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Rancho Pescadero hosts a chef-led culinary weekend getaway
Rancho Pescadero and chef Rodrigo Bueno are hosting a three-night, four-day culinary weekend Nov. 2 with chef Tim Goodell of Public Kitchen & Bar in Hollywood, Calif., 25 Degrees in Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Calif., and Chicago, and Red Pearl in San Diego, and chef Kelly Liken of Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, Colo.
The weekend, held at the 27-suite resort located one hour north of Cabo San Lucas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, features cooking demos, cooking classes, a Baja wine tasting, nightly chef tasting dinners, and a taco tour in nearby Todos Santos. Both chefs are known for creating regional dishes with locally sourced ingredients.
Other events include welcome cocktails with chef Bueno, a tour of the hotel’s organic garden, and a seafood dinner on the beach.
Rates for the package range from $1,740 in a standard suite to $2,170 in the Milagro suite. Package includes accommodation; daily breakfast basket with coffee, fruit, and Mexican pastries; daily breakfast in the hotel’s oceanfront restaurant; and the culinary weekend activities.
Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.
Chef Xavier Pérez Stone Urges Tourists to Visit Mexico and Eat a Lot
A week before his hometown was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, acclaimed chef Xavier Pérez Stone was doing what he does best𠅌ooking a multi-course Mexican feast at a stunning beachside resort. While at the Barceló Gourmet Festival at the Barceló Maya Grand Resort, not far from his home in Playa del Carmen, Stone cooked dishes that brought him back to his childhood in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City, an area with colonial-era walls and buildings that would crack and fall days later.
“When I first heard about it I thought, ‘Wow, we just had two major earthquakes we need to help,&apos” says Stone. “The distance makes it difficult, but there are things we can do.” In the immediate aftermath, Stone spread the word on his restaurant’s social media pages of where people could donate clothes, food, water and transportation to the regions hit hardest.
It has been just over a month since the earthquakes hit Mexico, but the areas affected are still in desperate need of aid. “If you𠆝 like to help please come to Mexico! Eat at the local restaurants, stay in the hotels and visit the small towns,” says Stone.
As part of relief efforts, Stone helped organize two fundraisers. The first was at Axiote, his restaurant in Playa del Carmen, where he welcomed the entire community, asking eight different area chefs to come together and make a dish for everyone who made a donation that night.
Aside from money, locals brought enough necessities like clothes, toilet paper, medicine and food to fill a truck.
“The second event we held took place at Kitxen, the bar of one of Mexico’s most famous rock stars, Saúl Hernández, from the band Caifanes,” says Stone. 𠇎veryone who went donated money to the relief effort in exchange for the concert and food.”
It’s been ten years since Stone moved from his home in Mexico City to the vacation destination of Playa Del Carmen. As a new chef to the region, his staggering 20-course meals at Cocina de Autor in the Grand Velas Riviera Maya elevated the country’s idea of what resort food could be. While there he earned it the honor of being the only AAA Five Diamond all-inclusive resort in the world. Since then, he’s gone on to win Iron Chef Canada and open Axiote on the Riviera Maya. “Winning the title of Iron Chef was amazing because people from other countries come to my restaurant, recognize me and appreciate my food even more.”
The focus at this eatery strays from his usual double-digit courses to a more relaxed menu using only local ingredients and traditional Mexican recipes. The menu changes based on season and availability, but it’s not unusual to see a beef tongue taco or grasshopper guacamole make an appearance.
Stone’s cooking pays homage to his home city and his close-knit family. His passion for cooking regional Mexican dishes began while standing on a chair in his grandmother’s kitchen cooking the meat his father hunted. “I spent many, many hours in the kitchen when I was a child” says Stone.
But Mexico City street food also plays a role in his menu and his affinity for authentic Mexican dishes. “I ate so much street food when I was young, so I try to mix those flavors with the recipes my mother and grandmother taught me,” says Stone.
Despite some restaurants in ruins, Stone has high hopes that Mexico City’s culinary scene will continue to grow. “I feel that Mexican cuisine is changing in a good way," he says. "Chefs like myself are choosing to cook with better local produce and more interesting flavors. Now, chefs are proud to use traditional recipes.”
