Meet Capella Ixtapa’s Culinary Team

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary Team

It is my pleasure to present to you two new members of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary team: Executive Chef Rurik Salazar, and Sous Chef Miguel Baltazar.  Both are amazing chefs and I am excited to announce they are also both finalists for Mexico’s Chef of the Year contest!  I had to sit down and get to know a bit more about their culinary passions and of course, share them with you.

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary Team

Chefs, you clearly both have a love of food.  How would you describe your cuisine, your culinary style?

RS: I enjoy experimenting with unknown products in a search for the highest quality and the most adequate technique to bring out the best of every ingredient.  I am in a constant search of the perfect dish.  My culinary style is Mexican, whether traditional or contemporary, it is what moves me.  I also appreciate foreign gastronomies such as Thai.  Regardless of their origins, I love Fine Dining Cuisine.

MB: I have great respect for traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques.  I truly enjoy cooking with what I know best and taking it to the contemporary scene.  My cuisine is bold, colorful and very Mexican.

I am so excited that you both are the finalists for the Chef of the Year contest, which will be held in June 2014!  Will you be practicing together for the finals?

RS: I won the first national semifinal in the Bajío region last June.  I am thrilled to be representing Capella Ixtapa  along with Miguel.  This is the most important culinary contest in Mexico, so it is amazing that we have both made it so far!  Together we will put Capella Ixtapa on Mexico’s culinary map!

MB: I won the second national semifinal that included the states of Michoacán, Morelos and Guerrero.  I loved the experience of being tested in every possible way.  From my perspective what gives you edge is controlling your nerves.  I am so happy to represent Capella Ixtapa and it is an honor to be head-to-head with my Executive Chef!  I am sure we will practice together because at the end our goal is to finish first and second.

What innovations are you bringing to Capella Ixtapa’s dining experience?

RS: Our main goal is to create unique culinary experiences for our guests.  This will come from having the best local ingredients in an attempt to showcase regional gastronomy.  We will have seasonal menu changes through the year while keeping our signature dishes.  My biggest professional challenge is to take Capella Ixtapa’s cuisine to a national and international spotlight.

MB: Chef Rurik and I have a very similar conception of food and I think great things are about to take place.  I am bringing a fresh twist on traditional Mexican Cuisine.  We are both bringing our own personal experience and vision to the food.  We want guests to visit Capella Ixtapa because of our cuisine.

Fall has come to Ixtapa, and with it the new seasonal menu at Capella Ixtapa.  What can the guests expect at our restaurants?

RS & MB: Be prepared to taste real Mexican flavors, from smoked cow’s tongue to black berry tamales.  We are cooking a very interesting menu for A Mares, where we are combining gastronomy of the Guerrero’s coast with ingredients and techniques from central Mexico.  Also not to be missed is our special set menu for the Tequila tasting, it is as Mexican as it gets!

For my final question, what is your favorite Mexican dish?

RS: There is nothing that takes me back to my hometown as much as a Mole de Caderas.  Every year I wished for Día de Muertos to come because I knew I was getting a nice hot bowl of this flavorful soup made with goat’s hip and spine.  It’s unique flavor comes from goats who have dieted on salt throughout their lives.

MB: I am a simple man and I love eating, but there is nothing that I enjoy as much as a big plate of Morisqueta made by my grandma.  Steamed rice, slowly cooked beans, spicy tomato salsa, aged Cotija cheese and sour cream; every spoonful is a childhood memory.

 

To make a reservation at any of our restaurants, please send us an email to: pa.ixtapa@capellahotels.com, or call us at 01.755.555.11.00

 

Cocteles De Otoño En Capella Ixtapa

Fall Cocktails at Capella Ixtapa

Una de las actividades favoritas de nuestros huéspedes es la clase de preparación de Margaritas. Son divertidas, prácticas y Miguel Tafoya, nuestro Mixólogo, es sin duda un gran profesor. No sólo te enseña los básicos para preparar una Margarita clásica, sino que también te ayuda a liberar tu creatividad y crear ¡tu propia versión! Aprenderás también la historia de la Margarita y algunos de los secretos de Miguel para crear esta bebida tan famosa. Siempre le sugiero esta clase a mis amigos que visitan el resort ya que es una gran manera de tener un excelente recuerdo de tu estancia en Capella Ixtapa – especialmente cuando vuelves a casa y puedes preparar tu propia versión de la Margarita ¡para tus amigos!

