Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food, Luscious Libations, Great Times with Friends by Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless

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Notes about this book

  • chennes on August 12, 2010

    This book is a good companion to his others, but is not a standalone "how to cook Mexican" book. Some preliminary knowledge is required, and a lot of the cooking times need significant adjustment.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • "Almost Oaxacana" grilled tostadas with chorizo, tangy guacamole and fresh cheese (Tlayudas "casi Oaxaqueñas" con chorizo, guacamole y queso fresco)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      These are a fun party food when you just want to hang out around the grill with a bunch of friends. Pour some drinks, fire up the coals, and start churning these out. They are similar to a tostada topped with chorizo, fresh cheese, and a really nice avocado sauce.

    • twoyolks on September 11, 2014

      It's very easy to burn the tortillas (particularly on a charcoal grill). I didn't particularly care for the texture of the grilled tortillas. They reminded me of "Mexican pizza" in flavor.

  • "Brava" steak (Carne asada brava)

    • Delys77 on January 17, 2014

      This was very easy to do and was super tasty. I used strip loin steaks and cooked in a hot cast iron pan with a touch of oil for about 3 minutes per side. Lovely crust, great flavour, and easy prep.

  • Bacon-and-tomato guacamole (Guacamole de tocino y jitomate)

    • Rinshin on October 09, 2014

      Very satisfying guacamole. It's like eating bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich. Good to make this while tomatoes are still summer fresh. Recipe at

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Bacon, tomato, avocado: hard to go wrong here. A crowd pleaser.

  • Black bean tamales with fresh goat cheese (Tamal de frijoles negros con queso de cabra)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I'd use as strong a cheese as you can find here, since it has to stand up to the corn and lard. Also, Bayless's "double-beating" technique produces fantastic tamales, so be sure to leave yourself time to do it. Finally, as with all tamales, if you can find a source of freshly-rendered lard, the flavor is miles better than the shelf-stable stuff in the cans.

  • Blood orange margarita (Margarita de naranja rosa)

    • twoyolks on February 27, 2017

      This was a nearly perfect margarita. Everything was well balanced. It wasn't too sweet. It wasn't too tart. It wasn't too alcoholic.

  • Champagne margarita (Margarita de Champaña)

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      Spencer found this a bit tart so you should put a bit more sugar but I thought that overall it was excellent. Used cuervo tequila and it was just fine.

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      An excellent riff on the classic margarita: this drinks works very well, and champagne is always welcome at a party.

  • Chile-roasted pork on the grill, Chiapas style (Cochito Chiapaneco)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I used an oven, which worked just fine. It's a really nice, flavorful sauce that I think could stand a little more time to penetrate the pork and really flavor the roast through-and-through. Cooked as instructed the flavor is nice, but entirely as a sauce on the outside of the roast. I am thinking maybe next time give the pork a 24-hour marinade in the sauce before tossing it in the oven. All told, though, the pork was delicious. I wound up serving it as a taco filling mostly, though we ate plenty of it plain as well.

  • Chipotle-glazed baby back ribs (Costillas al chipotle enmielado)

    • twoyolks on September 23, 2014

      The chile flavor completely overwhelmed the flavor of the pork.

  • Chipotle-roasted almonds (Almendras enchipotladas)

    • clkandel on April 17, 2023

      Watch the nuts closely starting at 20 minutes so they don't burn.

  • Chocolate tres leches parfaits ("Tres leches" de chocolate en parfait)

    • emiliang on April 14, 2013

      This was the hit of the party. Fairly chocolate-y, but very good. Makes six servings. The recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, not dark chocolate. Should be prepared a day in advance.

    • twoyolks on May 08, 2017

      This was popular. I modified it a bit to make it more like a trifle. Instead of cutting out cake rounds, I just tore them apart and made layers out of the pieces.

  • Classic white pozole with all the trimmings (Pozole blanco clásico con sus guarniciones)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      There is nothing terribly unique about this particular posole blanco recipe (he even calls it "clásico"), but that doesn't make it any less tasty. It's easy to make, with only basic prep, and you can easily produce massive quantities. Guests always like assembling their own dinners (though you'll want to give them some pointers), and it's pretty hard to screw this up.

