Friday, July 29, 2022

Barra Mexico

With over 15,000 attendees from 41 countries and 500 brands presented, we learned a thing or two about the spirits we consume at Barra Mexico, Without a doubt, one of the BEST Barra Mexico shows we’ve attended. It was laid out beautifully; easy to navigate, even with the crowd. It’s the most important fine drinking event in Latin America and one of the five most important in the world. The day was picture perfect and the turnout was even more spectacular. There were two main stages: June 16-19 was Cocktail Week and Villa Barra Mexico at Hacienda Los Picachos took place on June 18-19. For Cocktail Week, various activities took place in more than 30 hotels, restaurants, vineyards, bars and galleries around town. The restaurants in town did all of the food at Hacienda Los Picachos ; all of it vegetarian. Casa Dragones, along with one of their best, Adrian Garcia Evans, did a superb job; their booth was beautiful, complete with a pool and adjacent rooms for ongoing seminars. It was full from opening to close. The person in charge of placement wins the prize; there were blue boxes everywhere you looked, including at Aruma by Amatte Wellness Community, who also ruled the day with Mixologist Mike Espinosa and his head bartender Daniela. Aruma created the best drink of the show: Floating Grapes with a mix of Casa Dragones Blanco, Cardamomo con maracuya and Helado de champagne. We’re hoping, after the success of this show, it will be held in SMA again next year. If you happened to miss Barra Mexico, wander down to Aruma Skybar at the Amatte Wellness Community at Salida Real a Queretaro #168 and experience some of Mike Espinosa’s beautifully prepared cocktails. After climbing 71 steps to the top, enjoy the magnificent view and Hacman's restaurant, created by Valle de Guadalupe chef, Drew Deckman.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Sollano 18 by Vincente Asador De Brasa

Sollano 18 by Vincente Asador De Brasa is SMA’s newest restaurant, opening on June 11 in the house that Sofia built. The conversion is beautiful; the food, service and the view are impeccable. With seven restaurants either open or in progress, Vincente Asador De Brasa, is known for its grilled meats; the quality of the beef is silver from Canada and the Waygu is from Australia. A Tomahawk will set you back $3100 pesos. Don’t ever let the prices stop you from trying a new restaurant. My advice: get online and study the menu BEFORE you go. You’re likely to find a lot of items in your price range. Look for what are considered “house specialties”- in this case like the Short Rib Soup. I was after a soup and salad that day and what I got was an exceptional version of both. If I hadn’t ordered the biggest and best dessert on the menu, the White Chongos ice cream with Campechanas and caramel for $290 pesos (feeds 4-6 people or a hungry group of waiters), my bill would have been $135 pesos for the Short Rib Soup and $155 pesos for the Cesar Salad. Coincidentally, that’s the same price as the dessert/$14.50 USD. In reality, the portions are generous so split lunch with another food lover or bring the leftovers home and the cost of your lunch is now at $7.25 USD. Remember, anything under $10.00 USD is a bargain these days, especially when it’s from a top quality restaurant that serves high-quality food.
If you’re not sure what Campechanas are, read about them here. ( Thanks to Mexican food expert, Christina Potters, I got a lesson in Mexican cuisine. Food is my thing and typically, I learn something new every day. Over the course of 10 years, that’s a lot of knowledge accrued in a couple of hours each day.
I love soups and this Short Rib soup is now at the top of my list of favorites. It’s loaded with meat and the rest of the preparation - sherry, cilantro, onion, Serrano pepper, black sauce, lemon juice, pepper spices and other condiments are done tableside; unlike the Cesar Salad, which is prepared in the kitchen. Tucked under the Cesar Salad is a large slice of cheese chicharrón made in their Josper oven. Practically everything is made in-house, including the fresh Ranchero cheese topped with mushrooms and pumpkin flowers; a treat they give you at the start of the meal. The salsas are made from Serrano pepper with lemon juice and mayo; ashed Serrano with onion and garlic; Salsa macha with olive oil and a peanut sauce with tomato and dried chili. Chef Christian Maldonado received his degree in Gastronomy and Tourism from the Instituto Universitario del Estado de México and worked at the JW Marriot, Sonora Grill and 52-60 Open Kitchen Steakhouse before he came to Vincente Asador De Brasa.
Also on their menu are a lot of other inexpensive dishes - all under $210 pesos or $10.50 USD: Inverted Lasagna with Rib Eye Bolognese And Pomodoro sauce; Fried Rib Eye Skin; Watermelon And Passion Fruit Salad; Smoked Rib Eye Burger with Cheddar or Roquefort Cheese (pictured) ; Rib Eye or Bull’s Head Tacos; Vincente Potato baked in the Josper oven that looks a lot like the potatoes au gratin at Ruth Chris Steakhouse and Banana Cake served with black vanilla ice cream. They also have a go-to, healthy lunch of char grilled chicken and vegetables for $210.00 pesos. When was the last time you had food this good for $10 plus a tip? See, Vincente Asador De Brasa wasn’t so pricey after all. Sollano 18 by Vincente Asador De Brasa Sollano 18 San Miguel de Allende Centro Open: 1:00 PM Chef Christian Maldonado

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Millesime GNP Weekend

Both locals and vistors LOVED Millesime GNP Weekend, a unique culinary celebration that recently took place at The Rosewood, with other events at the Plaza de Toros, Bulla restaurant and Tene Latin Cuisine at Casa 1810 Parque Hotel Boutique. Millesime has been successful since it was created in 2007, as a concept to promote the best cuisine in the world. Unlike the previous editions, Millesime GNP Weekend was more social than corporate and was open to the public with thousands of people coming in from CDMX, Querétaro, Guanajuato , San Luis Potosí and Guadalajara in order to be part of the culinary experience. To tell you the truth, I never got tired of everyone telling me how great the food is in SMA and how much they love to come here, especially to eat. We especially loved the attention that was given to our local chefs: Marcela Bolano of Marsala, cocina con acentos; Abel Hernández of Restaurante The Rooftop at Selina, SMA; Irving Cano of Restaurante Trazo 1810 and Tene Latin Cuisine; Omar Alejandro Henríquez Martintz of Restaurant Áperi; Pedro Martin and Francisco Jose Jimenez (Kiko) of Restaurant Bulla, SMA; Vincent Wallez of the Rosewood and José (Paco) Francisco González of Restaurant Tarragón. Here are some of the faces of Millesime – the chefs, press, wineries and products that made Millesime a huge success this year. I am reminded once again that SMA needs a food festival. The last one we hosted was in 2017; way too long ago for a city whose culinary offerings are some of the best in Mexico.