Riviera Maya Vacation Rentals with Personal Chef Service
Riviera Maya is known for its beautiful beaches, tropical climate and vegetation, luxurious resorts, friendly locals, and last but not least excellent food, no matter if seafood, traditional Mexican, or international cuisine. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum are home to many gourmet restaurants run by celebrity chefs and five-star luxury resorts with “all-inclusive” dining options.
However, an increasing number of luxury vacation rentals now go a step further, offering its guests a private chef service. An approach focused on an “all-exclusive” experience rather than “all-inclusive” for the masses. A personal chef is a special treat for every gourmet, offering completely personalized, flexible high-end service for the guests right at the villa.
Most private chefs have worked at first-class restaurants and hotels, and every villa usually has an established, extensive menu with dozens of signature dishes to choose from. In addition to that, before the guests’ arrival, We will create preference sheets for every single guest reflecting special requests, favorite dishes, food allergies, etc. This way, chefs will cater to the guests’ needs and cravings, whether it’s a light and healthy snack by the pool, a multi-course-themed dinner, a BBQ, or fresh seafood. A private chef can also cater to special dietary needs, religious restrictions, or food allergies. Chefs can add vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, dairy-free, Kosher, Halal, or Hindi options to the menus upon request.
With selected properties, the chef service is already included in the price of the rental. Guests will only have to pay the actual price of food and beverages purchased by the house staff. Fresh and high-quality produce, meat, seafood, and alcoholic drinks are considerably cheaper in Mexico than, for example, in the US or Europe, so the additional cost is only $25 and $50 per person per day, including drinks, depending on the number of meals and the guests’ individual preferences. A truly unbeatable deal for a five-star dining experience!
Here are three Riviera Maya properties with excellent and highly rated chef service included, making them ideal vacation rentals for the food connoisseur looking for the culinary trip of a lifetime.
Villa Aqua in Playacar
A modern luxury vacation rental located inside the prestigious gated community of Playacar, just minutes away from Playa del Carmen’s lively “Quinta Avenida.” With five bedrooms and ample indoor and outdoor space, this villa sleeps up to twelve guests. Villa Aqua features an “indoor garden” in the main living area, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a perfect blend of indoor and outdoor living. Chef service at the villa is included for breakfast and lunch. We can add dinner service at a nominal fee.
Casa Del Agua in Puerto Aventuras
This four-bedroom villa sits right on the beach in beautiful Puerto Aventuras. Up to eight guests can enjoy this traditional Caribbean-style gem, featuring rich wooden accents and tropical decoration and artwork throughout. The chef and his team of waiters will prepare three meals per day in the spacious dining room or right on the beachfront terrace.
Villa Marinera in Puerto Aventuras
A nautically inspired luxury villa located on a canal in Puerto Aventuras, Villa Marinera offers five bedrooms and sleeps up to ten people. A truly unique feature is the motor yacht docked in front of the villa, which You can use for fishing and snorkeling trips (one trip included per stay additional trips are extra). An experienced captain will guide the guests to the best spots. The villa’s chef is known for outstanding traditional Mexican fare and seafood. Meal service for daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner is charged additionally with the rental.
For more options for luxury villa rentals in the Riviera Maya that come with chef service, please inquire at Villa Experience Riviera Maya!
Spring Lamb Feast
SPANISH COLONISTS BROUGHT DOMESTICATED sheep to New Mexico, and soon lamb found its way into Indigenous and Hispanic cuisines. Chefs throughout the world appreciate lamb for its pronounced flavor, which can stand up to strong seasoning in curries, tagines, and stews, whether braised, grilled, or roasted. That said, home cooks often steer away from lamb because of its cost and their inexperience cooking it. Heaven forbid you ruin that $35 rack you found at Costco.
In Luscious Lamb Cookery, a class I regularly teach at Las Cosas Cooking School, I help students learn how to handle this tasty meat, including the less expensive cuts, which are delicious when prepared creatively. In the class, I smear shoulder chops with yogurt, garlic, and lemon and then crust them with za𠆚tar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Cost-effective shanks make a luscious osso buco. To keep the pricier rack moist, I spread it with Dijon mustard and then pack on a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs, capers, and lemon zest before roasting.
Grocery stores offer a wider variety of cuts than our mothers had to choose from, and local growers like Shepherd’s Lamb specialty items like bones, sweetbreads, and organ meats to the more traditional chops, legs, and shanks.