  • Creamy chicken and greens with roasted poblano and caramelized onion (Pollo a la crema con quelites, chile poblano asado y cebolla caramelizado)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Fantastic recipe, almost nothing to criticize here. It would make a great replacement for a spinach-artichoke dip at any sort of party. I personally would have liked more poblanos, but it's still great as written.

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      Quite simple and absolutely delicious in its authenticness. You made yoru own crème fraiche and it was really nice. Thickened with a bit of conrstarch and served with fresh corn tortillas.

  • Creamy roasted jalapeño salsa (Salsa cremosa de chile jalapeño asado)

    • chennes on August 13, 2010

      An excellent and easy-to-make salsa. Just remember that even though the ingredients list on the book tells you to peel the garlic, DON'T DO IT. The first step in the recipe is to roast the garlic with the skin still on.

  • Crispy flank steak shreds with golden onions and red chile salsa (Mochomos con cebolla dorada y salsa roja)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Way more work than it's worth: fly to Chicago and order it at his restaurant where he has minions to shred that steak and commercial deep fryers to fry it in and a staff to clean up the huge mess that makes.

  • Easy Yucatan-style tostadas with "pickled" chicken and black beans (Panuchos fáciles Yucatecos con pollo en escabeche y frijoles negros)

    • chennes on August 13, 2010

      I was vaguely disappointed by this dish: the flavors and balance just didn't work well for me. I found that the beans overwhelmed the dish, there was just not enough acid in the escabeche to compete.

  • Grill-braised short ribs with árbol chiles, white beans, mushrooms and beer (Costillas de res guisadas con chiles de árbol, alubias, hongos y cerveza)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I really liked the flavor of the broth, and the beans (I used peruano) soaked up a lot of that liquid and were very flavorful. The broth, beans, and beef all tasted clearly of having been grilled, there was no mistaking the smoky charred flavor, so although he says you can make this in the oven, I really recommend firing up the Weber and having at it. Prep time was very minimal (not counting making the beef stock and cooking the beans), and it cooked in just over two hours unattended.

  • Grilled cactus and onion salad with crab and red chile (Ensalada de nopales asados con jaiba)

    • chennes on August 15, 2010

      This was fantastic, the only change I'd make is to slice the nopales thinner. I recommend seeking out his suggested hot sauces, that flavor is critical to a successful dish.

  • Grilled garlic and orange guacamole (Guacamole de ajo asado y naranja)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      This is a very good guacamole: the flavors all play well together and add up to make something really delicious.

  • Grilled pork tacos al pastor (Tacos al pastor)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      This is a nice attempt at making Tacos al Pastor accessible to a home cook: this street food is very difficult to do without the proper taco-truck equipment. I found that the pork should did not get as tender as I would like, due to the high-heat quick-cooking method here. That said, the flavors were good, and chopped into small pieces the pork was OK.

  • Grilled rack of lamb with honey-pasilla glaze (Rack de borrego al pasilla)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Ok, Bayless, I forgive you, but just this once! I have no idea what kind of monster grill he uses, or what kind of skimpy-ass lamb he gets, but it took my lamb a good 35 minutes to come to 150°F (medium or thereabouts) after searing off. The recipe says this will take five minutes. Five minutes!! However... the lamb was worth the wait. What a fantastic dish, and I bet this glaze would be excellent on beef or pork as well. Slightly spicy, slightly sweet (he calls for a dark honey: I used buckwheat, about as dark as it comes!), with a nice complexity and layering of flavors, but never overpowering the taste of the lamb. Hard to imagine a better glaze, really.

  • Grilled skirt steak tacos with knob onions [and cactus] (Tacos de arrachera al carbón con cebollitas asadas y nopales)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I liked this recipe: the steak comes out tasting mostly like beef, instead of overwhelmed by a rich marinade, with just a touch of flavor from the seasonings. I could not figure out how I was supposed to eat the whole grilled knob onions on a taco, but they tasted good plain, anyway.

