Author Archives: Paloma Villaverde de Rico

Mexico’s Culinary Fixes


Hotel El Ganzo has new culinary offerings at its restaurants.

Culinary getaways are eating a big part of the tourism pie, so hotels from Los Cabos to San Luis Potosi are putting the spotlight on gastronomy with new excursions and enhanced menus. Take the new Argentinian steak house, La Bodega, which just opened its doors at Fiesta Americana Villas Cancun; it offers top-of-the-line cuts and a magnificent wine selection. On the other side of Mexico, the Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive & Spa has a chef’s table experience with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop that you can reserve for private occasions; here, you can enjoy culinary demonstrations and have your pick between T-bone steaks and fresh lobster.

Playa Hotels & Resorts properties across Mexico are implementing the ever-popular street food—whether it be at a station, a buffet, or even a stand by the pool, guests can choose from ramen, BeaverTails snacks, and tacos. The food stands rotate and change what they are serving and where they are every day.


Food carts at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.

At bohemian Hotel El Ganzo, San Jose del Cabo’s hip artistic haven, there’s a new chef in the house who’s revamped the menus and is creating a gastronomy that mixes the flavors of Spanish and French cooking with Mexican cuisine. They are said to be as “eye-catching as they are flavorful.” The menus were developed to give each restaurant a distinctive personality: The Downstairs is a bistro-style restaurant and the Rooftop only serves seafood, sushi and ceviche since it is an ode to the sea, which surrounds the rooftop in all angles. The Container serves Mexican specialty and an insider told us that the fish tacos are a must.

You can top off all of that delicious cuisine with mescal, which guests of Conrad San Luis Potosi can experience on the hotel’s trip to a local mescal distillery. There, you can learn all about the agave, and buy exclusive bottles that can’t be purchased anywhere else. Ok, the smoky spirit isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good bet you will love the hotel’s excursion to El Atrio, where the menu is curated around recipes so authentic that cooking times are measured by reciting Hail Mary’s.


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Local Eats in Mexico



We’ve got the 4-1-1 on local eats in a few of Mexico’s hotspots.

Becco Al Mare, one of the city’s finest restaurants, is a favorite of celebrities, and offers spectacular views of the Acapulco Bay.
• For Thai-Mex fusion cuisine, there’s Zibu.
• At La Perla at El Mirador Hotel, visitors can opt for a 3-course lunch or dinner and take in all the action of La Quebrada, the cliff from where the famous Acapulco divers jump.

• Sushi lovers should head to Yamamoto, Cancun’s oldest Japanese restaurant.
• Offering a European-influenced menu, the alfresco La Fonda del Zancudo is set in the ruins of an old house.
La Habichuela, serving seafood and Mexican specialties, is one of the city’s most iconic restaurants, and its open-air garden is the place to dine.

Puerto Vallarta
• The intimate, family-run Restaurante Gaby’s serves authentic Mexican food and the chef is on a mission to bring back lost Vallarta dishes.
• Taco tours by Vallarta Food Tours are a must, as visitors can walk or bike to the city- center, hang out with locals and taste typical street food.
Gaviotas at Sheraton Buganvilias is creating innovative Mexican dishes such as sopa de piedra, which is cooked using hot stones, or opt for the 5-course Chef’s Table.

Riviera Maya
El Hongo in Playa del Carmen is so much more than a pet-friendly restaurant—it’s
full of great food, drinks, and music. There are also free workshops for kids like painting and handicrafts.
• Opened just a year ago, StrEAT Park in Playa del Carmen is a truck park with five food trucks featuring Mexican gastronomy; there are live bands and a DJ.
• In Tulum, the Argentinian steakhouse La Estancia Jujeña serves breakfast, lunch and dinner made the traditional way.

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The Roman Guy Announces New Tours for 2018


With its focus solely on Italy, The Roman Guy, which creates unique culinary and culturally immersive day tours that are produced with the help of local Italian providers, has announced new small group tours for 2018.

Included in The Roman Guy’s new offerings are the Vatican Neighborhood Food tour, which showcases the Vatican’s food scene beyond the touristy bars that hug the Vatican walls, and the 2-hour Borghese Gallery Storytellers in Rome, which focuses on the art and interesting stories behind each piece of this private collection. Adding to its existing Vatican tour mix, The Roman Guy has created the Detailed Itinerary Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s tour, which explores the best highlights in the Vatican, complemented by interesting stories that touch on religion, the popes, artists and the works of art as related by the guides.