The Easter, Passover, and Ramadan holidays often set a lamb dish on the family table, making this an appropriate month to perfect a new technique. Don’t be afraid if you, like me, grew up on lamb shoulder chops that spent a fair amount of time in the oven, only to be coated with neon-green mint jelly straight from the jar.
Chef Jonathan Perno at Campo, in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.
The medium-rare rack with rosemary and garlic I encountered upon moving to New York City was a revelation, but then I discovered the wonderful world of global lamb cookery. In funky East Village African eateries, it was highly seasoned with exotic spices and served with couscous in a domed tagine. At Indian restaurants, fiery vindaloos set my palate ablaze. In Mediterranean restaurants, I fell in love with kebabs of vegetables and marinated lamb. A moussaka, I discovered, was the best of two worlds: meat and mashed potatoes in one dish, gilded with creamy bຜhamel.
A semester spent at chef’s school in Leeds, England, introduced me to mutton—sheep that are at least one year old and up to three. The meat can be a tad tough, and it wasn’t my favorite. Later I lived in Australia, where lamb “on the barbie” was offered with a sauce of fresh mint, sugar, and vinegar.
Chef Paddy Rawal’s Raaga-Go takeout restaurant, in Santa Fe, simmers up Indian cuisine, including papadum and Lamb Vindaloo.
A Santa Fe friend who needed to boost her strength after a brief hospital stay this winter was lucky enough to receive a container of bone broth made by our mutual friend Mu Jing Lau, of the former Mu Du Noodles fame. After downing a bowl, she called to exclaim that she was cured and full of energy. I had to call Mu to get the recipe: an all-day simmer of Shepherd’s Lamb bones—the more the merrierrrots, celery, onions, mushroom stems, tomatoes, a head of peeled and smashed garlic, and a large knob of peeled and smashed ginger. “It also humidifies your house and keeps it warm,” Mu says, 𠇊nd the smell is downright addictive.”
I also snagged recipes from two standout New Mexico chefs—Paddy Rawal of Raaga-Go, in Santa Fe, and Jonathan Perno of Campo at Los Poblanos Historic Inn, in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, and I offer some tips of my own for making the best of your lamb selection. Are you game?
Papadum at Raaga-Go takeout restaurant, in Santa Fe.
On the Lamb
Chef Johnny Vee offers a few tips for preparing lamb.
If you’re new to lamb, start with a cheaper cut: stew meat, ground meat, or shanks. No need to worry about overcooking the longer these simmer, the more tender they get. Use chicken stock for your liquid (beef stock will overpower the lamb flavor).
Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking. Starting from fridge-cold takes longer to cook and risks drying out the meat.
Marinades and dry rubs enhance lamb flavor without overpowering it. Marinades that include any acid𠅌itrus, vinegar, or wine—should not be left on the meat for more than an hour. The meat will start to 𠇌ook,” changing the texture. Most spice rubs need only a few hours to add their flavor.
Before sautéing, blot the meat dry with paper towels to promote a nice crust.
For grilling, make sure your fire is hot so the meat sears quickly and keeps the moisture in.
To oven-roast racks of lamb, season and then sear them in a frying pan before finishing in a hot oven (400°).
Always let roasts and racks rest for 15 minutes, tented with foil, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat. Cut across the grain to ensure the tenderest result.
Our Mexico Cooking Vacations
Just as Mexico is more than famous resort towns, its rich and diverse cuisine is more than just tacos. Mexico has become a top culinary destination while remaining one of the world’s most popular travel spots: an ideal combination for a cooking vacation! Whether you are exploring the beaches of the country’s many fine coastal towns or the charming villages of the interior, your cooking holiday in Mexico will enchant and delight you. Visit ruins of ancient times, learn the traditional way of making regional dishes that have remained unchanged for centuries, eat at sophisticated restaurants and indulge in fantastic Mexican cocktails—what are you waiting for?
Mexico is a traveler’s paradise: desert landscapes, ancient ruins, sophisticated cities, time-warped colonial towns, glitzy resorts, and inviting beaches. Great food in a setting of great beauty, Mexico’s gastronomic star has been on the rise for many years, with its amazing produce and seafood taking center stage.
