Posts Tagged ‘tacos’

Mexican Food in GIFs: Dining at Las Alamandas Jalisco, Mexico

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The shrimp tacos became a daily must have at Las Alamandas

My recent trip to Mexico involved my first visit to Jalisco’s Costalegre, where my husband and I stayed at Las Alamandas. We’re both fans of good Mexican food and arrived hungry and ready to eat a late lunch at La Palapa Beach Club.

Shrimp Tacos

 Shrimp tacos GIF

We were quickly served our first round of excellent (and inexpensive) margaritas and were very surprised when we saw the menu and found very little Mexican food on it. Instead selections included dishes like Asian shrimp and pasta. Who comes to Mexico to eat Asian shrimp? We asked our waiter to speak to the chef and Head Chef Alejandro Morales quickly arrived to chat with us.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho GIF 

Chef Alex (as he’s called) was very friendly and had no problem letting us order off the menu. He prepared chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, and guacamole for us. He even honored my request for no raw onions and the dishes were all muy delicioso. We continued to order off the menu for the rest of the trip, and Chef Alex had no problem serving whatever we asked for.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros with green tomato salsa GIF

The breakfast menu featured many more Mexican specialities– eggs a la Mexicana, Eggs Machacha with dried beef, onion and poblano chile. Chilaquiles were on the menu as well as what became our go-to favorite, the Huevos Rancheros, served with either red salsa or green. The green salsa was outstanding and Chef Alex remembered our preferences.

Fresh Fruit

Tropical fruit platter with Mexican lime GIF

The breakfast menu also had a host of other non-Mexican options, including organic oatmeal, muesli with coconut milk, French toast, pancakes and waffles.

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Coffee con leche with a hammock at La Palapa Beach club

The coffee was tasty and the views of the pacific from La Palapa were a great way to start the day. The space is beautiful and also includes a lovely hammock should you wish to hang out while you’re digesting.

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Top notch margaritas for $6 US at Las Alamandas

I don’t think the menu at Las Alamandas would work for serious foodies who are looking to explore the vibrant and happening Mexican food scene. Chef Alex had no problem accommodating all our requests, which is great since the resort is so private and isolated that there are not a lot of other options for dining nearby.

Las Alamandas Resort
Carretera Federal 200 km 83.5
Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico

Toll Free US: 1888 882 9616
Toll Free Mexico: 1800 8366640
Tel 52 322 285 5500

info@alamandas.com

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Where to Eat in Punta Mita, Mexico: The Mita Mary

Warning: lobster tacos can be addictive

Who needs food trucks when you can eat at boat restaurant… right on the beach?

Carl Emberson, the General Manager of the St. Regis Punta Mita is a serious foodie. He imported his favorite empanada recipe from a hotel in Argentina and organizes food & wine festivals. He’s also very, very creative and always wants his guests to have something new to experience.

The Mita Mary

Since the St. Regis is surround by beach (and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course), there are no roads for food trucks. The solution is the Mita Mary, a repurposed boat turned pop up restaurant right on the sand.

Guacamole and a margarita in Mexico’s answer to a Mason jar

The vibe is of-the-moment yet laid back. You can plant your toes in the sand while ordering your fresh seafood grilled or transformed into tacos and other tasty bites. While I initially fell for the shrimp tacos, the lobster tacos, delicately laced with the right amount of spice quickly became a favorite.

Behold: shrimp taco perfection.

The margaritas are great and the juicy Mexican limes elevate your bottle of Pacifico Cerveza and take the whole meal next level. Señor Emberson sure one upped the World’s Most Interesting Man with this shipwreck bistro thing.

Spectacular sunset views at the Mita Mary

The Mita Mary has two dinner seatings. Book the earlier one if you want a prime location for stunning sunset views.

Fairy lights and great service make the Mita Mary both casual and romantic

Fairy lights strung from palm trees add to the atmosphere after dark.

The octopus tacos weren’t bad either

Even if you’re not staying at the St. Regis, book a table for top notch service and a memorable meal. Tables are limited, and reservations are highly advised.

