Chicago has been the home to some of the very best Mexican, regional cooking since Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill opened in 1987. Two years later, Topolobampo, a fine-dining Mexican restaurant, opened in the same building. And, the newest member of this restaurant family is Xoco which is right next door. Xoco’s menu is described as street food, and Rick wrote a compelling explanation of what street food is and what contributes to the experience of eating it on his blog. Chef Bayless’ list of accomplishments and awards is lengthy and well-deserved, and it was a delight to cheer him on to victory on the first season of Top Chef Masters. I’ve been enjoying cooking from his book Mexico One Plate at a Time, and his brand new book, Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends, will be available this July. I knew he would have an interesting answer when I asked, what are you reading?
Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook by: Masashi Kuma
People think that as a chef who specializes in Mexican cuisine, the only thing I cook in my spare time is Mexican food. Quite the contrary actually. One of my favorite things to play around with on the weekends is Asian flavors, especially Japanese flavors. This book shows people a great counterpoint to what many of us think of as Japanese cuisine. The “other side” of sushi rolls if you will. The tradition of Izakaya is rooted in deliciously fast, fresh bar fare, something everyone can appreciate.
Momofuku by: David Chang
David Chang is one of the most progressive Asian chefs in the culinary world today. But buyer beware, this book is not for the faint of heart. His use of vulgar language and ingredients like pigs head are definitely not for your casual food fan.
Thank you for participating, Rick! Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
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