Para esta temporada de otoño Miguel nos tiene preparados muchos cocteles nuevos, y nos ha compartido no sólo una, sino ¡dos de sus recetas! Una se prepara con tequila y la otra con mezcal, el cual cada vez es más popular en México.

Fall Cocktails at Capella Ixtapa

MARGARITA PATRIA

Ingredientes:
1 ½ oz. Tequila Centenario Reposado
½  oz. Licor Chartreuse
½  oz. Controy
2 oz. Jugo de tuna
½ oz. Jugo de limón
¾ oz. Néctar de Agave
2 Hojas de menta

Preparación:
Servir el Tequila, Chartreuse, Controy, jugo de tuna, jugo de limón y el néctar en un vaso de pinta, agrega hielo y utiliza un mezclador para combinarlos. Sirve el contenido en un vaso en las rocas, con escarcha de sal granulada. Decorar con la menta.

COCTEL ADELITA

Ingredientes:
1  oz. Mezcal
1 oz. Licor Fusión X-Rated
1 oz. Jugo de Toronja
15 g. Semillas de granada
1 Cereza para decoración
½ cucharadita de néctar de agave

Preparación:
Marinar la granada con el mezcal. Añadir el jugo de toronja y el licor fusión en un vaso de pinta para combinarlos. Servir en vaso de Champagne. Decorar con la cereza.
Salud!

En tu próxima visita a Capella Ixtapa, te invito a probar nuestros nuevos cocteles en el Bar Terraza, o puedes también tomar nuestra clase de preparación de Margaritas con nuestro Mixólogo Miguel y crear tu propia versión! Visitar el Bar Terraza, o ser parte de una clase de preparación de Margaritas está disponible también para los residentes y visitantes en Ixtapa previa reservación. Para más información y reservas por favor contáctanos al 01.755.555.11.00, o envía un correo electrónico a los Asistentes Personales de Capella Ixtapa pa.ixtapa@capellahotels.com.

Getting To Know Mexican Wines With Miriam Vazquez

Mexican Wines

When thinking of Mexico, most people think of our beaches, sun, arts and crafts, tacos, tequila, … not many know that Mexico is getting more and more famous for our excellent wines and renowned vineyards.  The wine culture is growing nation wide, and I thought August, the time of wine harvest, would be the perfect time to talk about wines with Capella Ixtapa’s Food & Beverage Manager, Miriam Vazquez.  Read our conversation about Mexican wines and food pairings she and our Chef recommend for summer and fall.

Mexican WinesMiriam, can you share with us some insights into Mexican wines?
Because of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s tropical climate, our guests tend to opt in more often for tequila and mezcal, but they do love a good glass of wine as well.  Some of Mexico’s best-known wine varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Tempranillo.  In the last few years, especially in the tropical areas like Ixtapa, refreshing and light white fruity wines and rosès have become popular.

What are your favorite Mexican wines this summer?
At Capella Ixtapa we have an extensive wine list.  Among the Mexican wines I’d highlight two of them; one is Madero 2V, from Casa Madero, which is aromatic and fruity, and perfect for pairings with salads and fish.  The other favorite this summer is Gabriel from Adobe Guadalupe, which is intense, well balanced and is wonderful for pairings with selected dishes and cuts that we offer at A Mares restaurant.

What is your guiding principle when selecting wines for our wine cellar?
We are always looking for young, fruity and light wines; and from there we complement the selection with wines that can satisfy even the most demanding palate and pair with complex dishes.  Of course wines that are best enjoyed in the warm climate of Ixtapa are always a priority.  Seasonally we add new wines that will perfectly accompany new seasonal dishes on our restaurants’ menus as well.

Mexican Wines

Which food and wine pairings do you recommend at Capella Ixtapa’s restaurants this fall?
I would recommend the Short Rib of A Mares, a delicious dish cooked slowly in its own juice, and accompany it with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon by Casa Grande.   Or taste the complexity of Chardonnay from the same vineyard, together with seafood offered at the Seafood Market.

How do you enjoy wine?
For me personally the best way to enjoy a good glass of wine is during dinner, on a very nice evening, and most important: good company.

