It's fitting that the Orange County's Register's resident press release rewriter, Nancy Luna, would be the one to break the news that Rick Bayless is opening the second location of his execrable Red O restaurant in Fashion Island next year and is excited by it.
Bayless and the Weekly, of course, share little love: I eviscerated him in 2010 after he essentially called Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold a liar because the two of us called him out on claiming he was going to introduce Southern California to the “true flavors” of Mexico, whatever the hell those are. And our Bill Esparza has hounded Rick so much that he's actually banned from following Rick on Twitter because Bill's even more vicious than me in his critiques–tee-hee!
Of course, that's going to mean nothing to the hordes of people in Orange County like Luna who think Mexican food has finally arrived in Orange County because the genre's Great White Father has finally left his Chicago perch to grace us with his presence. Luna is already playing the willing shill by breathlessly saying that Bayless is a “pioneer of modern Mexican cuisine” (um, no: Bayless has made his career, like Diana Kennedy, on merely republishing recipes taken from rustic Marias), that his seasonal menu is “a style not often tied to Mexican food” (tell that to the makers of cemitas poblanas and their use of pápalo, or those who make chiles en nogada) and that one of Red O's signature dishes will be “achiote-marinated suckling pig slow cooked in banana leaves”–which every Mexican knows as cochinita pibil and which you can find much tastier at Condé Cakes in SanTana, territory in which Luna and Bayless fans will never dare tread. Whatever: let them have their safe “authentic” Mexi food, I say!