Saturday, December 19, 2015

Two of The Best Events of 2015

We know how fleeting attention spans are in the month of December so we’ve decided to do shorts on two food events that made their mark on the social scene in San Miguel this month: The opening party for Bricio Dominguez and Paco Roncero’s La Canica and The California Wine Tasting organized by the Mexican office of The California Wine Institute. Both were 5 star events.

Once in awhile, I love to be spoiled. I like getting dressed up and being dropped into the lap of luxury; the magnificence of great wines, mezcals and fine chocolates. I find the grandeur of it all irresistible, especially in a celebratory month like December. Consequently, these events take the honors for two of the best events of 2015.
Life is a simple mix of eating and exploring. Drinking good wine is just the added bonus.
Happy Holidays and Buen Apetito!

La Canica Opening, Saturday, December 5
                                                                                    Photos: iPhone 5
The incredible opening party at Bricio Dominquez’s beautiful new restaurant, La Canica, Pila Seca #2, with partner Chef Paco Roncero is over. It’s back to business as usual at SMA newest restaurant but the feel-good factor remains. It was one of the best parties of the year.

We had a chance to meet VIP’s from all over Mexico including SMA’s new municipal Mayor Ricardo Villarreal and Fernando Olivera, Minister of Tourism for Guanajuato.

We felt right at home with Chef Bricio’s immediate and extended family which included partner and Chef Paco Roncero, SMA’s newest and only Michelin 2-star chef who is also executive chef and director of the NH Collection Casino de Madrid and its restaurant La Terraza del Casino; of gastro-bars Estado Puro in Madrid, Ibiza and Shanghai; of restaurant Barbarossa by Paco Roncero, also in Shanghai; of Versión Original by Paco Roncero in Bogota; of the gastronomic multi-space Sinergias in Platea Madrid and of Sublimotion, the world’s most ground-breaking (and most expensive) restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza.

So what does the old mansion look like after 7 months of work? It’s gorgeous and home to small rooms elegantly dressed in antiques with Mexican accents. The designs mix as well as the food.

Part of the charm of this restaurant is that everything has a very whimsical feel in the middle of its understated elegance. Chef Bricio Dominguez likes it that way. In fact, he grinned as he showed me the metal lunch buckets that the burgers are served in. Mine was a Hello Kitty.

They plan to change up the menu often. I sampled the Ceviche,Tempura Aspargus, Tortilla Soup with chicken and avocado and the Chicken Thighs with teriyaki and grilled watermelon. Portions are generous and can be classified as Spanish comfort food.
Burgers and Jazz will be a new feature starting in January. Look for a notice on Facebook when they start up.

Bricio also has an interest in Nextia and 13 Cielos where it’s all family business for SMA’s most celebrated chef foursome; Chef Bricio Domínguez along with sons Chef Alonso Domínguez and Chef Luis Pablo Dominguez and nephew Chef Pablo Domínguez. They all cooked together at a chefs table at the SMA Food Festival earlier this year.

La Canica is a great addition to a growing base of fine dining restaurants in San Miguel.

I especially love the feeling that I just took a flight and landed in the heart of Spain.

California Wine Tasting, Tuesday, December 1, Hotel Nena

The restaurant community in SMA is another interconnected group and we were lucky to get an invitation to the California wine tasting organized by the Mexican office of The California Wine Institute which focused on educating SMA restaurants on California wines, some previously not available in Mexico.
I always laugh when I think about what a pure and simple life I would have led if it weren’t for wine. When Jorge Alarcon L, a young entrepreneur who doesn’t look old enough to drink, made the statement that he can get me any wine I want, I knew I had hit gold. I’ve been dreaming about some of them since I moved to Mexico. Certainly Kendall Jackson was on the list…and there it was.
There were many different types of people at the tasting and that was one of the things that made it so interesting.
The brands represented are listed below and yes, we managed to sample almost every one of them:
Constellation/Bodegas La Negrita: Twin Oaks, Woodbridge, Robert Momdavi Private Selection; La Castellana: Chateau St Jean, Souverain, Stags’ Leap, Sutter Home, Kendall Jackson; Arggot del Vino: Hess Collection, Hess Select, Cartlidge and Browne, Gnarly Head; Cepas Antiguas: Red Diamond, Motto, 689; Gallo Winery/La Madrilena: Apothic Red, Carnivor, Ghost Pines, Mac Murray, Louis M Martini Napa Valley, Louis M Martini Sonoma County; Vinoteca: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Beringer; Vinos Wagner: Liberty School, Conundrum,Emmolo, Caymus; Viparmex: Schug, Leaping Horse
Following a tasting in the hotel courtyard with all of the wine vendors, we were led to the back of the hotel where a beautiful white tent was set up that looked straight out of Napa. Here we experienced seven additional wines with tasting notes from the vintner:

Barefoot Pink Bubbly: aromas of Mandarin orange and sweet jasmine mixed with subtle flavors of cherry, raspberry, and pomegranate.

Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009: Vanilla, honeysuckle and buttered toast notes that enhance the peach, pineapple, green appple, honeydew melon and mineral flavors of this Sauvignon Blanc.

Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2013: Low-oaked fruit; neat in lime, lemon, and green apple. Delicious and well-rounded, the wine delights a wide range of palates.  

Red Diamond California Pinot Noir 2012: Flavors of black cherries and red berries. A trace of spearmint compliments the flavors and ends with a crisp and long-lasting finish.

Souverain North Coast Merlot 2012: Dramatic aromas of boysenberry, vanilla, roasted coffee, and baking spices encounter elegant layers of plum and black cherry flavors. Smooth, rounded tannins; juicy and rich. The wine has an extended, flavorful finish and is full bodied.

Gnarly Head Lodi Zinfandel 2012: Blackberries on the nose with an intense, rich berry flavor that's just on the line of jam. Slight bit of toast and just a hint of spice. Rich, concentrated flavors. Long, enduring finish. 

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Central Coast Meritage 2011: Profound garnet black color with the aromas of dried berries and chocolate yogurt with a adaptable, dry and fruity medium body and nicely balanced cedar and nut highlight at the finish. A dead ringer for a top quality, red Bordeaux.

Another special treat was the advanced tasting of Dolcenero. Dolcenero, a chocolatier out of Mexico City, will be selling its remarkable candy in the old Casa Cohen when it opens up. Some say it will open in January and others say in the spring. Stay tuned.
Remember, if you can’t find a wine at Carnevino, Ancha de San Antonio #2, Jorge can get it for you. Impossible you say?
Don’t tell Jorge that because “IMPOSSIBLE” is not in the Alarcon L dictionary.