Mexico Articles

The Only Margaritas I’ve Ever Loved and Scallops with Bacon Beurre Blanc de Tocino and Cilantro

01.3.12

In 1993 I discovered margaritas. One week later my boyfriend, my gay travel-mate and I were spilling a pitcher of margaritas on a pool table in a crappy bar in the middle of a Colorado Winter. A few hours later I found out that my boyfriend was curious about kissing my gay friend and were I not retching I might have cared. That was the one and only week of the margaritas.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor…. as the saying goes.

Almost twenty years later I was able to enjoy a margarita again. During my trip to Gran Velas Riviera Nayarit we sampled dozens of margaritas (sampled folks… it was like one sip of each) and learned to make a few dishes. Chef Claudio Hotter is the executive Chef at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, he spent a day cooking with all of us and shared these recipes.

Scallops with Bacon Beurre Blanc de Tocino and Cilantro

4 portions

Ingredients

12 pieces Scallops (vieras)
150 gr. Champignons (mushrooms) (approx 1/3 pound)
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Beurre Blanc

200 gr. Butter (1 3/4 sticks)
60 gr. Shallot (2 oz)
200 ml. red wine vinegar (3/4 cup)
Salt, pepper
100 gr. Smoked bacon (3.5 ounces)
30 gr. Fine chopped parsley (a sprinkling)

Décor
05 gr. coriander
02 gr. chives
02 gr. Dill
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Preparation:
Clean all ingredients
Cut the champignons into quarters sauté them in olive oil and season with salt and
pepper.
Sautee the shallot and smoked bacon then add the red wine vinegar and the butter.
Fine chopped parley in our sauce.

Grill the scallops on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Heat up the champignon and serve it with scallops over it and lastly add the buerre blanc over the grilled scallops.

Garnish with fresh coriander and chives, drop some olive oil over it and
Bon appetite

And to accompany it try this amazing margarita.

Tamarind Mint Margarita

1.5 oz Tamarind Concentrate
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1.5 oz Tequila
½ oz Controy (Mexican Orange Liqueur)
Dash of Lemon Juice
Dash of Simple Syrup

Preparation:
Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously and serve in salt-rimmed frosted glass.

I did notice that all the fine dining restaurants in Riviera Nayarit the salts were complex and the margaritas were served in martini glasses. Some of the salts were sweet, others were tart (I loved those) and still others were spicy. I’m not sure where to get all those fabulous salts here in the US, but I’m going to figure it out.

Sayulita: The hippie enclave you MUST visit in Mexico

12.13.11

While staying at Gran Velas in Riviera Nayarit we took a few trips around the region.

My favorite day was spent exploring this tiny little town called Sayulita. It was about a twenty minute scenic drive through the mountains from Riviera Nayarit to Sayulita. The roads weren’t particularly well maintained but the forest was stunning and the slow drive down the mountain where the green canopies parted to reveal azure blue seas.

The town is a typical seaside town. The homes are small and low slung, the streets are cobblestoned and crooked. Children try to sell you string bracelets for just a peso or two and pharmacies do brisk business with American housewives looking for Ritalin and Xanax.

What makes Sayulita unusual is the artisanal community that has sprung up. When we arrived there was a farmer’s market in full force with organic and gluten free offerings.

sayulita farmers market

sayulita farmers market gluten free

Captain Pablo and his wife live in a beautiful casita right on the beach (you can see it’s gate on the top left of the frame). They are from Portland, Oregon and have two sons who are professional surfers.

sayulita surf lessons

There’s a little campground there that looks like a lot of fun for young adults (but not me) as well as quite a few rental homes. When you’re there look for the tortilla factory, if your back is to the ocean it’s up the hill and to the right. Buy a bag of fresh tortilla chips, they are a treat not to be missed.

The Hotel Des Artistes is NOT TO BE MISSED. The art gallery is amazing. You could stay there and spend your days lounging in Sayulita. I haven’t seen the rooms at the Hotel Des Artistes but I’ll give you a little glimpse at our lunch. Take a look at how they serve dessert for large parties.

On our way back to Gran Velas we stopped to watch a Polo Match with the La Patrona team. The horses were beautiful and it was fascinating as I was sitting next to a journalist who happens to be associated with a thoroughbred rescue. She was explaining to me how polo can be deadly for horses and how it’s not a sport that she’d support. But while watching the horses really didn’t corner that quickly (which is how they break legs and lose their lives) and the riders seemed very cognizant of the safety of the horses.

So we sipped fruity cocktails and enjoyed it guilt free.

Polo Grounds

Riviera Nayarit and the Gourmet Festival

11.28.11

Mr G and I had the incredible luxury of staying in Riviera Nayarit for the annual Gourmet Festival. I wasn’t really sure where Riviera Nayarit was other than the fact that it’s a few minutes away from Puerto Vallarta and a short plane ride from Los Angeles.

Get ready because I’m going to deluge you with a series of posts about the food, spa and sightseeing in and around Riviera Nayarit.

