Kayaking in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

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Every time summer comes to town, I start humming that popular Ella Fitzgerald song “Summertime and the living is easy…”  Even though in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo we have a fantastic warm weather all year long, and every day looks like a vacations, summer is still summer…  It’s the time of vacations when I go to visit my friends and family, and when they come to visiting me in Ixtapa, and the time everything just feels a little bit more relaxed.

July temperatures in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo average around 90 F, which make it a perfect excuse to spend most of my free time in the ocean or at the pool.  During my days off work I love visiting our local beaches, and I have recently discovered my new favorite summer activity - kayaking.  I love kayaking solo, but kayaking in tandem is so much fun as well!

And while you can kayak in many of our Ixtapa Zihuatanejo beaches, my favorite spot for kayaking is at the lagoon at Barra de Potosí, a large salt water lagoon located about half an hour south of Zihuatanejo.  Here you can hire a guided tour, or kayak on your own.  The flora and fauna at the lagoon is amazing, you can admire unique aquatic birds, and paddle gently among beautiful tropical mangroves.  Don’t forget your waterproof camera, binoculars, sunscreen and a hat.

After the kayaking tour we love to enjoy fresh seafood at some of the beachfront restaurants at Barra de Potosí, and sip cold cocktails while relaxing in the hammock.  Barra de Potosí is a small fishing village with around 150 families, who all live work in the fishing industry- therefore you can be certain that the fish you will be enjoying is as fresh as it gets.  I love listening to the stories of fishermen, and it is probably just one reason more that makes me come for a kayaking tour to this pristine little village so often.

My second favorite kayaking spot is at Ixtapa Island.  I visit it when I don’t have a lot of time for my kayaking excursion.  It is a perfect place for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, or just enjoying a relaxing beach day.

For more information about kayaking in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and for organized tours, please contact your Capella Ixtapa Personal Assistant here.

Photo via Flickr user Loxy.

Conoce a Alan Navarrete, Director de Auriga Spa

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“Todos nuestros sueños pueden hacerse realidad, si tenemos el coraje de perseguirlos” – Walt Disney.

Y eso es exactamente lo que Alan hizo! Alan fue parte del equipo de apertura de Auriga spa en el 2009 y ahora el spa da la bienvenida nuevamente a Alan pero ahora como su nuevo Director. Tan pronto como escuché que Alan fue nombrado el nuevo Director de Auriga Spa no podía esperar para hablar con él acerca de sus planes, sus metas y lo que está por venir en el spa.

Alan, bienvenido de vuelta a Auriga spa! Dinos, ¿a dónde fuiste después que te fuiste del spa en el 2010?

¡Gracias! Es maravilloso estar de vuelta. Cuando estuve aquí como Asistente del Director de y parte del equipo de apertura, trabajé estrechamente con Sylvia Sepielli, la visionaria detrás del concepto del Auriga spa . Después de pasar tiempo con ella, supe que quería ser el Director algún día. También sabía que para alcanzar esta meta tenía que aprender aun más sobre el mundo del spa y ganar valiosa experiencia Así que viajé por el mundo como Directora de Canyon Ranch Spa Club a bordo de Oceania Cruises y Regent Seven Seas. Aprendí diferentes técnicas y tratamientos en muchos países de diferentes regiones del mundo Después de tres años de viajar y aprender, sentí que estaba listo para regresar a mi país y llevar a cabo mi sueño en Capella Pedregal.

Literalmente ha visto el mundo en busca de conocimiento para seguir tu sueño. Me parece interesante que te uniste al equipo de los Asistentes Personales mientras esperabas tu trabajo soñado. Cuéntanos acerca de esta experiencia.

Sí, fue muy importante para mí ser parte del equipo de Capella y el papel Asistente Personal era una posición perfecta para mí para perfeccionar mi habilidades de servicio al cliente y construir relaciones con nuestros clientes Los asistentes personales aquí son un grupo de personas profesionales y tienen una verdadera pasión por el servicio a los huéspedes. Me siento muy afortunado de haber tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con ellos durante un año.

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 Es como si hubieras planeado todo a la perfección y que estabas listo cuando se presentó la oportunidad.

Sí, sabía que estaba listo! Como decimos en el mundo de los spas, las estrellas estaban alineadas y debe haber sido la fase correcta de la luna cuando mi sueño se hizo realidad Es un verdadero honor haber sido nombrado para este puesto de gran prestigio.

Y ahora, ¿cuáles son tus planes para Auriga?

Mi plan es construir sobre la base que ya se ha establecido y por la que obtuvo el spa el reconocimiento como el “Mejor Spa del Mundo ” El plan para Auriga siempre ha sido trascender en la vida de nuestros huéspedes e incorporar spa y bienestar a la experiencia general. Voy a trabajar con el equipo para incorporar nuestra tierra y tomar ventaja de nuestra ubicación privilegiada para proporcionar tratamientos inspirados en la asombrosa Baja y experiencias memorables para los huéspedes. Grandes cosas están por venir. Los mantendré informados!

