Monday, March 7, 2016

Hola Mexico - the culinary post: "Yo no como avocados"*

*The translation above reads "I don't eat avocado." Now check out a few of the fabulous, mouthwatering, incredibly fresh dishes I was dining on in Mexico, for example.

Looks good eh? Notice the abundance of avocado? Yes, a mind has the power to change, particularly when it involves avocado! Read below to find out how.

Tell the truth they say. The truth will set you free they preach. So easy to say, yet much, much harder to actually accomplish. Most of us try our very best to tell the truth, but only when it's safe, or when it's necessary or even when it might just be the right thing to do.

So with that said, I have decided to share with you something difficult, something that is very hard to admit but definitely a home truth, and here it is.

I hate avocado.

Did I hear a collective gasp out there? That's not surprising when that little nugget of information escapes my lips. I think what slays me the most is that whenever I happen to mention my distaste for it, I get the most insane reactions like:

What? WHAT? You don't like avocado? Again, what? Why? What's wrong with you? No, seriously, what's the matter with you?

Ridiculous reactions but not at all surprising in what is a very pro-avocado world.

It's not as if I've denounced the lives of children, but I know that the reactions are really all about personal preferences and a real love of avocado. For me, avocado and I just aren't into each other. The texture, the taste and just the look of it has turned me off it for years. Even though I practically grew up with it being a regular part of my dinnertime as a kid and avoiding it wholeheartedly as an adult, it's presence lingers - usually on the periphery, but I still see it.

The avocado dilemma really put into question whether I'd be on my way to a culinary pleasure zone in Mexico, or sentenced to eating imported American crap - I see you there Burger King. It turns out I had nothing to worry about, because I embraced all that was Mexican cuisine, and even did a side foray into Mexican-Italian, and it was worth it.

At Rancho Pescadero, they are serious about providing guests with a complete culinary experience. There is a huge emphasis on providing locally sourced food. The resort contains massive gardens where they grow their own vegetables - including lettuce and tomato, herbs like cilantro and mint, and beautiful ripe strawberries. May I add that there is almost nothing like a fresh, strawberry margarita to cure a long, leisurely day in the sun?

The menu for lunch, breakfast and dinner is created and coordinated by Executive Chef duo Jeff and Susan Mall, whom hail from another food paradise - Sonoma Wine Country in California. They have taken great pains to provide guests and visitors to the resort with the true taste of Mexico. The images above are only a few of the luncheon snacks available for guests including fresh fish tacos featuring freshly caught yellowtail fish direct from the Pacific Ocean, in house made tacos and burritos with guacamole. Of course.

Ah, guacamole, I knew you would make an appearance. Having spent a great deal of this post talking about my dislike of the fruit, Chefs Mall come along and provide what was an extremely fresh, creamy and luscious dish, making me question whether my dislike of avocado was truly warranted. That shocked me to the core, but it truly was a satisfying addition to what was already a very tasty taco dish.

I must admit that it felt a bit like home seeing avocado accompany so many meals on my plate. Whether it was lunch, dinner or breakfast, there it was - as seen below:

images by Stephen Wilson

But it was the promise of fresh ingredients, fresh home-style authentic Mexican cuisine that delivered the most satisfying feeling. There is a reason why Ranch Pescadero was featured on Conde Nast Traveller Magazine's best resorts list. If the promise of a beautiful resort, stunning beach and gorgeous weather isn't enough for you, then a carefully planned, amazing food fest not only at the resort, but in the accompanying town of Todos Santos - where I feasted on Italian food that truly was the best I've ever eaten this side of Italy - thank you Santa Fe Cafe and your super-fresh fritto misto dish, and house made ravioli!

Or just come for the guacamole. If it has managed to turn a confirmed avocado grouch into at least a sampler - albeit on a minor scale, than you know you are in for a true, Mexican culinary adventure.

Up next: Adios Mexico!

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