Thursday, August 8, 2013

Casa de Cocinas

If Michael Coon’s looks like he is serious about food, he is. He wants to make sure that everything that comes from his kitchen is perfect.

Michael is a world renowned food and travel expert as the former Travel Director and Co Creator of the CIA’s World's of Flavor tours.

He has also worked as a consultant to my favorite store - Williams-Sonoma – and counts Robert Mondavi Winery, General Mills and the Fairmont Hotel among his clients.

He and his wife Valerie own and operate The Inside Route Tour Company, based in San Miguel de Allende and lucky for me I was introduced to him this past month by a friend. His kitchen, Casa de Cocinas, is now part of my culinary routine every month.

My first tasting – The Best of the World Street Food – was as good as eating the best food off any street in the world. I will go back for this one when they do it again.

What’s not to love about sitting back and letting Michael cook some of the most interesting and delicious food for you? Bring a bottle of wine and a few friends and you have a feast. Since I am new to town, I came single which is OK because you’ll know everyone by the end of the night. The tastings last two hours.

He has events – sometimes weekly when he’s in town - and changes up the menu every time. For instance, last night his tasting was BBQ and he also has a number of cooking classes this month including one called Ramen Rising and another on Vietnamese Street Food Cooking.

One of the friends I sent his list to was delighted that he had so many Asian cooking classes. Something new she said and she is a great chef in her own right.

Michael and Valerie are also running culinary trips this fall to the Valle de Guadalupe (Mexico's wine country), Oaxaca and Mexico City. The trips are totally focused on food.

His kitchen is splendid but the room I loved the most was the pantry. Yes, one could live inside this pantry it is that big and fully stocked with anything you happen to have on your grocery list.

So here’s the menu from Best of the World Street Food Tasting ($300 pesos):

Spicy Ginger Pork Dumplings from China
Vietnamese Ban Mi Sandwiches from Siagon
Tacos al Pastor from Mexico
Herbalicious Fried Dough from Italy
Homemade Creamy Ice Cream.

Michael also served his special vegetarian blend of cauliflower, onion, potato, leek and vegetable stock, which is cooked in a crock pot until the vegetables almost dissolve. It is then pureed and served with a trickle of white truffle oil and bacon. That was truly an experience and a delicacy. 

He also started out his BBQ tasting with another version of his signature dish which was just as good.

All of his food was artistically exciting and delicious but what I loved most is that Michael created a new take on every recipe. For instance, he served the Ban Mi on a Mexican Bolillo instead of the traditional french baguette.

Last night, I polished off his “South In Your Mouth” tasting… a delicious combination of brisket, ribs, cole slaw, cornbread and shortcake. Can’t tell you how good it was to officially have my first real BBQ of the summer.

If you want to get on Michael’s growing email list, write him or Valerie at

Note: Reply early as all of the tastings, classes and trips fill up early.

Buen Apetito!