mexican made easy

frontera SaucesWithout a doubt my most favorite restaurant in this entire country is Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless in Chicago. So it’s no surprise that I long to have these flavors at home. And while it’s not the same thing, these Frontera seasoning sauces, available at your local grocers, make it possible to recreate some of Chef Bayless’ creations in your very own kitchen. Possible to get the rich flavors of a two day mole sauce in minutes. Possible to make an irresistible roasted barbcoa in just a couple of hours. Possible to make authentic tacos as good as any street vendor in Mexico. I don’t consider it cheating. I consider it good eats. You supply the protein. Frontera supplies ALL the flavor!!

chicago’s rockin’ it

Girl & the GoatChicago has long been the land of late trends trickling in after proven success from either coast. But no more. . . at least when it comes to the food scene. Chefs in Chicago are on the leading edge these days. Go. Eat. Enjoy to your hearts content — you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure not to miss Girl & The Goat — probably one of the best meals I have eaten in a very very long time.

assorted goatStephanie Izard the first female winner of Top Chef is at the helm in the kitchen. Plates are earthy, shared and I recommend just ordering the entire menu. Start with the amazing hearth baked bread served with two blended butters and keep going from there. . . Selections will fall into one of 3 categories:  Vegetables, Fish or Meat. Oh, and find room for the desserts. They may look messy but they are Yummy with a capital Yeah!

Dessert_goatGirl & The Goat — 809 W. Randolf Street, West Loop, (312) 492-6262, reservations recommended.

pizza hot spot

Uno SpinachPizza Hot Spot: Pizzeria Uno                                                                                          Where: 29 East Ohio Street, Chicago                                                                                    Type: Deep Dish

What’s hot:  This is the original Chicago-style deep dish pizza. The stuff I grew up on (we literally used to fill the trunk with half-baked pizzas and drive them back to Detroit). Back in the day it was sausage & mushrooms. While that classic combo is their signature, today I prefer spinach & mushrooms for a slightly lighter meal — although deep dish pizza is never light especially with Uno’s oil slicked crust which sets it apart from all the others. And don’t think you are getting the same stuff at one of their chain restaurants around the country. It’s different (and waaaaay better!) in Chicago. Only Pizzeria Due, their spillover joint across the street, serves up the same deliciousness. Order ahead as it takes 45 minutes to cook.