Live musicians at the Mita Mary

Mita Mary Boat Bistro at St.Regis Punta Mita Resort

Punta De Mita, Nayarit, Mexico

+52 329 291 5800

Disclosure: I was treated to my first meal at the Mita Mary. But it was so good I came back three more times on my own pesos.

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Where to Eat in Wailea: Morimoto Maui

Hamachi tacos at Morimoto Maui

If you’re looking for a great restaurant in Wailea, I highly recommend checking out Morimoto Maui located at the Andaz Maui Resort. This Hawaiian outpost of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s eponymous restaurant is great for advanced foodies and sushi novices alike.

Left: Ishi Yaka Buri Bop Right: Ramen soup (Morimoto chicken soup)

Morimoto Maui’s menu had so many dishes that I wanted to try, that I ate at this restaurant four times during my recent trip. I also craved it as soon as I left.

Sushi and pickled ginger at Morimoto Maui

The menu focuses on a mix of Western and Japanese dishes, using the freshest local Hawaiian ingredients. The whole vibe is upscale yet casual, and the setting is modern, laid back and Aloha chic.

Patio at Morimoto Maui

The restaurant is has a small outdoor bar, a covered outdoor patio, sushi bar, and indoor seating options.

Tempura calamari salad served with quinoa and white miso dressing ($19)

Morimoto Maui is a great choice for foodies and beach bums alike– the vibe is mellow and you can totally cruise in for lunch in your cover-up and flip flops.

Ishi yaki buri bop: yellowtail on rice bowl prepared table side in a hot stone bowl ($30)

Open for both lunch and dinner, Morimoto Maui has innovative and classic dishes. I loved the hamachi tacos made with yellowtail, avocado, and creamy nuoc cham ($16) so much I ordered them every visit. Despite the hot and humid tropical environment, the ramen soup with chicken ($16) is also a standout and big enough to share. I noticed it on a lot of tables.

The yellowtail on rice after being prepared tableside

Sushi and sashimi is top notch. The Ishi Yaki Buri Bop ($39)– a rice bowl made with yellowtail cooked at your table in a hot stone bowl was inspired, delicious and satisfying. It’s also fun to order.

Sunset Yuzu Drop ($15) cocktail at Morimoto Maui

The restaurant has an inspired and witty cocktail list (Mai Chai or Sibiscus Hazerac, anyone?) as well as an extensive list of sakes and wines.

Morimoto Maui’s Aloha Chic Bar

The service is as impressive as the food. I’d suggest making a reservation if you’re planning on coming for dinner, particularly if you have a seating preference. Reservations can be booked through the restaurant or via Opentable.

Morimoto Maui

3550 Wailea Alanui Drive

Wailea, Hawaii 96753

808 573 1234

Hours:

Lunch: 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM, daily

Dinner: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

 

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Guest Post: Turks & Caicos: A Trip Report (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: My friend, Brian, is an interior designer and serious foodie. He recently celebrated his anniversary with a trip to Turks & Caicos. It’s an island I’ve been been curious about and I found myself drooling over the photos in his Instagram feed, so I asked Brian to write a guest post for my blog. Below is the first of two parts of his trip report. – Jen

We booked this trip on Jetsetter, and with great rates in comparison to other Hotels. Naturally wanting an ocean view, we made sure to book “ocean view suite”. The resort we stayed at was The Sands at Grace Bay, in the north eastern part of the island called Grace Bay, one of the “worlds top beach areas.” We’d never been before, but we read about the best lobster and conch and seafood you could imagine, all while soaking in the best weather with the most unrealistic blue water.

Coming from the mainland US, it is only 80 miles from Miami. Coming from LA, we  had a longer flight. We chose to take a Saturday night redeye, in plans to sleep and arrive fresh on a new day in T&C. I wouldn’t recommend a redeye. Leaving LA at 11pm, we arrived in Charlotte NC at 6:30am, with a 3 hour layover.