We stayed at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. Take everything you think you know about All Inclusive Resorts and throw it out the window. The Grand Velas is a AAA five diamond property with a handful of four diamond restaurants on site. After touring the property I’m quite sure I could check in there without asking for a second room. This is the most standard room, it’s not a room, it’s a suite, but again it’s the most modest room.

riviera-maya-mexico-resort-suites-grand velas

I couldn’t help myself, I took a video of the Presidential Suite. I don’t recall how much it costs, but it’s definitely in the range of, “If you have to ask you can’t afford it”. I was shocked that the larger suites were all in very high demand. What recession?

We were there very specifically for the Gourmet Food Festival, which occurs in the area every November. There are visiting chefs and special menus that should not be missed. Every dish was a work of art and I fell in love with fresh sardines. If, like me, you grew up on canned sardines give the fresh ones a try, they are delightful and the absolute opposite of whatever happens in that can.

This week I’ll give you a recap of the trip, including almost all of the restaurants (I think there were about 20 of them and I’m sure I’ll forget one) and some special places that I absolutely must return to.

Mostly though, I was a victim of watching 24 hour news shows. Mexico is really really really dangerous if you’re part of a drug cartel… you know, like Los Angeles can be dangerous for gang members.

Festival Gourmet International: and the Story of How I Became Your Fat Friend

11.21.11

Mr. G. and I were just hosted on fabulous trip to Riviera Nayarit. The trip was centered around the Gourmet Festival. To call it incredible would be a gross understatement.

This is a trip that every foodie should take. If you love meeting new people, all the better. We had just one progressive dinner but they feature them three times a week during the ten day festival. Our progressive dinner had us visiting five restaurants for eight courses and eight wine pairings (except dessert which was a cocktail pairing and a wine pairing).

The food was out of this world and deserves a better post than this one, but I’m tired, I’m behind on my housework and my cherished bottle of hibiscus liqueur exploded in my luggage so I have to buy Mr. G. new shoes so that he can go to work tomorrow without looking like a child in tennis shoes and slacks.

I found out that I really don’t tequila as a drink, but a sip is good for me. There was one truly spectacular cilantro margarita and I promise to get you the recipe. In the interim here are some images from the trip.

grand velas resort dinner plate piaf restaurant

grand velas resort view of the beach

Sayulita church

Open Enrollment, Life Insurance and My Will

11.16.11

It’s time for open enrollment at Mr. G’s workplace. I spent an hour trying to figure out how much we might spend on healthcare and childcare next year so that we could contribute the appropriate amount to the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s). Life insurance is a no brainer, we get the maximum for him and the maximum for me. It’s less than $10 a month and it’s not a whole lot of insurance, but it’s something.

This year I noticed something different on the life insurance options. Take a look for yourself.

life_and_accident_insurance

The options are as follows:

  • Employee only
  • Employee + Spouse with the spouse at 50% coverage
  • Employee + Spouse with the spouse at 100% coverage
  • Employee + Children
  • Employee + Family with the spouse at 50% coverage
  • Employee + Family with the spouse at 100% coverage

So I had a little freak out. Because who buys life insurance for children? How would $25,000 help me if something happened to one of my kids? I’d be too busy launching myself off a cliff. I know there are those whole life policies that provide a little savings account… but the thought of it was gruesome. If something happens to Mr. G the kids and will need a shit ton of cash because he does everything here. Everything. If something happened to me Mr. G would have to work very differently and hire someone to replace me. That all makes sense and for a few dollars a month I’ll buy some insurance.

When I thought about possibly clicking the column that would insure the kids I became physically ill. It’s just not something I could insure. Crazy?

Also, I’m off to Mexico tomorrow, specifically Puerto Vallarta. I wasn’t able to get K&R insurance, but I’ve promised my mother I won’t die. I also didn’t update my will. But Mom I’m pretty sure blogs are legal documents so if the plane drops out of the sky please make sure everyone knows that we want my brother to raise the kids. There’s plenty of life insurance and he can have my house. Just make sure no one wears their shoes upstairs, because I’d spin like a rotisserie chicken if my kids were being raised like that.

Is it 2012 Yet?

11.14.11

I woke up at 4.45 am with Mr G so that he could shower before running to the airport. He’s back to New York City for some sort of meeting or conference or maybe he’s just doing some stealth work for the New York Giants… it appears that his screaming from the sofa here in Los Angeles is oftentimes helpful. Perhaps they could use his coaching expertise in person?

On Thursday he’ll leave New York and meet me in Mexico for a quick little trip without the kids. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. I love the idea of three adult days. I’m not so sure Mr G is happy about it though. He really likes being home, and he was already mumbling about how he hates coming home late on a Sunday.

I tried to buy Kidnap and Ransom insurance but it’s no longer sold for short trips. You have to buy a full year’s worth, and I’m not up for spending that. If we get kidnapped just know that no one will pay the ransom and you can hang out on twitter and look for a new favorite mommy blogger (I am your favorite right?).

I’m stunned that 2011 has sailed by so quickly. I’m not ready for winter, I’m not ready for holidays, I’m not ready for much.

 

Check out this trailer. Dying to see the Hunger Games, I loved the book.