Maxing tamales during an authentic hands-on cooking vacation in Mexico with The International Kitchen.
Traveling to Tulum Mexico or the Surrounding Area?
Do your accommodations have a kitchen? If your answer is YES. Did you know that hiring the Personal Chef Services of Antonio Chin Sosa and his staff of qualified Chefs can be less expensive than going out for every meal?
Hiring a Private, Personal Chef for your entire trip will ensure that you have the most relaxing trip imaginable. No need to worry about which restaurant to eat at and what dish you should order. Simply pick from a list of items from Chef Antonio’s menu or have him create a menu for you based upon your favorites. Hire your Personal Chef for a few days or your entire trip.
Service can be provided for private homes, weddings, birthdays, parties, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Many Food Types Available, including:
- Oriental Cuisine
- International Cuisine
- Fusion Cuisine
- Gluten Free Dishes
- Special Menus for all Needs…
Chef Antonio makes it a very simple process. Being fluent in several languages including English, French, Italian, Spanish and his native Mayan bridges most language barriers.
Relax and enjoy homemade margaritas while your meals are being cooked.
Adept at finding creative uses for the local crop, NM chefs prove that this spice is the variety of life
&ldquo. Chile is your passport to a world of exciting flavors, without ever leaving the state of New Mexico.&rdquo
When New Mexico’s official state question (“Red or green?”) is asked in local restaurants, it is usually in connection with our unique style of Southwestern fare. Here, it’s 𠇌hristmas” (a combination of red and green) every day of the year – and enchiladas , burritos, and tacos provide a perfect canvas for savoring the subtleties between red and green, fiery and mild, and Hatch versus Chimayo chiles.
But no visit to the Land of Enchantment is complete without sampling the rich variety of other cuisines embraced by our creative chefs. ਏortunately, your tastebuds can take a virtual trip around the globe and still get their chile fix. Craving sushi in Santa Fe? Irish pub fare in Farmington? Pasta in Truth or Consequences? You may be surprised to discover that our local chile shows up in places – and dishes -- you would least suspect.
Chile is your passport to a world of exciting flavors, without ever leaving the state of New Mexico. Let’s explore a few of the options:
Unless you’re Persian, you may have trouble pronouncing some of the dishes at Pars Cuisine (parscuisine.com), like Chelo Kabab Koobideh or Ghimeh Bademjoon, but don’t let that stop you – this restaurant, with its Samovar and Hookah bar, is an authentic cultural immersion. Accompany your kabob, shank, or stew with a side of green chile and discover the tasty intersection of Middle East and Southwest.
With its own sizable farm and a seasonally driven menu influenced by both haute cuisine and foods indigenous to the Rio Grande River Valley, La Merienda at Los Poblanos is definitely not your typical New Mexican restaurant. It showcases a variety of local growers and producers, like Shepherd’s Lamb from Northern New Mexico, their farm’s own lavender honey, and 16-year-old Balsamic vinegar from Old Monticello Farms. Naturally, local chile appears in daily specials and regular dishes, such as the the green chile mustard that accompanies the Pollo Confit Rillette, and the honey red chile glaze on their larded and brined Los Poblanos Pork Loin with coriander roasted root vegetables.
Inside Carlsbad’s historic old City Hall, The Stock Exchange (thestockexchangenm.com) Chef Kevin Zinc gives a local twist to an American steakhouse favorite: Reserve Tenderloin Tips topped with saut mushrooms, roasted green chile, and aged cheddar. Side dishes include green chile cheese grits, two whole grilled green chiles, and a palate-cleansing wedge of watermelon with pink sea salt.
If you wander intolancy’s Pub – an Irish Cantina (clancys.net) looking for an Irish stew and a pint, you may be a wee bit surprised to discover the New Mexico green chile in your bowl alongside the pork and potatoes. (This Irish cantina also has a sushi bar, but that’s another story.) It’s all part of the eclectic culinary experience at Clancy’s, where you’ll find more than a wee bit o’ the green (chile, that is) in all kinds of delicious dishes.
