On special this weekend at Red Door (Chicago) is a very special special inspired by executive chef Troy Graves‘ visits to L.A. and his experiences learning about authentic Mexican cooking.
Mexican memories inspire menu special
Troy Graves: When I was a young soldier every year about this time I went to L.A. with my squad mate. His family was from Mexico, and up until this point all I knew about Mexican food was Ortega and Taco Bell. His mother was a fantastic cook, and I was always fascinated with how much work went into their meals. Being in downtown L.A. was a bit much for this Iowa boy, so I spent most of my time there helping in the kitchen where it was safe and warm. To this day I credit Ricardo’s mother every time a Mexican tells me what I made tastes like their mother’s. So this weekend I am going to make tortilla soup for a special remembering my December visits to L.A.
An Iowa boy gets a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine in L.A.
Graves: The most important thing that I learned was how to make tamales from scratch. How to render the pork fat, braise the shoulder, how to make the fresh dough from masa. The coolest thing was that there were banana trees on the front lawn and we cut the leaves straight from the tree for the tamale wrapping. I learned how to make menudo and that it is a great hangover cure. How to make pozole and salsas and such. The thing is that I grew up in rural Iowa where we had a lot of pig roasts and such, great gardens, always an amazing amount of sweet corn. As far as cooking though most people’s idea of home cooking is adding a can of cream of mushrooom, chicken or celery soup. Food where I grew up is sort of boring. So for me all of the big bold flavor that is in Mexican food really blew me away.