Friday, February 12, 2010

In Bayless' Garden: Blog Giveaway

Here in Chicago, we're lucky to have Rick Bayless. Not only are his restaurants delicious, they're both accessible and share our food sensibilities. As a result, brunch at Frontera and his new Xoco are regular within our family rotation. Plus, he's such a great guy.

I was terrifically lucky to score not one, but two, invites to his garden this summer. The first was a delightful cocktail party on the eve of the Chefs Collaborative Summit where he opened his home to the sustainably minded food professionals who descended on Chicago in mid-September. Because my clunky Canon didn't go with my cocktail dress, I took no pictures that evening. No, these shots are from a few weeks later when I toured his garden with a small group of friends working on improving the food systems on Chicago's south side.

Bayless' garden takes up almost two entire city lots bordering on an old train line. The home formerly was a neighborhood tavern (quite apropos for a restaurateur). One lot is ornamental with beautiful outdoor living space. The second is a working farm/garden that provides produce for his restaurants.

During these gray, cold Chicago winter days, I wanted to share these photos, a reminder of how beautiful the harvest season can be.

In the spirit of sharing, we're having our first blog giveaway. Thor has pulled a number between 1 and 30 from his winter hat. The poster whose post corresponds with that number shall win Rick Bayless's wonderful cookbook Mexican Everyday. Only rule? One post per person.

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36 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos! Rick Bayless' generosity in allowing others to tour and benefit from his garden is truly admirable. - Brecken Cutler (La Grange, IL)

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  2. I loved watching Bayless on Top Chef Masters - truly amazing! I'm jealous that you live so close and can eat at his restaurants whenever you want!

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  3. Brecken,

    His garden was so interesting and, as you probably saw from the pictures, very diverse for our climate with pomegranates, cacti and figs alongside tomatoes and butternut squash. It was a very cool experience.

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  4. What a treat to see Rick Bayless' garden. Thanks for sharing the photos, it looks fabulous.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos of the Bayless "backfarm", Melissa. The Chefs Collaborative reception that Rick and Deann hosted in mid-September was a magical experience that I will never forget. More than any people I know, Rick and Deann "walk-the-walk" in their devoted support of local food systems.

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  6. These pictures are great! Thanks for sharing them with us!

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  7. I love those photos! So lush and vibrant. :)

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  8. The garden and the pictures look beautiful!

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  9. I was just chatting with a clerk at Whole Foods here in Austin, TX. We both professed our love for Rick Bayless's talents, generosity and vision. I wanted him to slow down on the check out because it was such a great chat. I will hopefully pass on these gorgeous photos of the garden. Thank you for sharing! Retweeting the tweet!

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  10. So pretty. I have always been fascinated with his garden on his show. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Awww! From Ricks retweet I thought I could win a tour of his garden! LOL But yeat that cookbook is just as sweet and my mother would L O V E IT tho yea it would be mine...

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  12. I love Rick Bayless and his passion for cooking!

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  13. I was chatting with a clerk at Whole Foods here in Austin, TX. We were professing our love for Rick Bayless's talent, generosity and vision. I will hopefully share these gorgeous photos with him at some point. At this point, I have retweeted your tweet.
    Thanks for sharing! Makes me want a backyard.

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  14. I can smell it from here - how wonderful!

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  15. Hello from Cleveland! Thanks for sharing the pictures of Rick's garden. Frontera is on my list of must stops every time I am in Chicago!

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  16. It's great to see the full scale, I've pieced together the layout based on his show, but these are great.

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  17. lovely, lovely garden! I love that he is willing to share this, and that he interacts with his "fans" on twitter and facebook, too!

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  18. What a great garden. Rick's generosity is inspirational. Not many talents are willing to share so much information and insight. I really appreciate all he does for everyone, from the at-home novice to the top chefs. Keep it up, Rick!

    -Erin P., Houston, TX
    erindesign@hotmail.com

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  19. That garden is amazing!! I'm way down in Nashville but I sure do love me some Rick Bayless recipes. :)

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  20. Oooh... this would go great with my copy of One Plate at a Time...

    Cheers!

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  21. My husband and I have loved walking around the city on Saturday mornings in the summer and ending our morning with brunch at Frontera. We look forward to doing the same this year with Xoco.

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  22. I live right around Rick Bayless, and am incredibly jealous of his garden! Thanks for posting the photos, it makes me hope that eventually it will be something other than freezing here.

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  23. Great photos of the garden. Makes me sad to think that my little garden is so mistreated. Perhaps I'll find inspiration from Rick on the garden front the same way I find inspiration in his Pepito torta!

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  24. Great to see such lush greenery in the middle of a cold winter. I've always been amazed by what Rick Bayless has done with his backyard and rooftop gardens in an urban setting. Thanks for the pictures!

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  25. These lovely pictures are making my green thumbs itch! Can't wait for spring.

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  26. Topolo is easily our favorite restaurant, in Chicago or elsewhere.

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  27. I am curious about the garlic. Can you tell me about it?

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  28. I ♥ Rick Bayless! The garden looks amazing and it only makes me want spring to get here sooner! Great photos!

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  29. My friends and I just had a Rick Bayless-inspired dinner night. It opened up a whole new world of wonderful meals I had never tried before. Loved it! -- Natalie, South Bend, IN

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  30. I would like to throw my Blackberry out the window for not allowing me to post a comment, thus missing out on being among the first 30 posters! But, anyway, I still <3 Rick, and hopefully will be making the 4-hour trek to Chicago again soon to check out Xoco! Actually I have told my husband that my birthday wish this year is to have breakfast @ Xoco, lunch @ Frontera, & dinner @ Topolo...yes, all in the same day!

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  31. As a fellow Chicagoan I'm embarrassed to admit that I have not made it to his restaurants! His garden is beautiful...I can't wait for summer.

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  32. I also love Rick Bayless! He seems so genuine, his food is awesome, and I think it's so great that he does urban farming. He deserves all his success!

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