First- you can’t easily sleep on a plane. then with the time difference, and 3 hours waiting in the airport- you are extremely tired. Good thing is, the airport is completely empty- not a soul except for the breakfast places. Once we boarded, we were off to paradise. Upon landing and looking out the window, it was more astonishing than the pictures online. The water was the most obscene mix of blue and green I had ever seen. The fun part about the smaller island getaway, is deplaning on stairs on the tarmac- its very “vintage flying”.

However, make sure you check your bags, or travel light- because going down those stairs with suitcases and duffles is not fun! Upon entering the tiny airport, you must wait through customs, and once thru, pick up your luggage, and go through another line past inspection. Finally, when arriving at Taxi area, you are in for an awakening. Taxi zone is literally rows of shuttle vans, and a makeshift tent; and its in the middle of what looks like a quarry. Rocks and dust galore, without the ocean breeze, you’d forget you were on a tropical island. Once we got in our van, we were on our way- about 15 min to the resort.

The Sands at Grace Bay is charming, in the truth is that its not brand new, and is slightly dated (mid 90s?). The small lobby is met with the most friendly staff offering a rum welcome drink- making up for any jet lag you may be experiencing. We had arrived early, and our room wasn’t ready. We changed in the lobby bathroom (literally a single person toilet, sink, and pocket door.) so we could enjoy the beach for a while.  You have to remember- we are in the British West Indies, where local economy is not the best, and solely driven by tourism. (we were told 45 min for room, we arrived at an hour later, then waited an additional 30 min- the jet lag wasn’t helping). Other than that, The concierge and front desk girls were extremely helpful with all aspects of our trip, from offering reservations to restaurants, to providing drivers; they were extremely helpful.

We enjoyed the beach front property- just a row of thatched umbrella stands as far as the eye could see, on pristine white sand. The water was heaven. What we also noticed, was that there were not very many people. Which is great- I’d rather have a slightly empty resort all to ourselves, than a busy one with no available lounges, crowded pool area, screaming children, etc. What we realized was the beginning of their off-season. Spring break had just ended, so most people had already come and gone. The few groups we met and talked with were there for a small destination wedding, or honeymoons. We only saw 2 other families with children the entire time.

When getting to our room, we saw that it was towards the back of the property- not promising when we had asked for ocean view. Once inside, we found that our bed and screened in large balcony had a straight on view of the grounds and ocean beyond. No complaints. Our suite had a kitchen area with sink, fridge, glassware, stemware, a living area, and the best part- a washer dryer in a closet in the bathroom. For that, we could forgive the laid back 90s design (it would prove handy later when packing to leave, and having clean clothes).

Staff was always charming, full of help and acknowledgments. Everyone said Good morning, and hello, down to the maintenance. Its definitely appreciated when you’re a guest and feel good about it. We used the concierge several times; for dinner recommendations and reservations, as well as booking activities or scheduling taxi service.

One god thing to do is pick up a few of the local magazines, provided in your rooms. The dining and activities list is key in planning your days and nights. We mapped out or dinners, (as that was the most important)! We were there for 5 days, so we wanted to try a variety of things the island had to offer.

Almost everything is fish, conch and lobster. HOWEVER- we had gone when lobster season was over. YES, that is correct! No lobster for us, and every brochure spoke of lobster. Apparently, lobster is only from Dec- April 1, and we were at the end of April. So as much as I was disappointed, there was a joy in knowing that none was serving “flown-in” or “frozen lobster”- that all the restaurants prided themselves on providing only the freshest seafood, caught locally.

The first night we wanted to try a “locals” spot, Mr Grouper’s, known for some of the best food. The place was a 10 min walk outside the hotel grounds. When leaving the grounds on foot, you must realize that there are no signs. There are two ways to go- into town, or the opposite direction, to the locals side. That’s were we went. There are barely any street lights. The cars drive on the opposite side of the road, and you realize that you are not in the safety of an American sidewalk. Nothing but open fields, weeds, dirt, and dilapidated buildings, like an abandoned town. We got lost and asked a nearby motel for directions. We had gone down the wrong street, but finally found it. We would have google- mapped it, however- you must remember there is no service on the island once you leave a wifi hotel room.

