RE: Rick Bayless--Frontera Grill
We went to Frontera Grill for my birthday last fall, and it was the best date night of our entire married life. We arrived just before the doors opened, and were 5th and 6th in line, so we had no wait at all, really; we barely had time to enjoy a drink at the bar and share an appetizer with the lady next to us before our table was ready. Being a fan and regular watcher of "Mexico One Plate at a Time," I was thrilled to see Rick Bayless was in the restaurant, checking the first dishes leaving the kitchen. I was nervous, but my husband pushed me to go ask for his autograph - "if you don't, I will!" he said. "I don't have a pen," I said. Husband said, "he will have a pen." Once he was done with the things he was checking, he gave me his autograph and talked with us for a few minutes, and was very gracious.
My husband had his favorite Mexican dish, chiles rellenos (I didn't know before reading this thread that we were lucky to get them!), and I had the trio of ceviches. Growing up in Chicago, I never had ceviche until I was introduced to it while living for several years in Santiago, Chile, and I've missed it ever since. We were both very pleased with our dishes, our drinks, and the friendly and attentive service. Both the bar and the adjacent dining area are lovely, in their artwork and their color scheme and their ambience. Sorry to say, I can't remember what else we ordered, which is ironic, considering that I spent months studying the online menu, which changes seasonally, before we went.
Post script: At some point, I told the server how appreciative I was to Mr. Bayless for taking time to talk to us and giving me his autograph, and then, somehow - DOLT THAT I AM! - I dropped it when I was leaving. We were nearly back home, an hour away, before I realized I'd lost it. The next afternoon I called the restaurant, and I'd barely explained what I was calling about before the lady on the phone said, "don't worry, we have it here." I went there that evening, retrieved the autograph from the hostess's desk, and enjoyed another great drink and appetizer at the bar before I headed home.
I can't wait to go back.