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Rick Bayless dishes on his trip to L.A.

Rick bayless Rick Bayless, winner of "Top Chef Masters" and host of "Mexico: One Plate at a Time," was spotted dining at some of L.A.'s upscale Mexican eateries last week. We got so excited at the thought he might be casing the area for a future outpost of Topolobampo or Frontera Grill that we had to give him a call.

Unfortunately, Bayless responded that, "No, I can't. I'm such a bad commuter." (L.A. is definitely not the city for him in that case.) "I have three restaurants and they are all next door to each other. ...There's nothing in the works. "

He was actually in town for the World of Flavor Conference in Napa. He then brought his team down to check out what he said was "L.A.'s movement on the creative side of Mexican food."

"When we were filming 'Top Chef Masters,' we were on set for 16 to 18 hours a day. We were sequestered; We didn't get out much," he said. Naturally, he was excited by what he saw going on in our scene. 

He did divulge that he'd been asked to return to "Top Chef" as a guest judge and also shared some of his favorite dishes from his two-day whirlwind culinary adventure through L.A.

Some highlights included Provecho's grilled Caesar salad and ceviche; Rivera's beautiful flowered tortillas and cochinita pibil; and the chimichurri steak burrito from Casa, which experienced some growing pains during its first few months on the scene (perhaps the new executive chef, Nick Albrecht, has sorted things out). During their 48 hours they also went to Loteria Grill, AOC and Lucques.

Sounds like Bayless and his gang tackled our city two or three plates at a time.

-- Krista Simmons

Photo: Rick Bayless

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