Atਏratelli’s Pizza Bistro & Ice Creamery’s (fratellisbistro.com), Italian cuisine and frozen delights provide a welcome stop for Interstate 40 travelers. Their New Mexico Roadrunner pizza with pepperoni, sausage, and green chile is the perfect entree to the Land of Enchantment. For a trip back to the glory days of the “Mother Road,” as locals called the old Route 66, check out the historical charm of the Badlands Grill (badlandsgrill.com). Start with the Green Chile Wontons filled with ground beef and green chile, served with a green chile marmalade and then surrender to the Bandito, a 16-oz., bad-boy New York strip steak topped with green chile, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Hatch is where the bulk of the state’s chiles are grown, so you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that doesn’t feature them. But for a change of pace from New Mexico-style cuisine, follow the smoke to Sparky’s (sparkysburgers.com) – and if that fails you, just look for the 10-ft. A&W Root Beer Mama on the roof. This is serious, wood-fired barbeque featuring brisket, pulled pork, ribs and sausage, accompanied by a side of green chile creamed sweet corn. Sparky’s West Texas-style green chile cheeseburger and green chile chicken sandwich are also great ways to enjoy the local crop.
A name like Aqua Reef (aquareefrestaurants.com) sounds incongruous in southern New Mexico, but you can satisfy your Asian/sushi and green chile cravings with their New Mexico Pecan Green Chile Roll – a pecan-breaded, stuffed green chile topped with sriracha sauce. Also try their Aqua Reef Roll, featuring Saku tuna, green chile, cucumber, and scallion with dynamite sauce.
At the Si Italian Bistro (sibistro.com), definitely say “yes” to Dave&aposs Favorite Pizza, a wood-fired pie with homemade sauce, pepperoni, salami, Cremini mushrooms, black olives, oven roasted tomatoes, and – last but not least – hot green chile.
Santa Fe encompasses an entire globe of dining options, and New Mexico chile has sprouted up in almost all of them. The flavors explode at Babaluu’s Cocina Cubana (babaluuscocina.com), a Cuban gem along Highway 14, the Old Turquoise Trail heading toward Madrid, where pig roasts are a regular event. Havana native Chef Amaury uses Hatch green chile to spice up his Caribbean Crawfish Creole Green Chile Boil and Saut Littleneck Clams, and uses Chimayo red chile to kick his mango sauce up a notch, and even subtly flavor his ice cream, which he serves in edible bowls of spun sugar.
Feeling nostalgic for the Left Bank? Mais oui! Stroll over to Bouche Bistro(bouchebistro.com), where French-born and -trained Chef Charles Dale will have you convinced the Eiffel Tower is twinkling outside your window. Red chile adds a nice local touch to his Black Mussels in White Wine. ਊt the aptly named Ristra (ristrarestaurant.com), native French Chef Xavier Grenet showcases New Mexico green chile in his Poblano Relleno, accompanied by wild rice, spaghetti squash, sundried tomatoes, and a piquillo pepper coulis.
When it’s time for the Three S’s (Sushi, Sashimi, and Sake), head to Shohko Café(shohkocafe.com), where the fresh fish rivals any of its coastal counterparts. But be sure one of your dishes includes their signature green chile tempura, invented in the mountains of La Madera and inspired by New Mexico’s chile relleno. It also shines in several other original Shohko creations, including the Santa Fe Roll, which teams green chile with shrimp tempura and avocado.
Osteria d𠆚ssisi’s (osteriadassisi.com) cuisine is inspired by Italy’s Lombardy region on the north side of Lake Como, but their Lombardy native Executive Chef Cristian Pontiggia never hesitates to feature local green and red chile in a variety of dishes, from his Buffalo Lasagne to pizza toppings at Osteria’s sister restaurant, Pizzeria da Lino (pizzeriadalino.com). Red chile takes a final bow in Chef Pontiggia’s unique dessert, Tartufo al Cioccolato con Peperoncino Rosso e Pancella in Salsa Cappucino, which translates to a delectable chocolate truffle crusted with red chile bacon in cappuccino sauce.
And, speaking of sweet endings, chocolate lovers must order Chef Andrew Cooper’s Dark Chocolate Souffle with Green Chile Cream, one of the most-popular desserts at Terra at the Four Seasons Encantado Resort (fourseasons.com/santafe/dining/restaurants/terra). This decadent treat is designed for two, but nobody will tattle on you if you savor it all by yourself.