For more information on Capella Ixtapa’s restaurants and reservations please visit our website.

Descubriendo Los Vinos Mexicanos

Mexican Wines

Cuando la gente piensa en México, vienen a la mente nuestras playas, sol, artesanías, tacos, tequila… pero no muchos saben que México está adquiriendo cada vez más reconocimiento por su excelente producción de vinos y renombrados viñedos. La cultura vinícola está creciendo alrededor del país, y he pensado que Agosto, la época de la vendimia, sería un momento perfecto para hablar de vinos con el gerente de alimentos y bebidas de Capella Ixtapa Miriam Vasquez. A continuación un extracto de la conversación donde ella y nuestros chefs me recomiendan vinos mexicanos así como su perfecto maridaje tanto para verano como otoño.

Mexican WinesMiriam, nos puedes compartir un poco de tu conocimiento sobre los vinos mexicanos?
Como Ixtapa Zihuatanejo tiene un clima tropical, nuestros huéspedes tienden a elegir más el tequila y el mezcal, pero siempre disfrutan también una buena copa de vino. Algunas de las variedades de vino más famosas de México son el Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo y Tempranillo. En los últimos años, especialmente en zonas tropicales como Ixtapa, los vinos refrescantes y afrutados como los blancos y los rosados se han vuelto muy populares.

Cual sería tu vino mexicano favorito de este verano?
En Capella Ixtapa tenemos una extensa carta de vinos, entre los vinos mexicanos, resaltaría un par: el primero el Madero 2V, de Casa Madero, el cual es aromático y frutal, y perfecto para maridar con ensaladas y pescado. Y el otro sería el Gabriel de Adobe Guadalupe, el cual es intenso, bien balanceado y maravilloso para maridar con los platillos y cortes selectos que ofrecemos para cenar en nuestro restaurante A Mares.

En que te basas para seleccionar vinos para nuestra cava?
Siempre buscamos vinos jóvenes, ligeros y frutales; y partiendo de eso, complementamos la selección con vinos que pueden satisfacer hasta los más exigentes paladares y desde luego maridarse con platillos más complejos. Desde luego los vinos que se disfrutan más en un clima cálido como el de Ixtapa son siempre una prioridad. Dependiendo la temporada agregamos algunos vinos que acompañen a la perfección los cambios de temporada que nuestros restaurantes tienen también en sus menús.

Mexican WinesQue platillos y maridajes recomiendas este otoño en los restaurantes de Capella Ixtapa?
Recomiendo ampliamente las costillas de A Mares, un delicioso platillo cocinado lentamente en su propio jugo, y acompañarlo con una copa de Cabernet Sauvignon de Casa Grande. O probar la complejidad del Chardonnay de la misma vinícola, junto con los mariscos ofrecidos en nuestro Mercado de Mariscos.

Cómo te gusta disfrutar tu vino?
Para mí personalmente, la mejor manera de disfrutar un vaso de vino es durante la cena, en una hermosa velada, y lo más importante, excelente compañía.

Para más información sobre los restaurantes de Capella Ixtapa así como reservas, por favor visita nuestra página web.

 

 

Get To Know Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo

“I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams,” is one of the iconic lines from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.  This film, along with with When a Man Loves a Woman, are just two of the movies filmed in beautiful Zihuatanejo.  The Pacific here is as blue as you can imagine, and the Mexican way of life is just as you have dreamt about.  If you haven’t been to Zihuatanejo these films will surely inspire a visit.  But just in case you need more, here are some facts about the town:

History:

  • In the native Nahuatl language Zihuatanejo means a “place of women.”  We pronounce it “zee-watt-a-neh-ho.”
  • The city was founded in 1520s, with roots stretching back to the Olmec, Toltec and Tarascan tribes.  In the days of Spanish colonization, Zihuatanejo bay was a stopping point and safe haven for Spanish galleons, pirates and privateers.  Today the municipality has approximately 105,000 residents.

Weather:

  • The climate is warm, with an average yearly temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F).

ZihuatanejoBeaches & Activities:

  • In Zihuatanejo you can practice many water sports; it is famous for fishing, sailing, diving, snorkeling and surfing.
  • Some of the most amazing and swimmable beaches can be found in Zihuatanejo; Playa Principal, Larga, Blanca, La Madera, La Ropa, Las Gatas, to name just a few.  Read more about them here.

