Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cava Sautto Wine Fest: Discovering Reds

When Cava Sautto (Hernandez Macias 59) throws a wine fest, they bring in the best brands. 

Reserve wines were in abundance as well as high end liquors like Hennessy, Dewar's, Bacardi, Johnny Walker, Herradura, Chevas Regal, Bruxo, Grey Goose and other leading labels.

I happen to think this is one of San Miguel de Allende’s best festivals and the deal of the year. For 300 pesos, you sample any of the wines or liquors featured at the event. At the end of the night, take your ticket stub into Cava Sautto and you get a $200 peso credit against any bottle in the store. 

After exchanging my ticket, this $250 peso bottle of Casa Madero Merlot was just $50 pesos.

That also means you drink and dance all afternoon and evening for 100 pesos. 

Highly visible? A lot of two fisted drinkers.

There were more Canadians and Americans in attendance this year and a large number of Mexico City's see-and-be-seen crowd. The turnout was triple of what it was last year.

I'm not a wine expert but I know what I like and I'm spirited when I run across something new.

For years, I've attempted to become a red wine drinker having tried many varieties from Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhône in France; Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy; and California's Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. I've never been successful at finding a bottle of red that I like until now. In fact, I was captivated by all of the Casa Madero reds.

My favorite? Casa Grande Cabernet Sauvignon, a surprise because I've always considered Cabernet to be too full-bodied and heavy for my taste. 

Casa Madero, by the way, is the first official wine estate in Mexico, founded in 1597 in Coahuila in Valle de Parras. I’ve also marked my calendar to go to the Parras Valley in the fall for the annual grape harvest called la vendimia.

Another red that I loved? Le Chetto's Don Luis.

Liquors? I've always disliked the small and taste of gin so another great reveal was Gracias a Dios Ginebra de Agave, made from Mezcal, that was so incredibly smooth we savored the taste between the oohs and aahs of "I can't believe this is gin." This preview special will be available for sale in the next few months.

While you’re in Hotel Sautto, don’t forget to try the magnificent food in the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Bacco. Everything is fresh and created from the best ingredients. I always order the Amatriciana, made with fresh tomatoes and smoked pancetta for just 100 pesos. It’s big enough to split or have for a second meal.

Cava Sautto also does a highly celebrated rum festival in November. You can watch the video from both events running on the feed inside Cava Sautto.

Mark your calendar for next year. You'll discover a lot of new selections for celebrating life’s special moments...

like another perfect day in San Miguel.

Salud and Buen Apetito!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

No Time for Comida

Why is it I retired last year, have three jobs and am back on a work schedule? 

In the US and Canada, we eat around our work schedule but here in Mexico, people work around their eating schedule. 

I've easily adapted to eating two meals a day instead of three. I've also lost twenty pounds since I've been here. Not sure why because I enjoy my fair share of San Miguel's best. 

I eat healthy most mornings. My usual is the yogurt, fruit, and granola plate at Hotel Matilda. It's still the best deal in town served on white china and dished up with a view of the pool. It's hard to believe that you can still eat a meal this good for 55 pesos at one of the best hotels in town.

When you're busy and don't have time for the pleasure of a comida, my favorite and sometimes only social meal of the day, I'll eat something more substantial for breakfast and then hit the taco cart at night.

Here are some of my favorite places for an AM meal that will stick with you throughout the day. 

Comida tomorrow? Of course. No one should work on Friday!

Bon Apetit.

Lavanda Cafe
Hernandez Marcias # 87

One of my favorite restaurants just keeps on getting better.

The great thing about Lavanda? It's consistent. I've had at least a dozen meals here and all of them have been praiseworthy.

Here is a new look at Karla's beautiful Huevos Rancheros, one of the most popular dishes on the menu. 

Every entrée will carry you through the day if you happen to be hard at work instead of outside playing in the sunshine like you should be.

Most meals are under 100 pesos and served with a large glass of fresh squeezed juice. Green juice +8 pesos and super healthy.

Breakfast just doesn't get any better than this. 

El Rincon de Don Tomas
Jardin, Portal de Guadalupe 2, Centro

Located in the Jardin, catch a seat outside and watch San Miguel come alive though you wouldn't get breakfast until they open at 8:30 AM.

I love SMA mornings and this place has two things going for it...people watching and Huevos Otomi, a hearty bowl of scrambled eggs in a bean stew. 

It will remind you that food doesn't have to be fancy to be good. This one pot meal will warm you up on a cold February morning when hibernating isn't an option. 

Cafe Oso Azul
Zacateros 17, Centro

Jens and Bo are the perfect hosts at this little cafe in Centro. It looks typically Scandinavian with its white walls and blue-washed wooden tables and chairs. You might think for a minute you're in Denmark. Grab a spot at the communal table in the courtyard and order up the house favorite… Huevos Mexicanas that are perfectly cooked with tomatoes, onions and peppers in a miniature cast iron skillet. Top off with an order of delicious homemade sausage. Savor the flavor, aroma, and full- body of their coffee that is organically grown in Veracruz by Bo's family. Call it exquisite with a dusting of Mexican chocolate.

Mama Mia
Umaran #8

Mama Mia's has been around for a long time and has a legion of loyal fans. I wasn't one of them until their breakfast special gave me a reason to revisit some old Italian flavors. 

This is what I would call a man-sized meal although I know plenty of women who can polish off this Mexican-style colazione in a single sitting.

Better than any Italian-in-her-next-life dreams about for sustenance, this platter is set on a bed of undercooked hash browns, topped with fried eggs and smothered in a pile of sunday gravy complete with mexican sausage.

You wouldn't miss the pasta at this Italian restaurant but you'll crave a glass of Chianti. Who wouldn't expect wine for breakfast with a meal like this?