Who first figured out that green chile belonged in that quintessential American dessert, apple pie? We aren’t sure, but we agree it is a match made in heaven. You can find the combination all around the state during the September chile harvest, but you might want to make the pilgrimage to Pie Town, where they take pie making seriously. It might seem like there’s a rivalry between the Good Pie Café (goodpie.com), whose New Mexican Apple Pie incorporates two ounces of spicy green chile, and the Pie-O-Neer’s (pie-o-neer.com) apple, green chile, and piñon pie, but they peacefully co-exist by being open on different days of the week.
Once an old mining town, Silver City is now home to a thriving, diverse restaurant community, including The Curious Kumquat (curiouskumquat.com), where Chef Rob Connoley recently earned a spot in Saveur magazine’s “Top 100” for what it termed the “most far-flung modernist cuisine.” ਊ devotee of molecular gastronomy, the chef incorporates hydrocolloids (a fancy name for gums, such as gelatins and pectins) and other techniques into globally influenced dishes, like Thai red curry duck and Korean-spiced elk shank. Chef Connoley’s cuisine is equally inspired by locally sourced ingredients, such as crayfish harvested from the nearby Gila River and, of course, Hatch green chile. His Green Chile Corn Chowder males a great starter or light lunch.
Chef Lesley Fay of Graham’s Grille (grahamstaos.com) describes her Green Chile Cioppino as “Taos, New Mexico meets North Beach, San Francisco.” The fragrant fish stew originated in the Italian American neighborhood of the City by the Bay. hef Fay’s unique New Mexican take combines shrimp, mussels, Italian sausage, and New Mexico green chile in a smoky tomato, white wine, and garlic sauce.
When thirst strikes, you’re in good hands – Taos and its environs are home to a handful of microbreweries. ut you won’t want to miss the award-winning Taos Green Chili Beer at Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery, located in the historic district of Taos, one-half block southeast of Taos Plaza. Their brewers use local green chile during fermentation make an aromatic, dry, delicious beer that was recently featured online in a recent ABC News article highlighting the country’s best brews: “Latest Craft Brews Inspired by Far More than Hops.” If you can’t make it to Eske’s, you can also find this specialty brew elsewhere around the state, including the Albuquerque airport.
Truth or Consequences
After a nice, long soak in the T or C hot springs, it’s time for dinner in Italy! Actually, it’s not much of a stretch when you’re dining at Bella Luca Café Italiano (cafebellaluca.com), home of hearty Italian cuisine. Since Hatch’s famous chile is grown just 40 miles away, don’t miss their Calabasitas Fettuccini, featuring local organic summer squash, fire-roasted corn, Hatch green chile, and crispy pancetta in a white wine cream sauce. Add some grilled chicken, tiger shrimp, or wild salmon if you need a little protein to recover from your strenuous day of bone-soaking.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michele Ostrove is a Santa Fe-based writer and president of the PR/marketing firm Wings Media Network, which organizes New Mexico Restaurant Week, Holiday Pie Mania, and other events. She specializes in food, wine, travel and tourism, and founded Wine Adventure magazine, the first wine magazine for women.
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Reasons Why Cabo House Rentals With Chef Are Getting More Popular!
Located on the Southern tip of the Baja Baja California peninsula, Los Cabos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. The main towns are Cabo San Lucas, known for its lively luxury resorts, colorful nightlife, and an abundance of activities for the whole family. Simultaneously, the smaller San Jose del Cabo offers a more authentic and laid-back Mexican experience. A stay at a luxurious private villa offers a degree of sophistication, privacy, flexibility, and intimacy that surpassed every five-star hotel at a surprisingly competitive price point.
One of the most outstanding features of a luxury vacation rental is, without a doubt, the availability of personal chef service, an amenity that will certainly make every gourmet’s heart beat faster. At many luxury villas, chef service and bar staff are already included in the rental price. At most others, We can arrange chef service for an additional fee. Either way, guests will have to pay for the actual cost of groceries and beverages purchased by the chef and the villa’s staff. The area offers abundant fresh ingredients at very reasonable prices, including delicious produce from farmers’ markets and high-quality seafood from local fishers. The average cost of food and drinks obviously depends on the number of meals -and drinks- per day and the guests’ personal preferences, but a rule of thumb is $25 to $40 per guest per day – a truly unbeatable price for an unforgettable culinary experience.