    • twoyolks on April 28, 2017

      The marinade compliments the beef well but was a bit too mild for my preference. There's not much difference than just a grilled steak being used for tacos. I didn't have knob onions so I grilled some red spring onions. I chopped them up and added them to the tacos which I thought worked well. The roasted tomatillo salsa goes very well on the steak tacos.

  • Impossible cake (Pastel imposible aka chocoflan)

    • kateastoria on January 11, 2021

      dead link

    • kateastoria on January 11, 2021 works

  • Lacquered chicken in classic red mole (Pollo asado en mole rojo clásico)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      While among the easiest moles I've ever made, I still wouldn't call this "easy"—making mole is an all-day process. But this recipe is quite good, and results in a very well-balanced mole where all the flavors have melded together to form a sum greater than the parts. The agave syrup makes the glaze a little like BBQ sauce, and it's a very nice BBQ sauce.

  • Mango guacamole (Guacamole de mango)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      The sweetness of the mangos is an interesting addition here, and will probably make this guacamole appeal to a broader audience at a party (I'm thinking kids who don't like green things here...).

  • Mexican white rice with sweet plantains (Arroz blanco con plátano macho maduro)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I thought the cooking time was off (too long on the plantains and on the rice), but the basic recipe is quite good, and much more interesting than the "Mexican Rice" you might find at your local generic Mexican restaurant.

  • Mexican-style shrimp cocktail (Cóctel de camarón)

    • Breadcrumbs on November 25, 2010

      p. 103 - Nov 2010 - This is the first recipe I’ve tried from Rick’s new book. The sauce for the shrimp is tomato ketchup based with Mexican hot sauce and clam juice among other things mixed in. The flavor reminded me of those in one of Canada’s favorite cocktails, the Bloody Caesar. It was good but I wouldn’t say it was outstanding. I don’t see myself serving this to guests at my next Fiesta but it was fine as a starter for a casual dinner for the two of us. Rick suggests it be served with saltines or tortilla chips. We tried both and had a definite preference for the saltines.

  • Oaxacan pasilla salsa (Salsa de chile pasilla Oaxaqueña)

    • TrishaCP on August 02, 2015

      Not sure what happened here, but this was terrible with the chile that I used. The recipe is very simple (on-line version, not sure what the book says)- just garlic, tomatillos (measured by weight so you use the right amount), and chiles (again measured by weight). RB gives various options but I used one Oaxacan pasilla chile (weighing 0.4 oz) since I had them on hand and that is the specified chile. The smokiness just blew any other flavor away- my friend commented that it tasted like mole, but not in a good way. I am just perplexed- as far as I know I used the right chile, in the right amount, and I can't believe I had the expected outcome since RB mentions using sugar to adjust the tanginess from tomatillos. (There was no tanginess-just smoke.)

    • JKDLady on December 20, 2015

      I agree with TrishaCP. I made this recipe with 2 pasilla chiles, tomatillos, and garlic. We found it heavy tasting, much like a mole. After eating it for dinner, I decided to work on it to try to salvage it. I added 2 canned chipotles and some of the adobo plus some lime juice and water to thin it. After that, it was quite good! I would definitely use this to coat corn tortillas for enchiladas. I was surprised that I didn't like the original recipe since I have liked nearly all of RB's recipes. It was still a good base from which to work.

  • Orange-tomatillo salsa (Salsa verde con naranja)

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      Very different but very delicious. The sweet balances the heat of the chipotle perfectly. You went with 1 chipotle

  • Pork picadillo sweet corn tamales (Tamales de elote con picadillo)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I love pork picadillo, and this was no exception. I use almonds rather than peanuts but that's a matter of personal preference. The sweet corn in the tamale batter was an interesting addition that worked quite well. My only objection is that with a sweet filling the sweet corn batter made the overall dish very sweet: I suggest serving it with a tart salsa (salsa verde, probably) to help with the overall balance.