Wild life:

  • Lush nature and tropical landscape make Zihtauanejo a great destination for nature lovers: here you can see whales, turtles, crocodiles, endemic bird species, and other wildlife.  Don’t miss to visit the wildlife refuge El Refugio de Potosí.

Zihuatanejo BeachExperience:

  • Zihuatanejo is a small town, which was able to keep its historic charm and friendly atmosphere of an old fishing village.  I recommend exploring the city by foot: visit downtown “El Centro” and feel the vibe of the town and its colorful stores, cafes and restaurants, then continue the walk at the Paseo del Pescador, a beachfront promenade.  Sit at an adjacent restaurant and enjoy the view and the people watching.
  • Visit the colorful artisans market, where you can purchase ceramics, woodcarvings, weavings, sculptures, jewelry and clothing by talented local artisans.  My other favorite market is a food market – an unforgettable and delicious experience!

Food:

  • Try Zihuatanejo’s most popular and traditional dish tiritas (Thin slices of the freshest fish slightly cooked in the grill).  Our Chef Miguel Baltazar prepares it with fresh catch of the day.  I love how refreshing it is!

Twin Destination:

  •  Together with the resort town Ixtapa (home of Capella Ixtapa), Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is referred to as one destination, which offers two distinct lifestyles and experiences.  The experience in Zihuatanejo, traditional port and fishing village, is combined with the comfort of a modern infrastructure and luxury services in Ixtapa.  The towns share 24 km of golden coastline with small bays and lush green hills.

Zihuatanejo is a wonderful place for vacation, relaxation, exploring nature and pristine Mexico.  Best part?  It is just a short drive away from Capella Ixtapa!

 

 

Images:
1. Zihuatanejo Bay by hmerinomx via Flickr
2. La Madera beach by chrismar via Flickr

Trips Around Ixtapa: Pátzcuaro, A Small Colonial Gem

patzcuaro

If the explorer within you wants to live a full experience while on vacations, see many new things and discover new places, I have a recommendation for you!  Pátzcuaro, a small colonial gem in the State of Michoacan is just a 3 ½ hrs drive from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Capella Ixtapa, making it a great day trip for those wanting to explore further into Mexico.

The Michoacan’s countryside is beautiful.  Volcanic activity and rich soil supports lush jungle-like vegetation, with spectacular mountain landscapes, rolling hills, deep lakes, winding rivers and green valleys.  Pátzcuaro is located on hills above the Lake Patzcuaro.

PatzcuaroToday Pátzcuaro is considered a cultural and artisan center of Michoacan.  It’s original name “Tzacapu-ansucutinpatzcuaro” means “door to heaven” or “the place where the blackness begins.”  In 1533 the Spanish founded the city, when Vasco de Quiroda moved the capital of the state from Tzintzuntzan to this mountain city.  The town is well known for fountains, churches, plazas and shrines, which adorn the city, and make it a great historical destination.  It is rich in Spanish colonial and indigenous heritage, which you will be able to experience at each step.

Patzcuaro 2The first thing I noticed on my visit to Pátzcuaro was the smell of pine and wood-smoke.  The aroma comes form a thick pine, oak and eucalyptus forest, surrounding the city.  The cobblestone streets are lined with traditional whitewashed adobe buildings roofed in moss-covered tiles.  I love the colonial setting of the city, with lovely sidewalk cafes and restaurants, from where you can observe the happening on the streets and plazas.  Of course there are a variety of markets around town where traditional handcrafts can be purchased.

There is also an archaeological site along Lake Patzcuaro that showcases the pyramids of Ihuatzio  – Tzintzuntzan.  It’s only a short ride away from Pátzcuaro and is a must see for the history lover.  Tzintzuntzan was once the capital of Purepecha Empire and is now a handcraft center and the site of a 16th century Franciscan convent.

patzcuaroIf you are looking for more trips around Ixtapa, read about my visits to Taxco, Troncones, Pie de la Cuesta, Morros de Potosí, Petatlán and Barra de Potosí – all great day trips from Capella Ixtapa!

Images via http://www.patzcuaromexico.com.