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Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless: Tacos On Fire!

Airs Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Promotional photo of a seafood taco as featured in "Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless."

"Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless" brings to life the foods, flavors, stories, diversity, depth and fun of Mexico. In each episode, beloved chef, restaurateur, author, teacher and culinary adventurer Rick Bayless effortlessly tosses together cooking demonstrations, cultural musings, visits to exotic locations, ideas for home entertaining and a generous helping of off-the-wall surprises.

Chef, restaurateur, author, teacher and culinary adventurer Rick Bayless
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Above: Chef, restaurateur, author, teacher and culinary adventurer Rick Bayless

Interior shot of Frontera Grill, located at 445 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654.
Enlarge this image

Above: Interior shot of Frontera Grill, located at 445 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654.

Recipes from Chef Rick Bayless

Explore the wonders of the Mexican kitchen with recipes from award-winning cookbooks by Rick Bayless and the PBS cooking show, "Mexico - One Plate at a Time." In addition, you'll find seasonal menu ideas, details on essential Mexican ingredients, suggested wine pairings and exclusive new recipes from the kitchens of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo and the Bayless home.

This season, Rick embarks on his greatest food adventure to date: an insider's tour of Mexico City, a food metropolis bursting with traditional foods and flavors and cutting-edge eateries. Rick takes a fresh look at 13 iconic Mexican dishes — from tacos and enchiladas to chiles rellenos and carnitas— by diving into Mexico City's mouthwatering market stalls, hidden-treasure taco stands and restaurant dining rooms ranging from rustic-elegant to urban hip.

Back in his home kitchen, Rick re-creates those classic dishes in everything from easy, casual dinners to full-blown parties. Rick also takes viewers behind the scenes at his world-renowned restaurants in Chicago, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, to show how he and his chefs reinvent classic Mexican dishes in fresh new ways.

"Tacos On Fire" - “What is a taco, anyway?” muses Rick over an upscale lobster taco at his white tablecloth restaurant, Topolobampo. “Is it crispy or soft? Grilled or griddled? Street food or taquería fare? Fast food or fine dining?” The answer is, “all of the above … and a whole lot more.” And to prove it, Rick heads to Mexico City, for a non-stop taco trek.

It starts at Fishmart, a neighborhood seafood restaurant in trendy Condesa with the lobster tacos that inspired Rick’s Topolobampo version – succulent chunks of grilled lobster and black beans, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla.

Following his nose, and the smell of smoldering charcoal and sizzling meat, Rick moves on to explore some taquerías – one renowned for its char-grilled tacos al carbon and another for pork tacos al pastor, made on a revolving vertical grill, gyros-style. Here too, it’s all about simplicity: a few perfect mouthfuls of mind-blowing meat and super fresh tortilla.

But Rick’s saved his favorite underground street-food discovery for last. Super Tacos Chupacabras is hidden away under a freeway overpass. But it’s so over-the-top, and the griddled tacos and slow-cooked toppings are so tasty and cheap, everyone from VIPs to bike messengers line up all day and all night.

Back at home, Rick gets ready to throw his own “Supertacos” party with a little help from his friends. It’s a laugh-filled, spontaneous celebration of cooking and fun, as everyone pitches in to make Tangy Tamarind Cooler and Mexican Snakebite, Tacos of Seared Scallops with Chorizo and Potatoes and Rick’s easy version of Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor, made right on the backyard grill.

Video

Topolobampo and Frontera Grill with Rick Bayless

Above: Chef and owner Rick Bayless talks about his popular Topolobampo and Frontera Grill restaurants in downtown Chicago.