  • Roasted beet salad with red onion, poblano and lime (Ensalada de betabel, cebolla morada, poblano y limón)

    • chennes on August 13, 2010

      I thought this salad was a very nice twist on what has become a standard here in the US. The flavors work very well together, the balance is excellent, and just having a new riff on an old salad is great. I found that my poblanos were very spicy, so this dish really turned up the heat. So be careful with it around guests!

    • twoyolks on June 18, 2014

      As I roasted the beets, all of my onions ended up burning so I discarded them. I don't feel the salad ever came together as a whole. It was like eating roasted beets (with a slight lime flavor) and roasted chiles separately.

  • Roasted garlic tamales with ricotta and Swiss chard (Tamales de requesón y acelgas)

    • chennes on August 13, 2010

      These are very good tamales: the flavor of the chard is quite nice with the roasted garlic. I topped them with his suggested salsa (the creamy roasted jalapeño on page 185), which was also excellent.

  • Roasted tomatillo salsa (Salsa verde)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      A classic salsa verde, essential to Mexican cuisine.

    • nicolepellegrini on October 29, 2019

      Ultra-basic salsa verde which has all of the classic flavor you'd expect.

    • MmeFleiss on December 25, 2017

      Agreed. This is the ideal version of this classic sauce.

  • Roasted tomato-habanero salsa (Chiltomate)

    • SACarlson on August 03, 2019

      Very nice and simple, but I've made better roasted tomato salsas.

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Hard to go wrong here: just a nice roasted tomato salsa.

  • Roasted vegetable enchiladas with creamy tomatillo sauce and melted cheese (Enchiladas Suizas de verduras asadas)

    • RandyP on August 04, 2011

      (4 of 5) Nice vegetarian entree, and tastes even better the next day.

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I liked these enchiladas a lot: the vegetable filling was a new twist for me, and the sweetness of the veg. goes very well with the tomatillo salsa. I think the cheese is a bit superfluous, but it looks nice. As usual for enchiladas, I strongly suggest making fresh tortillas. You can do it with store-bought, but the texture of homemade works much better here.

  • Salt-and-pepper ceviche (Ceviche salpimentado)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      An excellent ceviche if you have access to good fish: very simple, it really lets the fish shine, complementing it nicely without being overwhelming.

  • Sandal-shaped corn masa cakes with black beans, salsa and aged cheese (Huaraches)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      These turned out pretty well, though it was hard to figure out what the instructions in the recipe meant, exactly (the picture is useless). I posted a step-by-step over on eGullet:

  • Savory bean-sauced tortillas with fresh cheese (Enfrijoladas)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      The quality of these will depend almost completely on the quality of your tortillas, and the quality of your bean-cooking liquid. I'd very strongly suggest making your own tortillas fresh here, and be careful that your bean liquid is not too salty. Made well, however, these are one of the best dishes in the book.

  • Slivered ancho "salsa" (Salsa de tijeras)

    • JKDLady on July 14, 2016

      This is a fabulous "salsa." I put it in quotes because it is not a dip, but more of a condiment. It is perfect over grilled steaks or in steak fajitas.

  • Summer margarita (Margarita veraniega)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      An interesting drink: I liked it more than my wife did, so I guess it's not to everyone's tastes. The cucumber flavor is pretty assertive, but I didn't find that objectionable.

  • Sun-dried tomato guacamole (Guacamole tomate deshidratado)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      From the description in the book it sounds like this is Bayless's "guacamole of last resort" for when he's bored with all the others. I wouldn't even give it that much credit: sun-dried tomatoes simply don't work well here, in my opinion. If you can't get good fresh tomatoes, just leave them out!

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      Not much different from regular guacamole. I added lime to his recipe as I found it odd that there was none

  • Tequila-infused queso fundido (Queso fundido al tequila)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      This just didn't work for me: I followed the recipe as closely as possible, using Chihuahua cheese, and the texture was simply terrible. The flavor of the tequila did not work at all with the other ingredients, and overall this was simply bad. Obviously tastes differ, but I wouldn't make this the first thing you try out of the book...

