Topolobampo-OH OH! (Chicago-->Ohio)

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Flag of United States  , Ohio
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We know the blog usually starts out explaining how many miles we have driven or the amount of time we spent in the car yada yada, but all we have been able to think/talk about today is the INSANELY delicious lunch we had at Topolobampo! Our reservation was for 11:30 (when they open) so we arrived a little bit after 11 and there were already at least 15 people waiting in line ahead of us.  When the doors opened, the smells that were permeating the room had us salivating and eager to get to our table.  Everything was so fancy... the lamps, the plates even the water options! Babs chose the cucumber mint and I had the limeade spritzer.  I was a bit overwhelmed with the menu at first because it was so detailed and everything looked ridiculously yummy.  Our waiter was fabulous and was so well versed about all the items, he even told us some of his favorites, which is always useful when torn between options.  We learned that Rick Bayless recently flew his staff to Mexico City to immerse them in the food and culture.  How amazing is that?! 

So on to the food... We decided on two entremeses, the first was the Tamal de Huitlachoche, Espuma de Flores, which was a "super tender sweet corn tamal with frothy sauce of Bayless Garden squash blossoms, Oaxacan quesillo cheese and pablano chile.  Summer squash confetti, espazote, huitlacoche dust."  (Yes you did just read the words frothy and confetti)  The second was the Trio, Trio, Trio which was three different samples of their ceviche options.  1. Ceviche Fronterizo: lime-marinated Hawaiian sunfish with tomatoes, olives, cilantro, jicama and green chile, served with our crispy tostaditas.  2. Ceviche Yucateco-steamed organic shrimp and calamari tossed with lime, orange, habanero, avacado, jicama and served with our crispy tortilla chips. 3. Coctel de Atun Tropical-sashimi-grade Hawaiian yellowfin tuna cocktail with chunky avocado-tomatillo guacamole and tangy mango-grapefruit salsa.  Now I have a slight aversion to raw-ish things, but I figured if I was going to try it this would be a great place to start considering how fresh everything was.  Well... the verdict is out...I am now a ceviche fan, thank you Mr. Bayless.  For our Entrees or "Platillos Fuertes" we ordered the Pollito Puro Verano, which was a "pan-roasted heritage breed Gunthorp rock hen with summery first-of-season Iron Creek tomato salad, creamy green peanut salsa with ripe avacado, nutty quinoa, peanut crunch" and the Puerco en Pipian de Maiz Azul, which was the braised Gunthrorp pork with pipian de maiz azul (ancho and pasilla chile blue corn) puree of Iroquois white corn, black beans and avocado leaf; garlicky braised quelites; charred Spence Farm baby Iroquois white corn; sweet corn "air."  (Yes I took a picture of the menu so I could give you the full fancy experience).  Now for dessert... as you all know I am somewhat of a dessert freak so I was REALLY looking forward to this part.  The waiter was explaining the menu, but I had made my decision before he even finished.  President Obama asked Rick Bayless to prepare a meal at the White House for 200 people, including the President of Mexico and the dessert for that meal was offered on the menu... and it happened to be the most incredible combination of flavors I had EVER heard!  Tartaleta de Chocolate con Cajeta: "Crispy custard tart of creamy Mexican chocolate and uncuous cajeta (goat milk caramel). Toasted marshmallows, graham cracker 'gravel,' goat cheese ice cream and height-of-season local blackberries."  I can't even talk about how good it was... no words can explain the taste bud nirvana.  

After what I now call "the best meal of my life" we walked to XOCO, his "Mexican street food" type cafe right next store to check it out.  It has only been open for a few months so we were curious to see what it was like inside.  Next thing you know we are buying three churros and a side of the Mexican homemade soft serve vanilla ice cream for dipping!  Before you think to yourself, "what fatties," we only had a few bites of a churro (the rest is wrapped up to take to Jer and Paola tomorrow) and the ice cream was literally in a "dip" container.  Plus I don't care what you think... I know I am a total fat kid at heart! PLUS if we had not gone in we wouldn't have seen.... RICK BAYLESS himself!  Babs turned to me and said, "Beth, there he is, Rick Bayless, Rick Bayless, there he is!" I immediately got star struck and like the papparazzi that I am starting shooting away.  Something came over me and suddenly I was standing within inches of him asking if we could take a picture together.  I completely caught him off guard because he was totally into what he was doing and seemed to be swamped behind the counter.  He responded, "It has to be quick because I am really busy!" I told him, "don't worry about it" and walked away.  Now I completely understand that the last thing he wants to do is take a picture and I am sure he was super busy with something, but it broke my heart just a little.  I had this vision of him smiling and saying, "Of course I will take a picture with you!" I am still a huge fan and I am sure when he is less stressed and not being bothered by a random stranger with a camera, he is the kind, sensitive chef we saw on Top Chef Masters! 

Back to reality...We drove 344 miles and spent about 6 hours in the car.  Another shorter day because we did not leave Chicago until 3ish.  

Here are today's stories from the road....

-License plate add ons: NC, SC, PA, TX

-For a split second I thought I saw Paula Deen at the restaurant... I would have peed my pants...HEY Y'ALLL! 

-We passed a sign for the RV Hall of Fame... We didn't stop, but were tempted.

-I mentioned to mom that I thought the soft serve Mexican Vanilla ice cream we had almost rivals "dad's homemade ice cream" and her reaction was... "Bull Crap, that is not DAD's ice cream... I make the custard the night before and that takes HOURS, all dad does it churn it until it gets cold!" Oops I didn't know she was so sensitive about it... then again we have been on the road for awhile.  

-We have been very lucky with weather...until tonight! We got caught in a thunderstorm about an hour away from our hotel and we could barely see out the window at times.  Can someone please explain how people can drive so fast when the rain is coming down that hard!  Do you have magic goggles?  Also what is the deal with truck drivers flying down the highway and speeding up behind you then at the last minute switching lanes... NOT OK! (Babs was a rockstar driver btw)
-We saw a street named Fangboner today... no comment necessary

-We also saw a Waggoner Road (shout out to Lynn!) 

-Toll booth operators are not known to be the most attractive people in the world (is that offensive?) However, Babs and I saw the most stunning woman working in the toll booth today... random... but true.

-I have to recommend something we bought at Whole Foods today for dinner.  It is called the Three Grain contains wheatberries,quinoa, barley, edamame, carrots, squash, zucchini and tomato and you add the tahini sesame, almond butter dressing on top then shake it up and voila... so yummy... and healthy! 

Sorry that this is a short entry and our story list is short but we spent a good chunk of our day eating... surprise surprise! 

Our plan tomorrow is to be in NJ by late afternoon! I am SO excited to see Benny... and everyone else of course! Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy!  Oh and don't forget to look at the pictures from the last few days! 

Beth & Babs 
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nangettis on

What a time!!! The foods are nuts!!! Glad you'll be back in our neck of the woods today. Safe travelling!! Love you guys.

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