than lime and salt -- makes Mexican food so incredibly unique and delicious. In coastal towns like Los Mochis, Sinaloa where seafood is easily caught, simple shellfish becomes the crux for local cuisine. (Actually as it turns out, Los Mochis has great just about anything.) It's no coincidence Chicago's Rick Bayless named his seafood restaurant Topolobampo after the port a few miles west of the city center. Don't expect anything fancy: in Mexico, flavor and ambience are often inversely correlated.

Mariscos Cepy's, a small restaurant at the end of a residential block, is always crowded. This is partly because of the exceptionally fresh shellfish, but also because Mexicans know how to take their time and enjoy the afternoon. There's never any rush here, and a few cold drinks and outdoor seat in the sun makes time stand still.