Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Off The Beaten Path In Huatulco
The majority of the people who travel to Mexico go for the beaches. Little wonder when the beaches are as pristine as Huatulco's Playa Chahue - complete with the Playa Limpia certification for cleanliness. Still, a man's gotta eat. Not content with a diet of all-inclusive resort dining, Chef Rick Bayless takes us off the beaten path to find great food and even better beaches. You'll be well-advised to follow his lead and start the day at one the local's favorite restaurants, Sabor de Oaxaca, in La Crucecita. There, Rick enjoys Salsa de Huevo (omelets in salsa) before a quick trip to Puerto Escondido for an amazing lunch of wood-fired grilled fish on the Playa Principal. Rick paddle-boards on Playa Carrizalillo, another stunning beach in Puerto Escondido, to work up his appetite for Encamaronadas (crispy, cheesy shrimp tacos). Back in Huatulco Rick enjoys an uber-fresh seafood cocktail at Grillo Marinero before stopping for a nightcap at the Quinta Real Hotel to take in the beauty of it all.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Oaxaca's Live-Fire Cooking
Everything tastes better cooked over a wood or charcoal fire - at least that's the Oaxacan credo. From soup to barbacoa, burning embers influence the flavor of Oaxaca's food in just the right ways. For starters, Rick guides us through the "taco corridor" at the 20 de Noviembre market just off the main square in Oaxaca. We can almost taste the richly-burnished chiles and onions as they grill alongside super-thinly sliced beef and pork and robust chorizo sausages. Then we see hot rocks plucked from the glowing embers and dropped into hot soup for making caldo de piedra (stone soup), a specialty from the village of San Felipe Usila. La Capilla, a campestre (open air) restaurant, in the town of Zaachilla, has served lamb and goat barbacoa for more than 47 years. Rick's so enamored with the process of burying the chile-seasoned meat in glowing embers that he creates his own version on the backyard grill. Served with Oaxacan pasilla tomatillo salsa, there's meat, fire and smoke in every bite.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Mescal is having a real renaissance, both in Mexico and in fine cocktail emporiums all over the United States. Rick takes us on a journey to see how a small Oaxacan distiller hand-crafts this fine spirit renowned for its rich, smoky complexity and brightness. As with any great artisan product, there's always a great story. With Rick around, there's always great food, from hand-pressed memelas topped with a bright avocado salsa to vinegar-infused snacks. We learn to sip mescal with fresh oranges and sal de gusano - chile-spiked salt. At home, Rick guides us through a mescal tasting and a host of snacks for a do-it-yourself mescal cocktail party.