Most private chefs that work at luxury villas have been trained at gourmet restaurants and five-star hotels. While many of them specialize in traditional and modern Mexican cuisine, their culinary offerings range from quick and healthy snacks over hearty burgers and BBQs to succulent seafood feasts and multi-course dinners. A chef will prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks right at the villa, so guests can relax and enjoy their stay without having to worry about picking a restaurant, arranging transportation, and dressing up for dinner.
Before the guests’ arrival, chefs will create custom menus based on the guests, personal preferences. While most chefs have their signature dishes, those suggestions are not set in stone, and the chefs will be more than happy to make changes during the stay to accommodate the guests’ cravings and satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Of course, Private chefs can also cater to guests with special dietary needs, food allergies, and religious dietary laws, such as vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, grain-free, Kosher, Hindi, etc.
Villa Paradiso Perduto is located in the luxurious community of Puerto Los Cabos, just east of San Jose del Cabo. The villa sits 180 feet above the ocean, and the beach is just a few steps away. With 8 bedrooms and over 12,000 square feet of interior space, this expansive property offers enough space for up to 16 guests. The meticulously designed and appointed interior showcases an interesting blend of contemporary style and Old Spanish architecture. The villa features ample outdoor space with breathtaking views of the Sea of Cortez, infinity pools, and state-of-the-art finishes.
Another magnificent property located inside the Puerto Los Cabos development is Villa Yvonne . Its sleek and contemporary style has been featured in multiple architecture magazines. The villa has 6 bedrooms and offers enough space for up to 12 guests on over 10,000 square feet. From the outdoor lounging and dining areas and the infinity pool, guests will enjoy gorgeous views of the surrounding golf course and the ocean
1. Tyler Place Family Resort, Vermont
When you think of all inclusive food, images of rainbow trout, prime rib, Moroccan spiced leg of lamb, Ahi tuna tartare and an oyster bar are not items that come to mind&mdashbut that&rsquos exactly the type of food served at Tyler Place Family Resort in Vermont.
With the emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced foods prepared by health-conscious chefs, Tyler Place works with local farms and purveyors and the result is simply-prepared, yet delicious food not drowning in sauces or heavy cream. Of course, they always have yummy desserts (homemade ice cream is a favorite) and plenty of kid-favorite staples (pizza and chicken nuggets). But there are so many choices at each meal that everyone&mdashfrom vegetarians to those with picky palates&mdashwill find something they can enjoy.
Creating better food as a competitive advantage
The restaurants at Sandals Royal Barbados didn’t disappoint, even a little, but I wasn’t pleasantly surprised since Sandals had talked it up to me plenty. That said, many who have the expectation of mediocre food at all-inclusives might be, including the chefs themselves.
“I’ve always thought that all-inclusive hotels were really poor quality… just cheap places where people don’t care about the food,” says Alejandro Sanchez, a chef and the Culinary Directory for Barcelo’s Royal Hideaway Playacar in Riviera Maya, Mexico. “Especially in Riviera Maya, where people just come for the sun and the beach and nobody’s concerned with the food.”
In Barcelo’s case, the resort saw this perception as a way to create a competitive advantage by including stuff like a five-star Italian restaurant and a Mexican option focused on Mexican fine dining, it could offer an experience all-inclusive travelers don’t usually find. It’s part of the reason the Royal Hideaway is now part of the Leading Hotels of the World.
“I think now everybody wants to be better,” Sanchez says. “Every day people are more concerned with healthy food and quality produce. People have much more information. So people want to eat better. Now we have repeat guests who come here from word of mouth with a high expectation of the food quality. So that’s changed.”
Much like with traditional restaurants, the bar for all-inclusive food has been raised considerably since my days of crushing an entire chafing dish of chicken marsala. If that’s still your expectation of food at the Sandals of the world, ask someone who has visited one about how well they ate. They’ll probably say the food was “surprisingly great.”
Or, god forbid, try one yourself. It’s a way to explore new food without much risk, since if you don’t like something you can try 100 other things without having to pay for it. The preparations, though excellent, still cater to Americanized tastes — and make for a vacation you’ll enjoy well past the age of 14.