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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Holy Mole, Rick Bayless!

I know I promised a review of my dinner at Topolobampo and luckily it was all it was cracked up to be!


Dave took me here a week or so ago for my birthday dinner, after making reservations months in advance, and we were not disappointed. The drink menu is to-die-for and I had a very unique Autumn Margarita which included ingredients such as cinnamon giving it a warmer feeling than it's limey, summery sister cocktail.

For dinner, I opted for the whole mole tasting menu (it was my birthday after all) and it was amazing! It included five mole dishes...

Tamal estilo Misantla, Mole Verde Oaxaqueno (Creamy polenta-style corn masa tamal with herby Oaxacan green mole):


Conejo Almendrado (Roasted rack of Gunthorp rabbit and almond milk-braised leg in Oaxacan estofado almendrado -- my FIRST rabbit experience):


Pescado en Mole Amarillo (Brown butter-poached Lake Superior walleye in Oaxacan yellow mole infused with hoja santa):


Puerco en Clemole (Roasted "Pata Negra" pork in old-fashioned clemole castellano -- dark dried chiles, pecans, pinenuts, hazelnuts, avocado leaf):


AND lastly,
An AMAZING Chocolate Mole with chocolate cake balls, coconut ice cream, etc. (sorry no pics)

My husband is a bit of a pickier eater so he decided against having one of the chef's whole tasting menus and got just the Sopa Azteca to start (best soup we have ever tasted) and the Puerco en Clemole (pork mole) entree instead, which was my favorite of all the moles. I will say though that Dave's full dish of the pork mole was cooked superbly yet, my smaller portion was overdone... their one and only strike against them of the night. The rest of that mole dish though, including the pumpkin bread pudding, was so amazing that the pork was more of a sideshow anyway.

The complexity of flavors in both the soup and each of the moles was indescribable. I have never had such layered and sophisticated flavors in a Mexican meal in my life, and probably never will again since I'm unsure of the next we'll splurge to go back. I will however, try the more affordable and casual Frontera Grill in the future. They share a kitchen and a drink menu.

Overall, I'd highly recommend a visit to Topolobampo next time your are looking for a special night out in the city of Chicago! My compliments to the chef, Rick Bayless!

3 comments:

Jennelle January 25, 2010 at 6:04 AM  

Yum! That Autumn Margarita sounds divine. :)

Colleen MacDonald January 25, 2010 at 1:13 PM  

Oh MY! What a wonderful birthday treat. I love a good mole, but I usually don't go for it because it is hard to do well. What did you think of the rabbit?

I love the new look of your blog, Stephanie, and can't wait to read more of your fun forays.

Stephanie January 26, 2010 at 6:42 PM  

The rabbit was nice, but I wouldn't order it on it's own. Fun thing to taste though!

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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