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Mexico -- One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless

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So many moles, so little time. That's how most visitors to Oaxaca feel when perusing the choices from mole pastes in the markets to fine examples served up at restaurants and street vendors all over the state. Let's start with two moles, advises Rick, who takes us to Seasons of My Heart Cooking School on the outskirts of Oaxaca City to explore Black Mole and Green Mole with school owner Susana Trilling and her students. We perfectly char the chilies, set the seeds aflame and roast the tomatoes for Susana's black mole sweetened with roasted plantain and a little Oaxacan chocolate.

The Baja California peninsula boasts a climate reminiscent of those on the Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of olive trees and vineyards in Northern Baja capture the distinctiveness of this region of Mexico. We explore the amazing grilled octopus at Tres Virgenes in La Paz and enjoy mesquite-grilled lamb with 9-chile mole sauce. Rick makes tacos of kale and spinach with a green garlic mojo from the gardens of the renowned spa Rancho La Puerta. In Tijuana, Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero Yagues shows off his terrific wood-fired grill to Rick before he cooks lamb three ways.

WGBY Create
Thu Jun 13th, 7:30am
Thu Jun 13th, 1:30pm

Deep in the Sian Ka'an nature reserve, there's a seriously remote village called Punta Allen, where a team from the local sustainable lobster fishing cooperative brings Rick and chef Juan Pablo Loza out for an afternoon at sea. The day's catch? A Caribbean lobster, simply prepared in coconut soup. Back at the ultra-luxe Rosewood Mayakoba resort, Juan Pablo showcases the tranquil resort gardens before preparing a feast of grilled lobster zarandeado with adobo mayo and sweet corn puree in the kitchen of La Ceiba, an outdoor garden party area.

The majority of the people who travel to Mexico go for the beaches. Little wonder when the beaches are as pristine as Huatulco's Playa Chahue - complete with the Playa Limpia certification for cleanliness. Still, a man's gotta eat. Not content with a diet of all-inclusive resort dining, Chef Rick Bayless takes us off the beaten path to find great food and even better beaches. You'll be well-advised to follow his lead and start the day at one the local's favorite restaurants, Sabor de Oaxaca, in La Crucecita.

The once unknown state of Oaxaca, Mexico's fifth largest, is now on the knowing traveler's hit list. Its capital is one of Mexico's most enjoyable colonial cities. By day, people relax at plaza-front sidewalk cafes beneath shady arches and take in the slow-motion scene, reflecting the best of old Mexico. By night, the same plaza becomes alive with entertainment, crafts, folkloric dances and food stalls. The city boasts a burgeoning restaurant scene, traditional markets and art galleries. The coast is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

WGBY Create
Thu Jul 11th, 7:30am
Thu Jul 11th, 1:30pm

Revered by his Mexican peers, Federico Lopez is one of Mexico's most affable and talented chefs. He joins Rick at the enchanting Mercado Municipal in Valladolid to extol the virtues of unique Yucatecan produce. After that, the pair head to Temozon, to a decades-old meat market where they smoke pork in rustic ovens behind the store. With a basket full of market produce and smoked meats, the chefs return to Federico's sleek catering kitchen in Cancun, where Federico artfully recreates the market in a salad of local beans, squash, heirloom tomato and chile dulce.

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