Cocktail Secrets From Capella Pedregal’s Osvaldo Vazquez

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I recently spent some time with Capella Pedregal’s Mixologist, Osvaldo Vazquez, so I could discover the cocktail secrets behind his deliciously crafted drinks as well as to get more of an inside scoop on the upcoming A Taste Of Capella, Food & Wine Festival next month.

Osvaldo has gained national and international recognition as a premier mixologist and is known as a pioneer in Cabo San Lucas for his “cutting edge” cocktails using homemade and seasonal ingredients.  His barrel-aged cocktails and his “house made bitters” are not to be missed.

CI – Hi Osvaldo!  I am becoming your #1 fan! There is not one cocktail you’ve made that I have not enjoyed!  Please, tell us the secret behind your signature cocktails.

O – Thank you! For all our cocktails, we use local and organic ingredients and first class beverages, but what makes the difference is that the cocktails are truly hand crafted. The team and I spend many hours creating bitters, infusing tequila, mezcal and bourbon with unique ingredients that will later be aged in our barrels.

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CI – WOW! Tell me more about the Capella bitters!

O-Well, first you have to understand what a bitter is. A bitter is like vinegar the chef uses to add a little flavor to his food. The flavor of a homemade bitter is unique and gives that special touch to our cocktails.  During the last year and a half, we have created over 15 different flavors of bitters, such as chocolate, lavender, lemon and orange.

To make the bitters, we work with a distillery in Todos Santos that provides us with 100º proof corn spirits.  We select the “ingredients” to infuse with the spirits, such as cherry wood, orange pill, tree bark, etc.  Then we start with our filtering processes and the results are phenomenal.

CI – Tell us, what should we expect regarding cocktails at the upcoming A Taste Of Capella, Food and Wine Festival?

O – This year, we will focus much more on cocktails and thanks to the participation of Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York City , we will have a new class called the Crafted Cocktail.  In his demonstration he will hand create crafted spirits influenced by the 1920s and 1930s.  Throughout the festival our guests will enjoy crafted beers, tequila from our barrels and of course, some special signature cocktails specially created for the festival.

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CI – Osvalso, thank you so much for taking the time to share the inside of your creations with us! I am sure our Capella blog-readers are as eager as I am to see what is still to come!

Los Secretos De Cócteles De Osvaldo Vazquez De Capella Pedregal

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Hace poco estuve con el Mixólogo de Capella Pedregal, Osvaldo Vázquez, para poder descubrir los secretos de coctel detrás de sus bebidas deliciosamente elaboradas y para conseguir una primicia sobre, Sabor a Capella, Festival de Comida y Vino en Capella Pedregal que se llevará a cabo el mes que entra.
Osvaldo ha ganado reconocimiento nacional e internacional como un mixólogo premier y es conocido como un pionero en Cabo San Lucas por sus “vanguardistas” cócteles con ingredientes caseros y de temporada. Sus cócteles envejecidos en barricas y su ” amargos hechos en casa” no se puede perder.
CP - ¡Hola Osvaldo! ¡Me estoy convirtiendo en tu fan # 1! ¡¡No hay un solo cóctel que hayas hecho que no me ha gustado!! Por favor, dinos el secreto detrás de tus cócteles.
O – ¡Gracias! Para todos nuestros cócteles, utilizamos ingredientes locales y orgánicos, y bebidas de primera clase, pero lo que hace la diferencia es que los cócteles son elaborados verdaderamente a mano. El equipo y yo pasamos muchas horas creando amargos,infusionando el tequila, el mezcal y el bourbon con ingredientes únicos que posteriormente serán envejecido en nuestras barricas.

 

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CP - WOW! Cuéntame más sobre que el los amargo de Capella!
O-Bueno, primero hay que entender lo que es un amargo.. Un de un amargo es como el vinagre que el chef utiliza para agregar un poco de sabor a su comida. El sabor de un amargo hecho en casa es único y le da un toque especial a nuestros cócteles. Durante el último año y medio, hemos creado más de 15 sabores de amargos diferentes , como chocolate, lavanda, limón y naranja.
Para hacer los amargos, trabajamos con una destilería en Todos Santos que nos proporciona licores de maíz . Seleccionamos los “ingredientes” para infucionar con los licores, como la madera de cerezo, naranja, corteza de árbol, etc. Luego empezamos con nuestros procesos de filtrado y los resultados son fenomenales.
CP - Dinos, ¿qué podemos esperar en cuanto a cócteles en el próximo Sabor a Capella, Festival de Comida y Vino?
O – Este año, vamos a centrarnos mucho más en cócteles y gracias a la participación de Ulliyses Vidal de Employees Only en la ciudad de Nueva York, vamos a tener una nueva clase llamada Cócteles Artesanales. En su demostración se creara licores artesanales influenciados por los años 1920 y 1930. Durante el festival, los huéspedes podrán disfrutar de cervezas hechos a mano, tequila de nuestras barricas y, por supuesto, algunos cócteles especiales creados especialmente para el festival.

