Show 256, January 13, 2018: Conner Watts, Founder, Los Muertos Brewery, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Conner WattsSurprisingly craft beer is still a bit of a novelty in Mexico due to some odd distribution regulations. Fortunately (due to very hard work among dedicated & patient beer aficionados) these archaic regulations have been relaxed in the last few years and local craft beers can now reach restaurants and bars. In Sunny Puerto Vallarta the first craft brewery and brewpub to gain traction is the growing Los Muertos Brewery.

“For years during the proliferation of tourism in Mexican beach destinations like Puerto Vallarta the beer scene was completely dominated by smooth drinking Mexican lagers. As demonstrated by every Corona commercial ever this is great for sitting on a beach. To this day many tourists think of a “local” Mexican beers as Corona, Pacifico, or Dos Equis XX. But as a growing number of beer drinkers are pushing craft tastes into the mainstream these standard macro beers definitely leave many connoisseurs wanting more. Upon relocating full time to Puerto Vallarta, the founders of Los Muertos could not have agreed more. Driven by the thirst for flavorful varieties of beer, bringing Vallarta its first craft brewery became their dream.”

Los Muertos Brewery has become a popular destination for locals, visitors from other parts of Mexico, South America and the US, as well as American ex-pats now living in Vallarta.

Expansion is on the way. A new building a few doors away from the existing brewery restaurant has been secured. It will be expanded brewing capacity alongside a different food concept. Stay tuned…

We’ll enjoy a cold one with founder & restaurateur Conner Watts.

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Show 255, January 6, 2018: 5th Ceviche and Aguachile Festival, Producer Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Edgar CisnerosIt’s the beginning of another year of appealing food & beverage festivals in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Upcoming is the 5th edition of the ever-popular Ceviche and Aguachile Festival on Sunday afternoon, January 28th.

Puerto Vallarta remains a gastronomic destination with an intriguing variety of high-quality food and libation events held every year that delight both visitors and locals. 2018 starts with the flavors of the sea with the 5th edition of the Festival of Ceviche and Aguachile. Guests can sample more than 30 varieties of exquisite ceviches and aguachiles. Expect a boatload of fresh seafood including marlin, fresh shrimp, tuna, octopus and stingray. Also, Raicilla-based cocktails and local craft beers will be available to purchase.

Think of Aguachile as the chili-spiked version of Mexican ceviche.

The date is Sunday, January 28th from 12 Noon to 7:00 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta’s Lazaro Cardenas Park. Tastes range from a reasonable 15 to 40 pesos per item.

Festival Producer Edgar Cisneros has the tempting preview.

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Show 254, December 30, 2017: Raicilla Expert & Festival Producer, Edgar Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Edgar CisnerosIn the holiday spirit we’re journeying back to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. The area is the home of the potent, distilled Racilla from the green agave plant, a distant cousin of the better-known Tequila. Raicilla is the local spirit of Puerto Vallarta and is prepared nearby in the towns of San Sebastian del Oeste and El Tuito.

It’s a slow process as the nine varieties of local Agave that Raicilla can be made from take some nine to twelve years to mature. Then the distilled Raicilla needs more time to age in oak barrels.

Tequila and Raicilla tastings can be done at most restaurants and haciendas around Puerto Vallarta.

Raicilla types :

  • Blanco: when it hasn’t been kept in oak barrels
  • Joven (Young): less than one year in oak barrels.
  • Reposado: Between 1 and 2 years in oak barrels
  • Añejo: More than 2 years in oak barrels.

Raicilla expert Edgar Cisneros is our well-informed guide. He organizes regular Raicilla tasting in greater Puerto Vallarta as well as the upcoming DamaJuana Raicilla Festival in Puerto Vallarta on March 16th & 17th.

For info on Edgar’s upcoming Raicilla Tastings Google “Alma de Agave, Puerto Vallarta.”

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Show 250, December 2, 2017: Chef Fred Ruiz, Director of Operations for Kitchens & Restaurants, Puerto Vallarta Marriott Resort & Spa

Fred RuizChef Fred Ruiz is the Director of Operations for Kitchens & Restaurants at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. He joined the resort 12-years ago as Executive Chef. He’s received the prestigious Culinary Excellence Award from Marriott International three times!

Recently launched is the Ceviche and Tequila Bar with an unrivaled ocean view offering more than 180 different tequilas, 12 kinds of draft beer, exclusive house-created recipe cocktails and a great variety of ceviches. Los Muertos Brewery in Puerto Vallarta is one of the rising stars of the local craft beer scene and four of their styles are now available on tap at the Ceviche & Tequila Bar.

Unusually the skilled ceviche chefs prepare their dishes on the side of the bar in full view of all guests. An already successful goal of Chef Fred’s is to bring the kitchen into the dining room to enhance the guest experience.

Las Casitas at The Marriott with guest chef Aldo Tirado was part of the nightly Gourmet Dine Around of the Festival Gourmet International with Pacific Flavor Journey.

