Many visitors make the easy flight to Puerto Vallarta for its sprawling, uncrowded beaches, virtually guaranteed sunshine, fabulous snorkeling, jungle adventures, colorful festivals, and historic old town. As lowbrow as it is to admit, I was there strictly for the food-glorious food! The cuisine here is off the hook, be it a simple taco from a generations old food cart to an award-winning, haute cuisine dinner.
Home base for my culinary explorations was the delightfully understated, luxury hotel, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. With its peachy secluded beachside location, just a mile from the airport, you can be sipping a passion fruit margarita while watching Benjamin’s Sunset Guacamole Experience (offered Tuesday and Friday evening) just minutes after landing.
Here is a recap of my two perfect food days, an easy-peasy one where you never have to leave the hotel and one exploring further afield.
First off, CasaMagna is not one of those all-inclusive, quantity over quality hotels. Instead the resort offers a handful of carefully curated restaurants which run the gamut from pristine ceviche and fresh-caught, grilled seafood (shout out for the lobster tacos) served at the romantic, beachfront Las Casitas, some excellent sushi, tempura or Teppan-Yaki at the sophisticated Mikado, or if your in the mood for something casual, head to the lively Champions sports bar to tackle a tower of sliders and wings. Jump start your day at La Estancia’s bountiful brekkie buffet which features traditional Mexican favorites such as sun-dried beef, chilaquiles, steaming menudo and a array of homemade Mexican pastries. If you smile sweetly, the tortilla cook will pat you up a fresh pair filled with huitlacoche, a local delicacy aka “corn smut” or Mexican truffle.
No matter which eatery you choose, you’ll be served only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients with a large side of the friendliest service imaginable.
Case in point, at the breakfast buffet one morning I saw a guest call over Reyna, her server, to show her the latest photos of her new grandchild, and afterwards, they hugged like they were total besties. The next morning I sat in Reyna’s station and I swear she took care of me like she was my long-lost Abuela (grandmother). When I asked her if I could have milk instead of cream for my coffee, she brought me 3 mini-pitchers filled with low-fat milk, skim milk and even a lactose-intolerant choice.
If you enjoyed Benjamin’s cooking demo, you’re really going to love one of Chef Fred Ruiz’s in-depth cooking classes, or at the very least, Chef Fred, a charming, handsome chef who started working for Marriott as a storeroom clerk at Rancho Las Palmas in 1981. His extraordinary culinary skills did not escape Marriott’s notice and he quickly rose through the ranks, constantly searching for innovative ways (more about this later) to ensure that each guest has a memorable experience at the hotel. One of his many achievements is that he has cooked for Presidents Nixon, Ford and Regan. So far, not for President Trump!
Read the rest at Honest Cooking.
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