Friday, February 28, 2014

Chef Surprise at Capella Pedregal in Los Cabos

The sun was once again shining on the Capella Pedregal resort in Cabo San Lucas and my friend Lynn and I were ready to take full advantage of it on our final day.  

We started off with a leisurely breakfast at Don Manuel’s Restaurant. Julieta Hernandez of the Los Cabos Tourism Board joined us and told me about some of the new hotels going up in the area. She also told me a bit about nearby La Paz and the whale shark tours.

I had known that as a Mexican playground for Hollywood stars Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo boasted many fine resorts, but I didn't realize until our conversation how many more there were in this area that were among the best in the world.

I promised Julieta I would return soon to check out more of the Baja Peninsula and then headed to enjoy my final pool day for a long while.

Even though my foot had just been stitched and I couldn’t go in the water, I enjoyed a few hours in front of Capella’s massive infinity pool under warm sunny skies.  Since I grew up (and spent most of my adult life) on Long Island I always found the view of the beach comforting. The advantage of this strip of sand not being a swimmable beach was peaceful with only the sounds of the waves.

The waiters were quick to bring us a bucket filled with ice cold water bottles and what had become my standard drink at this resort, a Watermelon Mojito.

One of the things that Capella Pedregal has available for its guests are cooking classes. Most chose the ceviche class, but considering Lynn and I are both allergic to seafood, that wasn’t an option. It worked out well, though, because I got to learn how to make one of my favorite foods, tamales.

Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz, a protégée of Thomas Keller who spent time with the famed chef in Napa, was ready for us in the private kitchen reserved for classes and chef’s dinners (something we were doing that evening).

He told us about the history of tamales and how the fillings are really optional. We talked a bit about how tamales of all kinds are sold on the streets and made as a cheap meal in Mexico. I had only previously had pork filled ones and sweet corn tamales, which were filled, for breakfast.

We made chicken tamales and vegetarian ones with peppers, tomatoes and onions. Chef Mucharraz also showed us how to make quick and easy tomatillo salsa and salsa ranchera to serve with them.

During the tamale cooking class, mixologist and head bartender Osvaldo brought us some drinks he had created just for us. We named one of them “Samantha” for our daughters at home who share the same name. We also happened to love the drink, a blend of gin, lavender syrup, plumb bitters, Domaine de Canton liqueur, basil and lychee.

After the cooking class, Lynn and I each went back to our rooms. The complimentary guacamole, chips and Corona was delivered as usual and I enjoyed the view from my balcony for a while before showering and dressing for dinner.

Before dinner we went down to check out the weekly cocktail party they have for guests. It was an intimate setting with maybe two dozen people and a guitarist in the background. We each had a glass of wine and toasted to what would be our final evening in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Chef Mucharraz had put together a private dinner for Lynn and I for our final night. It was paired with wines and cocktails for a memorable experience. I was even impressed with how the chef didn’t blink about making my rib eye steak well-done. And, it was delicious, served with a parsnip puree and morel mushrooms.

I didn’t have much room left to finish the meat as we had already finished a tasty heirloom beetroot salad and a ginger-spiced butternut squash soup.

I almost wasn’t able to make it to the dark chocolate ganache dessert, but anyone who knows me knows that I am always ready for anything that includes the words “chocolate ganache!”

It had been an unbelievable week in Los Cabos between the (mostly) beautiful weather, relaxation and great food. It had also taken a very different turn at one point as I was going home with an injury to my toe, foot and ankle. It kept me from swimming with the dolphins – or swimming at all – but it also gave me more reason to come back to Los Cabos soon. 


1 comment:

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