Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Rick Bayless's Topolobampo is a hard reservation to get!  We had to make a reservation in November for the last weekend in January to get a prime time Saturday night reservation.

At Topolobampo you have the choice between an a la carte menu and a tasting menu.  There are three different tasting menus to choose from at $85 each plus an extra $50 for wine pairings.

I tried the Celebration tasting menu which I was told was the crowd pleaser.  Nick tried the Mole tasting menu.  There was a third tasting menu inspired by the state of Jalisco in Mexico.  Jalisco isn't especially known for their food so I think Rick Bayless was trying to take on a challenge when he came up with it.

I started with a Manzanita Cooler to drink which is just-pressed seedling cider and JK Scrumpy's Michigan hard organic cider, Yucatecan rum, fresh lime, and a pinch of cinnamon.  Surprisingly for a seasonal drink I thought it was very light and refreshing and would be appropriate for the summer as well.

daily guacamole with pomegranate seeds and jicama and cucumber chips

Mole Tasting - course 1 - creamy polenta style corn masa tamal with herby Oaxacan green mole with River Valley Ranch oyster mushrooms, roasted Spence Farm turnips, peas, cucumber, jicama, and pumpkinseed "jam"

Nick loved it.  This was his spiciest mole of the night.  I thought the texture was a little slimy so it wasn't my favorite.

Celebration Tasting - course 1 - crispy rolled tacos filled with Three Sister's Garden huitlacoche (corn mushroom) with roasted tomato broth, crunchy pickled vegetables, avocado, and Bayless Garden microgreens.  

This was the best course of the entire evening.  I could have eaten 20 of these little tacos they were so good.

Celebration Tasting - course 2 - creamy soup of delicata and ancho chile with savory, crisp duck carnitas, roasted apples, pepitas, and grilled green onions.
 (sorry we didn't get a picture with the soup actually poured in the bowl)

Mole Tasting - course 2 - roasted rack of Gunthorp rabbit and almond milk braised leg in Oaxacan estofaco almendrado with almond-crusted fried green tomatillo Nichols Farm Yukon gold potatoes classic escabeche vegetables, and smoked marcona almonds.

Mole Tasting - course 3 - brown butter-poached Lake Superior walleye in Oaxacan yellow mole infused with hoja santa and cilantro-flecked chochoyotes, braised fennel, and dried black olive.

I hate to say it but this one was bad.  Both of us hated the flavors, especially me.  It tasted a little bit like licorice to me and I hate licorice.  Nick likes licorice but he didn't like the dish either.

Celebration Tasting - course 3 - New Jersey "Viking Village" sea scallops in velvety sauce of guajillo chiles, braised cilantro, and carmelized onions with English pea-cilantro mash and enoki mushrooms.

The scallops were large, juicy, and delicious.

Mole Tasting - course 4 - roasted "Pata Negra" pork loin in old-fashioned clemole castellano (dark dried chiles, pecans, pinenuts, hazelnuts, avocado leaf) with calabaza en tacha (raw-sugar pumpkin) bread pudding, carmelized brussel sprouts, shaved sunchoke, peruano bean-pine nut braise, and pickled pasilla chiles.

Celebration Tasting - course 4 - Elysian Fields lamb "ribeye" in pear-infused red chile sauce with potato-aple tortitas (studded with Neuske's bacon) and grilled frisee-machee salad with smoky Oaxacan pasilla dressing.

The lamb was very good although the dressing was extremely spicy.

Celebration Tasting - course 5 - luscious vanilla sour cream layer cake with golden ripe plantains, roasted banana ice cream, and coriander crumble.

Mole Tasting - course 5 - dark chocolate bikes with "black mole" chocolate sauce, cocoa nib ice cream, pomegranate jellies, and ancho chile chocolate cookie.

Dessert #2 - Just what we needed after 5 courses.  The little gummy thing we both agreed was kind of weird.

Besides Nick's one course, we loved our meal.  Our server was awesome as well.  I highly recommend it to anyone who can get a reservation.  We'd also like to try Frontera Grill although they don't take reservations so that is a long wait.  Rick Bayless has also opened a casual restaurant called Xoco next door.


Insomniac said...

That is some beautiful food. I've never seen a blog post about this restaurant, so I really liked this!

weezermonkey said...

Oh, man. Great post!

Kelly said...

Wow!! That looks awesome! I love Rick Bayless!

Liz said...

What a meal! Loved the post and your photos!