Mr Grouper’s is basically a shack in the middle of nowhere, with plastic chairs and little tables outside the perimeter. It reminded me of something you’d find in backwater Florida- candles, neon rope lights, Caribbean music. We ended up sitting next to wedding group we had met earlier, and also a family with 2 kids. The family was leaving and said it was the best meal they had on their trip, at half the price anywhere else. The wedding group had been there before, and said they were returning because they loved it. The service is on “island time”, meaning everyone moves at a much slower pace. Because of this, the owner/manager noticed, and brought us conch cevice as an apology. It was delicious. We ordered the grouper, and the seafood pasta. Both were fantastic, probably the best fish I have ever had. The pasta was by far such an amazing flavor, that we joked we might need to order another one to go on our last day, to bring on the plane with us. Yes, it was that good. The dessert you can pass on, not their specialty. But this is one place you must try. Forget that you’re not in some upscale eatery- this is for foodie lovers! If you want true authentic island for, made by the locals- this is the place to go. And remember one thing abut eating outdoors at night- mosquitos. That evening I ended up with 12 bites on my legs. (I then discovered that all restaurants provide mosquito spray at the front desk, or if sitting outside, will bring it to you at the table).

Next morning we asked the front desk for a coffee or smooth place, and was recommended a place in town. This was a easy walk, about 7 minutes. The town is literally one road with shops on both sides, and restaurants sprinkled throughout. Very cute, and very quaint, it makes you realize how much of an island getaway trip you really are on.

The place we went to was called Lemon2go, and its both a small florist shop and coffee/smoothie shop. The have scones, and cookies, sandwiches and salads, wine and juices to pick up if you want to have something for the day. We got both a mocha and a “green smoothie”- which we ended up going back for EVERY single morning the rest of our trip. I highly recommend the green smoothie- a mix of greens, avocado, ginger, cucumber, kale (very US)- it was perfect as a substantial way to start the day, plus a way to recover from daily rum punch drinking. They even offer to add protein powder, for all the guys wanting to stay in shape or health conscious. The same guy helped us every morning, and was really friendly, and a pleasure to see.

Lunch was spent everyday at the same place: Hemingway’s Beach Restaurant, at our hotel. We tried it the first day, and were hooked. Not only is it conveniently at the edge of the beach and hotel, but it is open to anyone looking for a lunch escape while on the water. The convenience of leaving out tiki hut umbrella, walking 10 yards through the sand, and ending up at a friendly place was all we needed. There is both outdoor and shaded areas to sit, and the staff is extremely friendly. I had to try the fried conch ( very similar to calamari), and although very good, was also a huge portion served in a conch shell. It literally put me to sleep after.

Every other day we got the same thing- Grouper tacos. Grilled, mango salsa, and large portions. They were so good, we didn’t want to order anything else. You can choose a salad or their special fries- go for the fries a couple times. They are so good- they had added some sort of spice seasoning to them that made them addicting. To keep it consistent, we ordered the same thing that we did at the beach – “rum punch”.  By then end of our trip, the server girls and us were practically friends, and they playfully fought over who’d get to wait on us. The last 2 days, they gave us an extra free rum punch each- just as their way of thanking us for being loyal, and because we enjoyed their hospitality. A couple things to know about tipping- tax and 12% gratuity are already included with every bill- so we’d always add a bit more to let them know we appreciated them. Also, Hemingway’s has its own wifi- perfect for being able to upload your beach photos to make all your friends back home jealous (and to see how the rest of the world is coping).

Second nights dinner was at Coco Bistro, pretty much centrally located in town. It was recommended that we get reservations, and to take a taxi. The taxi ride was $12, and we went just a few walking minutes past our daily coffee spot. Hence, no need for taxi if you’re doing anything in town of Grace Bay. This place was a nice indoor/outdoor feel, lights in the trees; but to be honest, I don’t remember what I had. Maybe swordfish? It was just “Meh”. No complaints about the place, but nothing worth remembering, clearly. I definitely know that it wasn’t worth the price of the food. Limited wine list. We were able to walk home, and it’s a nice 10 min walk through town.

