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.”


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.


Show 240, September 9, 2017: Chef Ivan Calderon, Taco Rosa’s “Battle of the Taquileros” Part One

Ivan CalderonTaco Rosa, Chef Ivan Calderon’s upscale Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach, will host Battle of the Tequileros on Mexican Independence Day, Saturday, September 16th from 1-5 p.m. Bringing together 26 different tequila and mezcal brands, the celebratory event will benefit Save our Youth (SOY), a local non-profit serving the at-risk youth of the Newport-Mesa area through arts, fitness, education, and scholarship programs. Chef Ivan is our guest.

Offering perhaps the most diverse tasting selection in all of Southern California, the event will give guests an unparalleled opportunity to experience the unique nuances between a variety of tequilas and mezcales. Guests can also enjoy tasty tray-passed tapas-style bites from the Taco Rosa kitchen, exciting giveaways, and live mariachi music. A panel of esteemed judges, as well as the participants, will vote on the winners of the following categories:

  • Best Cocktail
  • Best Blanco
  • Best Reposado
  • Best Añejo
  • Best Booth Presentation

“Now in our fifth year, Battle of the Tequileros has become more than a tequila festival. It has become a cultural experience that shines light on a hallmark of Mexican culture, while benefitting a cause that helps uplift our community’s youth,” commented Ivan Calderon, who has been an active supporter and board member of Save our Youth for the past 24 years.

Tickets for the 21-and-over event are priced at $75 and offer guests all-inclusive access to tequila and mezcal tastings. Tickets can be purchased by calling 949.720.0980 or online here:.

Taco Rosa is located at 2632 San Miguel Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660. For more information on Battle of the Tequileros, please visit here.


Show 197, November 12, 2016: Tequila Sommelier Audrey Formisano, Marriott Resort CasaMagna, Puerto Vallarta

Audrey FormisanoGenuine Tequila can only come from certain areas of Mexico and the State of Jalisco is famous for their blue agave which is the base for authentic Tequila. The accommodating Marriott Resort CasaMagna in Puerto Vallarta’s Marina zone has a resident Tequila Sommelier and a fascinating on-site Tequila program. We’ll meet her. Bring on the aged Anejo.

CasaMagna has their own, on-property agave garden. CasaMagna Tequila (only available there) is distilled in five styles including Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Extra Anejo and Anejo. It’s attractively packaged in a distinctive custom bottle. They also offer over 114 different varieties of Tequila from other producers at the resort for the guests’ sipping pleasure.

Audrey hosts highly-rated Tasting Classes that come enthusiastically recommended. These can be arranged on 24 hours notice at the guest’s convenience. The informative sessions include colorful commentary on the mythical origins of the drink as well as the modern state of the tequila industry.



Show 170, May 7, 2016: Proprietor / Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez, Panxa Cocina, Long Beach

Arthur GonzalezPanxa Cocina in Long Beach recently celebrated its year anniversary. It’s located in the former Christy’s space on E. Broadway. Chef Arthur Gonzalez (ex-ROE Restaurant) is the Executive Chef and Co-Owner. It’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-style cuisine with rich, bold flavors and a lot of imagination. Chef Art is with us for the menu highlights.

Panxa Cocina was born out of a lifetime of love for Latin cuisine and a desire to support locally sourced foods. Growing up in Cerritos, California, Chef Arthur Gonzalez helped his German mother and his Oaxacan grandmother prepare meals growing up.

Chef Gonzalez wanted to be a firefighter and started as a paid call firefighter at age 26, but due to a back injury, he discovered his passion for cooking in the firehouse kitchen. He then went on to Seal Beach restaurant, Spaghettini, as a dishwasher. This humble beginning for Chef gave him the opportunity to train in the kitchen. Two years after starting at Spaghettini, Chef Gonzalez was the pastry/sous chef at local legend Mahé before moving to New Mexico.

After working in several restaurants in New Mexico, Chef Gonzalez was introduced to James Beard award-winning Chef Eric Distefano of Coyote Café and Geronimo, who became his mentor. While working at Señor Lucky’s in Santa Fé, Chef Gonzalez met Vanessa Auclair, his current business partner here in California.

Vanessa and Chef came back to Southern California to work at McKenna’s On The Bay in Long Beach as Manager and Head Chef, respectively, with the goal of creating delicious, clean and simple food. Their success at McKenna’s led to the opening of seafood focused Roe on Second Street in Belmont Shore.