“Las Casitas showcases delectable al fresco dining, poolside and beachside service. Feast on lobster tacos and tropical drinks as you gaze out at Banderas Bay. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

We’ll meet Chef Ruiz.

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Show 248, November 18, 2017: Elsa Perez, Director of Sales & Marketing, Puerto Vallarta Marriott Resort Marriott

Elsa PerezWe’re live from the Puerto Vallarta Marriott Resort and Spa located on a wide sandy beach in sunny Puerto Vallarta. We’re the guests of the Puerto Vallarta Marriott Resort and Visit Puerto Vallarta to celebrate the 23rd Annual Festival Gourmet International.

A renovation has just been completed here tastefully remodeling the front entrance, check-in area and adding the already popular Ceviche & Tequila Bar with a full ocean view. Blue agave plants (the source of genuine Tequila) festively adorn the outside entrance walk. This is a beautiful, family-friendly resort with every amenity you can imagine.

“Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa welcomes guests with an impeccable location and relaxed luxury, delivering the perfect setting for everything from romantic getaways to family vacations. We’re ranked as one of the top 10 Pacific Riviera hotels by Condé Nast Traveler, with gorgeously appointed accommodations and a range of thoughtful amenities designed to make your stay special. Relax in your spacious room, with its private balcony and marble bathroom, or dine at one of our excellent restaurants. Pamper yourself with a visit to our tranquil hotel spa; we also offer an indoor and outdoor pool and the popular Kids Club.”

“Those planning events here in the Marina Vallarta area will be thrilled with our versatile venues, which include several one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces. And if you venture beyond the hotel, you’ll find everything from shopping and entertainment to golf and golden beaches just moments away. Create lasting memories here with us at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa.”

Our guest is Elsa Perez, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Puerto Vallarta Marriott Resort & Spa.

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Show 248, November 18, 2017: Javier Aranda Pedrero, Director General, Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board

Javier Aranda PedreroTourism is ingrained in Puerto Vallarta’s rich history, local culture, economy and development since the late 18th century. The people of Vallarta have been working in the hospitality industry for over 150 years. The City has entire generations who have depended on the travel industry.

Puerto Vallarta continues to attract a wide range of travelers with different interests and is renowned to be a safe, relaxed year-round destination where visitors know they will find friendly and attentive service and great value for money.

Today Puerto Vallarta receives well over 4 million annual visitors; many of which are repeat travelers. Last year tourism generated over $860 million US dollars in the local economy. Over 50% of Puerto Vallarta’s workforce is employed in tourism-related industries including accommodations, dining establishments, tour operation, and transportation. Local residents understand the value of tourism and are highly respectful of the opportunity it represents for them and the local community. They know that a safe, happy and satisfied visitor means a return visitor.

Our guest is Javier Aranda Pedrero, The General Director of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board.

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Show 248, November 18, 2017: Chef Thierry Blouet, Café des Artistes, Co-Founder – Festival Gourmet International

“LOVE AND PASSION – THE SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE GOOD!”

Thierry Blouet2017 marks twenty-three years of the Festival Gourmet International in Puerto Vallarta featuring the talent and creations of over 30 chefs. In 1995 Chefs Thierry Blouet and Heinz Reize (joined later by Chef Roland Menetrey) came up with the idea of ​​promoting and raising up the culinary level of this region to competitive international standards, interacting with new methods and creativity of highly qualified Chefs from around the globe. Over 500,000 gourmet food fans have attended over the years along with close to 600 participating celebrity chefs.

The goal of this 10-day, great party is to strengthen the gastronomy of Puerto Vallarta as an exemplary showcase and to promote the destination through the excellence of the good table.

It’s a full schedule of culinary activities including chef tastings events, culinary safaris, seasonal tastings and themed nights offering distinct dishes from cities from around the world. Distinguished restaurants from Puerto Vallarta’s different zones will be participating.

In addition to all the special events every night of the 9-day Festival is the Gourmet Dine Around.” Nightly each of the 27 participating Puerto Vallarta restaurants and hotels serve a special menu offering creations and delicacies crafted by their respective guest chef.

Chef Thierry joins us.

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Show 248, November 18, 2017: Chef Nacho Cadena, La Leche, Puerto Vallarta

Nacho CadenaChef Nacho Cadena is the proprietor of Puerto Vallarta’s celebrated La Leche restaurant and also a goodwill ambassador for Puerto Vallarta.

“We like to reinterpret the culinary tradition irreverently, making the most of local products to reinvent the menu every day, making La Leche a fun, delicious and extraordinary space to live together.”

“Each one of us has a certain essence that makes this kitchen something special and unique. Our bases: surprise, contrast, difference, fun and exquisiteness.”

“With a unique, minimalist and forceful style, the interior design proposes a monochromatic atmosphere where each diner awakens their senses by interacting with stimulating plates in a space conceived as a canvas, which will be intervened by the cuisine of Chef Alfonso Cadena (Chef Nacho’s son) and his dear visitors.”

