Chicago ala Mexicana

One of the events I looked forward to the most as Spring Fling 2009 neared was the tour of Rick Bayless' garden. My husband and I are long-time fans of his south-of-the-border cooking and his flare for sharing the Mexican culture with the culinary world.

One of my husband's favorite Bayless cookbooks is called, "Salsas that Cook," and it's so fun -- chock-full of salsa recipes designed to wake you up.
Spread over two small urban lots, the garden was delightful. It had texture and old-world charm -- lots of little rooms with seating and pots of plants and vines working their way up brick walls and wooden trellises and arbors. It was very much a courtyard garden -- with several courtyards, if you will.
Our hosts and the keepers of the garden, Bill and Lori Shores, gave us a full rundown of how this small space provides the micro greens and peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, radishes, grapes and many other fruits and vegetables for Rick's two restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.
This space added onto the second story of the home is a greenhouse, in which Bill overwinters plants and gets a head start on seedlings. He also grows micro greens under lights in the basement all year long.
I loved the warm embrace of this garden -- so cozy and aged -- like a good wine. I clearly had garden envy here, and described this as much more the kind of garden that suits my liking than my own, sprawling suburban garden.

I guess the grass always seems greener on the other side.

But then again, I'm already eating tomatoes out of my HOT HOT zone 9 garden, so that's definitely a plus!

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