Tostada de Carnitas

Carnitas (pork shoulder) on a white corn tortilla topped with avocado, cabbage, cilantro, crema Mexicana, salsa picante fresca, and cotija molido chesse. The pork was braised, then I fried it just before serving to give it crispy edges.

A great trick I learned from Rick Bayless is to spray both sides of the corn tortilla with a light oil, then I heat it in a hot pan. The tortilla comes out soft, slightly browned, not greasy, and just delicious (unlike heating in the microwave, or frying with oil in the pan). Thanks Rick!

I served the tostada with a crunchy and refreshing side of radishes (rábanos) with olive oil, gray salt and a squeeze of lime.

We had a fabulous meal at Rick Bayless' Topolobambo Restaurant in Chicago. Even though he was busy in the restaurant, he was very gracious and spent some time with us at our table.

Just "Topolo" – that’s what people-in-the-know call it. Frontera Grill’s sister restaurant, Topolobampo, shares the front door and bar. But then the sister flaunts her own. If Frontera rocks and claps, Topolo slinks. She is the quiet, sleek, classy sister. And she invites you into an elegant Mexican fantasy world and to dress up a notch for its incomparable, authentic, regional flavors.