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CP - Osvalso, muchas gracias por tomarte el tiempo para compartir los secretos de tus creaciones con nosotros! Estoy seguro de que nuestros lectores están tan ansiosos como yo de ver lo que está por suceder!

A Look Back: The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival 2014

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

They say the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.  And if you haven’t fallen in love with Mexico yet, our Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival, would have you in head over heels, guaranteed!

Sabor + Vino 2014, which we held this past May, was Capella Ixtapa’s first culinary festival, and with the amazing feedback we received from our guests and visitors, I can promise you it won’t be the last!

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Chef Miguel Baltazar from Capella Ixtapa, with Guest Chef Carmen Valencia and Chef Ramiro Ortega.

“This region of Mexico has so much to offer gastronomically, offering an authentic Mexican cuisine experience.  We gathered well known chefs from different towns within the region to participate in festival Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino 2014, which established a sense of pride and honor, as we presented diverse traditional Mexican dishes, combined with exquisite Mexican wine and spirits for all attendees, complemented with a wonderful culinary event.  The feedback we received was fantastic, and I hope to see you all again at Capella Ixtapa’s Sabor + Vino 2015!” said Eliezer Quinones, General Manager of Capella Ixtapa.

The Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino Festival ran over two weekends in May, and featured Guest Chefs,  Carmen Valencia, Ramiro Ortega, Karla Chápero, Jesús Ordoñez.  Hosted by Capella Ixtapa’s Chef Miguel Baltazar, guests were delighted by appetizers based on regional cuisines, cocktail events, cooking classes, two exquisite 7 course wine pairing dinners and a special breakfast where each of the chefs prepared their own signature breakfast dish.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Bittersweet chocolate, bed of peanuts and cocoa, Cotija cheese meringue, xoconostle (a fruit of prickly pear cactus) foam, coconut cotton and a reduction of jamaica and passion fruit.

Sabor + Vino 2014 was an incredible experience,” said Chef Miguel Baltazar.  “Four different culinary minds came to Capella Ixtapa with the same objective; to satisfy the palate of our guests, surprise them with the magnificent flavors and show them the best of their cuisine.  It was a great pleasure having them with us and creating the first edition of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary festival together.  For me personally it was also a magnificent opportunity to create, innovate and practice with these amazing Chefs for the Chef of the Year in Mexico contest, at which I will be participating in June, and representing the colors of Capella Ixtapa and our region.  Some of the unforgettable dishes from the festival for me were jack fish with black radish, scallops tiradito, jicama fruit infused with beet and mezcal, cocoa with meringue of salt from Zihuatanejo, and crystallized nopal.”

You can see more photos from the festival here, and mark your calendars for May 2015, for the next Capella Ixtapa Sabor + Vino festival.  Our team is already hard at work planning next year’s festivities!

Behind The Scenes: Preparing for A Taste Of Capella, Food And Wine Festival

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A Taste Of Capella

I am so excited about the 3rd Annual A Taste Of Capella, Food And Wine Festival at Capella Pedregal and after getting the inside scoop from Food and Beverage Director, Marco Bustamante, I can hardly wait.  Marco invited me to attend one of their planning meetings for A Taste Of Capella and I learned so much about what goes into preparing for an event of this magnitude.  Each year, the day after the end of the previous festival, planning for the following year’s begins.  First, the chefs have to be confirmed. I am happy to report the line-up for 2014 is amazing and includes award-winning chefs from across the United States who will join Capella Pedregal’s Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz.

  •  Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica, Picca and Paiche has elevated Peruvian cuisine to new levels.
  •  Curtis Duffy opened one of the best restaurants in the world, Grace, in 2012 in Chicago.
  •  Kevin Sbraga of Sbraga and The Fat Ham in Philadelphia and was also winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef: Season 7”.

New this year, Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only in New York City, will join Capella Pedregal’s very own mixologist, Osvaldo Vazquez and together they will create delicious Crafted Cocktails inspired by this culinary festival.

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Marco told me this year’s festival will have some new activities such as Craft Night, an evening where we will see chefs, bartenders and spirits artisans create their craft! We will try tequila from the barrel, crafted beers, crafted cocktails by the guest mixologist, and of course, amazing food prepared live by the Chefs!  This year the culinary experience is transcending the Capella Pedregal gates and includes an Organic Farm Tour and lunch.  Chef Yvan will take us to Tamarindos Farm where he and the farm’s owner and chef, Enrique Silva, will share their secrets of their favorite Mexican dishes.

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For the wine lovers, the wine maker from the Wagner Family of Wines will do a tasting of their famous wines from Napa, and the special Hacienda la Lomita will be present with the Unique Collection by Capella!  Every minute of the festival will be thrilling, but what makes me the most excited is to see what the team will do the final night at the Gala when they celebrate Capella Pedregal’s fifth anniversary.  I cannot wait for July to arrive and share all the happenings with you!

To learn more or make reservations for A Taste Of Capella, please call 877 247 6688 or visit  Food And Wine Festival for more information.