Oops, he’s done it again! Rick Bayless is eating more filet of shoe sole after insulting L.A.’s’ appetite for Mexican cuisine. In an interview with Mercury News, Bayless is asked about the local reception for Red O, the posh Mexican restaurant he consults for in Hollywood. Perhaps trying to explain the vast dissatisfaction from L.A.’s critical elite, Bayless responds with what sounds like fighting words.
According to Bayless:
People think differently about Mexican food in Los Angeles. People in Chicago are open to a wide variety of dishes. They are a bit more timid in L.A.– I think it’s because there’s such a tradition of California-Mexican food. In Chicago (because of the more recent waves of immigration), food is from one region of Mexico or another, and it’s not very Americanized. In Chicago, mole dishes are in every Mexican restaurant. Even ceviches. But once people eat the food at Red O, they get really excited about it.
In other words, he’s claiming to have introduced Angelenos to authentic Mexican cooking!!!!!
But back to those harsh words. Timid? Obviously, the dude has never tried to tackle the 405 past 3:00 P.M. Maybe we need to send him some of Laurent Quenioux’s ant larvae tacos or Guelaguetza’s chauplines to see how timid our palates are. Or maybe Rick has just been frittering away his visits to L.A. on Benito’s and Dos Burritos, instead of enjoying West L.A.’s mole scene or looking just a little deeper to discover that L.A. also has great regional Mexican food…in addition to a whole F-load of new Chipotles.
Our varied and regional Mexican food scene includes all the states Bayless brags he’s been to in Mexico and left his heart in. Yes Rick, the selection, believe it or not, includes "even ceviches" from various coasts, from Mariscos Jalisco in East L.A. to Mariscos Chente in Venice to Mariscos Culiacan in Hawthorne (and don’t get us started on Baja fish tacos). In fact, ceviche is what’s for lunch in L.A., Rick! Whether or not immigration is more or less fluid in Los Angeles or the Midwest is simply not the point when you’re charging $16 for dressed-up ceviche we’d prefer eating from a styrofoam cup for $4.00. And really, for that kind of Red O money, we’d rather eat with John "Orgullo Angeleno" Sedlar.
In any case, The Ricker has far fiercer opponents than us trying to rip him a new one, we just wish people who really don’t know L.A. would stop speaking as if they do. In fact, we’ll save Rick all the regional Mexican talk and just point him to the same doghouse in our hearts in which Ivy Stark resides.
Rick Bayless dishes on Mexican food [Mercury News]