Deciding to try something new, Vanessa and Chef opened Panxa, inspired by their Southwestern roots, together creating a menu authentic to New Mexico and influenced by his family’s cooking throughout his childhood.

At Panxa, pronounced pan-zah (the Catalan word for belly), Chef Gonzalez has created a place for flavorful unique dishes, craft cocktails, wine, and an extensive tequila menu.


Show 169, April 30, 2016: El Chavo’s (Silver Lake) Cinco De Mayo Celebration

Matt LandesCinco de Mayo is pretty much a non-event in Mexico but it’s now a huge celebration in the United States. Might possibly have something to do with all the Mexican beer and tequila sold for the festivities.

One of the bigger Cinco de Mayo fiestas in Los Angeles will be staged at Silver Lake’s El Chavo on May 5th from 4:00 p.m. to close.

Lots of satisfying food and drink including Mezcal and Mexican cerveza. Look for the street tacos and corn.

Matt Landes from Cocktail Academy (one of the event organizers) is with us to provide all the festive details.


Show 143, October 24, 2015: Latin Twist – Traditional and Modern Cocktails

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Vianney RodriguezThe award-winning food bloggers from (Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack) and (Vianney Rodriguez) have teamed up to create Latin Twist – Traditional & Modern Cocktails, an all-new collection of Latin-American cocktails.

Yvette and Vianney are known for Mexican and Latin–fusion recipes made with easy-to-find ingredients. Their cocktails – featuring fresh-squeezed juices and homemade mixers – have been so popular that the authors decided to devote a whole book to them.

Latin Twist! is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of 18 Latin American countries and Spain in one volume. It delves into the history of each country’s special ingredients, wines and liquors, and includes traditional drinks as well as the authors’ original recipes.

There are also helpful chapters on “Setting the Bar” and using and creating the Mixers.

Whether you are hosting a backyard fiesta or just entertaining a few friends, there is a drink in this book for every occasion. Try a luscious Passion Fruit Caipirinha from Brazil, Chile’s fruity Borgona, or Argentina’s national drink, the deceptively simple Fernet con Cola.

There is a creative section on Mexico. Vianney and Yvette explain many other hidden creations using Tequila other than in a Margarita. Have you considered Serrano-Infused Tequila?

Yvette and Vianney are our guests.



Show 88, September 13, 2014: Taste of Mexico

Bricia LopezBricia Lopez (Guelaguetza) is the dynamic face of contemporary Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles. She is one of the organizers of the upcoming Taste of Mexico.

The 4th Annual Taste of Mexico is on tap for Saturday, September 27th with an afternoon Farmers Market Picnic and later evening Dinner, Music, Tequila and Mezcal affair. The location is the Plaza de Culturas y Artes in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s billed as LA’s most anticipated Mexican food festival of the year. It’s a chance for L.A’s diversity of fine Mexican restaurants to shine.

The always delightful Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza is with us with a preview.


Show 80, July 19, 2014: Tomas Estes, Mexico’s Tequila Ambassador to Europe

Tomas EstesThe Museum of the American Cocktail is hosting one of their special “Touring the Cocktail” evenings at Guelaguetza Restaurante on July 23rd. It’s a tequila appreciation evening with Oaxacan food tastes. Tomas Estes, Mexico’s official Tequila Ambassador to Europe has the details for us. He is also the author of The Tequila Ambassador.

Tomas Estes, London resident, native Angeleno, acclaimed restaurateur, and Mexico’s “Official Tequila Ambassador to Europe,” issues participants a passport to the world of tequila and takes them on a behind-the-scenes tour of agave spirits. Josh Goldman, Co-Founder of Soigné Group, a portfolio of 12 Los Angeles-area craft cocktail bars and restaurants, executes a drink menu that demonstrates tequila’s range and versatility.

A sampling of savory specialties from the authentic Oaxacan kitchen of Koreatown’s Restaurante Guelaguetza are included in the price of admission. Come taste why Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold says “Guelaguetza is the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.”

Tickets are $45 in advance, $40 for MOTAC/SoFAB and USBG Members, and $50 at the door.


Show 74, May 31, 2014: Bill Esparza, “The Street Gourmet” & Curator for Tacolandia

Bill EsparzaThe 2nd Annual Tacolandia (“Where All Your Taco Dreams Come True”) is coming up June 28th at El Pueblo De Los Angeles. The hours are 3 to 7:00 p.m.

The Taco in Chief, Bill Esparza (a.k.a. “The Street Gourmet,”) serves it up.

It’s 40 plus taco vendors, the Tequila Tasting Experience, and live Mariachi entertainment.