Rick Bayless and Michael Simon at Patrón Secret Dining Society Event [Photo: Ryan McVinney and Paul Taverna]
Last night around 8 pm a very hush-hush meeting of the Patrón Secret Dining Society commenced here in Chicago. In order to get an invite you had to be a member of the Patrón Social Club and once you received notice the event would be in Chicago you had to solve a riddle to get invited to the undisclosed location. Eater was lucky enough to bypass the riddle and we arrived at the Ravenswood Event Center, a hidden gem amongst industrial buildings. It was then revealed that Michael Simon would be the mixologist for the evening and Rick Bayless would be chef. Simon was front and center in the dining room while Bayless spent most of the time in the kitchen except when he was describing the food.
The loft-like event space was given a very whimsical feel, described to us later by the event planners as Midsummer Night's Dream meets the Wizard of Oz. The lighting was dim with candles lining the long dining room table. A small band was playing soft music in the background while the eclectic group of attendees entered the space. The evening started with appetizers including adobo marinated shrimp on a jicama crisp paired with Power's Margarita. The Patrón team then showed a short video on how Patrón was made before seating began for the four-course meal.
Michael Simon was given a chance to describe the first cocktail and then was briefly interrupted by the Patrón team to introduce "the real star of the show" Rick Bayless. After the awkward moment, Bayless and Simon found their synergy introducing the food and paired cocktails together. The menu included: Hawaiian big eye tuna with avocado-tomatillo guacamole and mango-grapefruit salsa, paired with a refreshing cocktail made with Silver Patrón, spiced watermelon agua fresca, grapefruit bitters and yuzu & mango froth; poblano marinated Alaskan salmon in green mole paired with a Reposado old fashioned; rib cap with sweet corn tamales accompanied by an old & smutty with Patrón Anejo, black raspberry and shallot syrup, lime juice and egg white and for dessert crepas with plantain custard, sour cream sorbet and peanut crunch with an el ruso negro made with Patrón XO Cafe powder, Ultimat Vodka infused with ceylon, spiced vanilla rice milk powder and plantain snow. Eater left early to avoid the storms but with the event going strong we wouldn't be surprised if diners were sipping cocktails and enjoying the food well-past midnight.