  • Three-chile salsa (Salsa de tres chiles)

    • MmeFleiss on December 25, 2017

      I made this for a taco party last night and it was a huge hit. Definitely has a kick thanks to the three types of fried chiles.

  • Tiny tostadas with Chiapas-style steak tartar (Tostaditas de carne tártara aka carne apache)

    • chennes on August 13, 2010

      In my opinion the recipe calls for far too much of the sauce, and the sauce has too much lime juice in it. Once you add it to the beef you can't even tell there is beef in the dish, there is no flavor left, it's all lime juice.

  • Toasted pumpkin seed guacamole (Guacamole de pepita tostada)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I think the pepitas overwhelm all the other flavors in this recipe, and I don't think they should be ground as fine as the recipe suggests. It still seems like a promising idea to me, but the execution needs a bit of polish.

  • Tropical beach ceviche (Ceviche playero)

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      Spencer actually liked this more than me. It was good, but he is right to serve it as an appetizer as you cant eat a huge quantity. The flavours were great so I wouldnt change anything there, but it would be nice to serve it with something like tortilla chips so you can scoop it. That might sound a little sacrilegious but I think it might be nice.

  • Tuna in jalapeño escabeche (Atún en escabeche de chile jalapeño)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I liked this, as a twist on a conventional American tuna salad. In fact, it's not really a tuna salad at all: it's a pickled jalapeño salad with tuna in it. I'm not sure it would really work as a taco filling, but it was good as a sort of salad served with tortilla chip scraps to add a crunch.

  • Wood-grilled whole fish (or fillets) Puerto Vallarta style (Pescado Zarandeado)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      This was fine, but I found the Worcestershire flavor a bit intrusive. Not a bad dish, but I doubt I'd make it again.

  • Yucatecan "pudding" tamales with achiote and chicken (Tamales colados)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      I'd give these five stars for flavor, but the texture is really... weird. He isn't kidding when he calls them "pudding" tamales. Maybe once you are used to it it is no longer objectionable, but as a first-timer it was startling, and not terribly pleasant.

  • Yucatecan guacamole (Aguacate machacado)

    • chennes on August 12, 2010

      Despite his claim that this is a Yucatecan guacamole, even by his own description it does not seem to be related to an authentic Yucatecan guac, and that may not actually be a bad thing. I think of this as being a basic guacamole, one that will be familiar to everyone, and is good if you like guacamole.

  • Yucatecan shredded steak salad with habanero and cilantro (Dzik de res aka salpicón de res a la Yucateca)

    • Delys77 on October 26, 2011

      The flavours were nice and it came together easily, the challenge was that you went light on the habanero and heavy on the lime and that flattened the flavour of the beef a bit. You should have done as the recipe suggested.

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  • ISBN 10 0393058999
  • ISBN 13 9780393058994
  • Published Jun 15 2010
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 416
  • Language English
  • Countries United States

Publishers Text

Entertaining made easy, with Mexican-inspired recipes and handy tips from the celebrity chef and winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

Whether you are hosting an intimate get-together for a few friends or an outdoor extravaganza for a crowd, famed chef Rick Bayless shows you the way. Rick presents 150 recipes, from libations and savory nibbles to street food and live-fire grilled meat and fish. Champagne margaritas or bacon-and-tomato guacamole will get a party started, and black bean tamales are perfect for small-dish snacking. For an evening around a grill, the Brava Rib Steak with “Lazy” Salsa will win fans. To go all out, you can end your party with Rick’s Dark Chocolate–Chile Ice Cream.

Fiesta at Rick’s features five inspired menus ranging from a no-fuss Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12 to an Oaxacan Lamb Barbacoa Fiesta for 25. For each, Rick offers detailed advice and plan-ahead strategies.

Companion to the sixth season of Rick’s public television series, "Mexico—One Plate at a Time", Fiesta at Rick’s is ideal for anyone who wants to spice up their parties.

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