Third night was Caicos Cafe. This was the best overall experience, and the reason you go out to dinner in Turks & Caicos- also a reason to dress a little more “resort”. By far the best- best service, best trained staff, best presentation. The wine and drink list was extensive, carrying not only familiar wines, but local exotic rums and spirits. We were told this was the most popular place to eat, and the hardest to get in. Also, that there were no reservations available, but if we went early, there was a chance to be in. We took a taxi, as recommended,; and even though it was just a little farther out of town, it is still walkable.

We arrived just after they opened for dinner, asking if there was a chance of getting a table. They obliged, and we walked around the beautifully tropical orange building, through a garden patio oasis- and it was completely open! It was explained that early walk ins can get a table, but not later dinner times. (we were there 6:30… by 8 pm it was packed.) All seating was outside, amongst beautiful trees and lights- you literally want to make a place like this at your home. Servers were all extremely well trained, table side serving was impeccable, as well as etiquette. There was always someone nearby, and always attentive.

I had the curry spiced Mahi with potato cake- it was wonderful. Great wine list with plenty to choose from. Just before ordering dessert, the Manager came to or table, asked how we enjoyed our meal, and took the time to ask about us, without being overly invasive of our dinner. We ordered dessert-you have to get the coconut cake with 3 sauces- they’re known for it. (We even asked for an additional side of the caramel sauce- so good).

Noticing an expansive display of Scotches and Rum near our table, along with ice buckets and fellow tables’ wine cooling, I asked our server to see the dessert drink list. It was expansive, and not overpriced at all. I wanted to try a rum that was a local type, and nothing I can get anywhere else. He recommended one that was not on the menu, was a 30yr old rum from the Dominican Republic. While he went to pour it, the manager came back to check on us, and told me of my choice in rum- it is not distributed anywhere, and difficult to find; the bottle they had, was actually brought back by one of their servers on a recent trip. It was delicious. one of the best rums, almost like a heavy brandy, smooth, and all for $18.  This meal was the priciest of all meals, coming in at just over $212 for two, but worth every buck.

…Stayed tuned for part 2 of Brian’s Turks & Caicos Trip Report

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Where To Find The Best Margaritas in Austin: Güero’s Taco Bar

The Purest Margarita at Guero’s Taco Bar

One of the perks of having a BFF who lives in Austin is that you never go wrong with restaurant recommendations. I was staying at the Hyatt Regency Austin, and I wanted to grab some good Tex-Mex and a margarita before heading to the airport. My BFF friend, Katie, has lived in Austin for years didn’t hesitate a beat before saying “go to Güero’s Taco Bar on South Congress.” Katie never steers me wrong in the food and beverage sector.

Güero’s is located in a former feed store on South Congress Avenue

Guero’s is a funky taqueria and they scored a home run in the margarita department. I went for the Purest ($7.75, made with Patron Silver, Patron Citronge, and fresh squeezed lime juice). It was not overly sweet and had a nice kick. I even ordered a second,which I didn’t finish. I’m a lightweight but it was refreshing and a great selection for a hot spring day in Austin.

Güero’s Still Life

Güero’s has an extensive margarita and cantina menu for those who like their drinks a little more exotic. Texas has some quirky laws regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages (especially on Sundays) so if you head to Güero’s for Sunday brunch, you also have to order food.

The extensive cantina menu at Güero’s Taco Bar

Güero’s had a great breakfast menu as well. The Huevos Mexicanos for $5.79 got a thumbs up from my husband. I went for tacos a la carte (mine ranged from $3.75 to $3.95 per taco). The menu also had gluten free and vegan options.

Tacos at Güero’s

Güero’s is located in a converted old feed store from the 1800s and it was nice to sit outside and watch the action on South Congress Avenue.

Huevos Mexicanos at Güero’s

Besides being tasty, Güero’s was a bargain. I definitely will be returning on my next visit to Austin.

Güero’s Exterior

Güero’s is just the sort of fun restaurant that helps keep Austin weird (and cool). It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a great place to eat in Austin.

Guero’s Taco Bar

1412 S Congress Ave,

Austin, TX 78704, United States

Phone:(512) 447-7688

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