Chef Nacho Cadena, the patriarch of Le Leche, is our guest.

 

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Show 248, November 18, 2017: Lindsay Prime, Founder, Vallarta Food Tours

Lindsay PrimeOne of the best ways for a first-time visitor to understand and appreciate the cuisine of a city is to explore the area on a local food tour. The premier operator in Puerto Vallarta is Vallarta Food Tours.

Vallarta Food Tour’s mission is to help visitors and residents alike enjoy the best that Vallarta has to offer by highlighting off-the-beaten path, “non-touristy” food and drinks along with a local insight of its treasures. Our love of Puerto Vallarta and Mexican culture inspired us to create the city’s finest culinary tour. We sampled the perfect mole, sipped on succulent tuba water and tasted fresh coconut from arguably the best coconut vendor in the country.”

Vallarta Food Tours’ Co-Founder Lindsay Prime is our tour guide.

“My husband (Paul Mayer) and I started the food tour after realizing a need for connecting people to some of the local, off the beaten path eateries in Vallarta. Mexico has some of the best food in the world. Such great history and culture associated with it. Many people come and want to try local food, but are unsure where to start. We are able to showcase in about 3 hours a great feel for Puerto Vallarta through walking the streets, showcasing some interesting tidbits, and eating amazing local food. Our guests leave feeling much more connected to Vallarta, ready to continue exploring on their own. It’s very rewarding for us, as we are not only having fun showing off our town, our delicious food, and creating more fans, we are supporting small local businesses.”

 

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Show 246, November 4, 2017: Show Preview with Co-Host Andy Harris

Now an enticing preview of Saturday’s mouthwatering show. It’s not, with profuse apologies, for dieters. If we’re successful we will always leave you incredibly hungry and thirsty. In our case, upon careful reflection, that’s probably a pretty good thing…

Earlier in the year we introduced you to the pride of southern BBQ, the Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta. The youthful owner/ chefs are Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee. They are featured in the “Smokehouse Stories and Recipes” section of Matt Moore’s The South’s Best Butts – Pitmaster Secrets for Southern Barbecue Perfection.

Executive Producer Andy Harris recently made the pilgrimage to Heirloom. It was as good as Matt promised and an experience. Chefs Cody and Jiyeon are our guests.

Executive Producer Andy Harris was in Roswell, GA (an incorporated City of 95,000 in the greater Atlanta area with a lot of living Civil War history) in early October with fellow members of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA.) In this show we continue our coverage of the best of Roswell with a chat with Chris Nelson, the new Executive Director of the 120,000 member Chattahoochee Nature Center.

The much-honored Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim was the recipient this year of The Golden Foodie Award for the Best Entrée in Orange County. That is Executive Chef Michael Rossi’s signature Cowboy Ribeye. That’s a 58oz. bone-in rib chop with Grafton Farms white cheddar scalloped potatoes and Sauce Bordelaise. Oh yea…We’ll get Chef Michael out of the kitchen to chat about the extraordinary project that is The Ranch Restaurant.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream is a family-run, chef-driven ice cream company with kitchens and scoop shops in Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles that partners with local artisans, producers and farmers to serve unusually creative and absolutely delicious ice cream. Co-Founder and Head Ice Cream Maker Tyler Malek is our guest.

2017 marks twenty-three years of the Festival Gourmet International in Puerto Vallarta. In 1995 Chefs Thierry Blouet and Heinz Reize came up with the idea of ​​promoting and elevating the culinary level of this region to competitive international standards, interacting with new methods and the creativity of highly qualified Chefs from around the globe. The goal of this 10-day, great party was to strengthen the gastronomy of Puerto Vallarta as an exemplary showcase and to promote the destination through the excellence of the good table. Chef Thierry Blouet joins us from his sister Café des Artistes in Los Cabos.

Raise a Glass For Wine Country Benefit

Long Beach’s Chianina Steakhouse and Michael’s On Naples Ristorante are joining together the evening of Wednesday, November 15th to raise money to support the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. The only expense deduction from the $175 ticket price is for the servers’ gratuity. All other monies are being donated so you know your dollars are really going to support the relief effort! For Tickets to this event, you can order here or also from here.

Bocuse d’Or Team USA Update

Team USA wins Hold at the 2017 Bocuse D'orEarlier in the year in Lyon, France Team USA led by Chef Mathew Peters earned the Gold statue in the prestigious, biannual Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition. It was a proud first for USA in the long history of the Bocuse d’Or.

In Las Vegas on Thursday, November 9th at The Palazzo Ballroom at the Palazzo & Venetian Resorts in Las Vegas 3 chefs will compete for the right to represent Team USA 2019 in Lyon. It’s an all-day event and spectator tickets are available. The day before in Las Vegas is the 2017 Ment’or Young Chef & Commis Competitions. Also a fun spectator event.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness on this week’s show!

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