In Florence, the Delicious Florence Evening Food tour visits both sides of the Arno River, taking participants into the city’s more residential and local areas; and in Venice, The Roman Guy’s Express Venice with St Mark’s, Gondola & Rialto Bridge tour explores the inside of St. Mark’s with a local guide, goes for a stroll on the Rialto Bridge and throws in a gondola ride, all in just two hours and 30 minutes.

For more information, visit

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AmaWaterways to Host Culinary Cruise


After a successful sailing in fall 2017 with master chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir, AmaWaterways is continuing its partnership with the celebrated chef by presenting a special sailing: Taste of Bordeaux- Culinary Cruise Hosted by Joanne Weir.

The 7-night cruise will depart on July 26, 2018 and take guests through the Bordeaux region of France along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Shore excursions will immerse guests in French culture, food, and wine, including visits to vineyards and chateaux for wine tastings and a wine festival exclusive to AmaWaterways guests. On board, guests will have the opportunity to engage with Weir through her culinary presentations. Optional pre-cruise stays in Paris or a post-cruise tour of the Loire Valley are also available.

For more information, visit

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Take a Bite Out of Vegas

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A Great Catch
This fall, CATCH Las Vegas restaurant—with locations in LA, Dubai and Playa del Carmen—will open its doors at Aria Resort & Casino. It will feature globally inspired high-end seafood selections such as the catch roll, truffle sashimi, Wagyu on a rock and Cantonese lobster. There’ll also be a curated wine list and what they are calling “visually stunning” handcrafted cocktails. CATCH will open in the hotel’s barMASA and Tetsu restaurant space, which closes this month.

It’s Getting Hot in Vegas
The immersive HELL’S KITCHEN Restaurant has opened its doors at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Guests of the dining venue will feel transported to the studio set of the TV show, with the bustling kitchen being the centerpiece of the eatery, and with chefs donning the exact uniforms from the show—red and blue jackets with coordinating bandanas. The show’s signature fiery pitchfork marks the entryway to the restaurant, and a life-size video screen of chef Ramsey greets guests upon arrival. There are floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Strip and the hotel’s iconic fountains, and the menu features recipes from the TV show (think lobster risotto). We’ve heard that the cocktails are not-to-be-missed, including the gin-based “notes from Gordon,” garnished with a scroll printed with a surprise note from the celebrity chef himself.

Eats by the Pool
Pool season in Vegas is here, and with it comes cool experiences at The Cosmopolitan’s Pool District. There are Dive in Movies—transforming the resort’s 65-ft. digital marquee into a colossal movie screen—which guests can enjoy with a speciality cocktail in hand and movie snacks; and the Overlook Grill, serving American staples along with uniquely curated brunch selections including a detox green bowl salad and an avocado toast benedict, as well as a “done adulting” margarita and “bikini bod” cocktail. The fun takes place at the resort’s Boulevard Pool, which overlooks the Strip and offers fab views over the Vegas

Korean-Inspired Eatery at Park MGM
Los Angeles celebrity chef Roy Choi will bring a Koreatown-inspired concept to Las Vegas this fall. The soon-to-be-named dining venue at Park MGM will be a celebration of L.A.’s Koreatown district featuring immersive spaces that feel comfortable and familiar, while creating an eclectic environment for guests. Park MGM will also feature a new pool oasis with three pools, an oversized heated spa, 12 cabanas, lounge areas and multiple bars. Guests will be able to order craft drinks such as mix-and-match craft beer buckets and a Bacardi dragonberry rum-spiked frose topped with ripe strawberries, as well as light bites such as a watermelon & arugula salad.

A Sangria Feast
ALEXXA’s, a modern bar with a unique twist, has debuted inside Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with a sangria-focused element, global small dishes and live music. ALEXXA’s bar, connecting to HEXX kitchen + bar, and with doors opening directly onto the Las Vegas Boulevard, features nine sangria options to choose from, including sparkling sangria, cider sangria and seasonal sangrias. A selection of curated cocktails made with fresh juices are also available.

A Room with a Brewski
The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino has announced a property-wide partnership with the Las Vegas brewery Tenaya Creek to create the city’s first Bed & Brewski hotel room package and experience, which will offer private tours of the brewery exclusively to hotel guests. Guests who book this experiential package will be greeted with a 6-pack of their chosen brewski upon check-in, as well as a ticket to privately tour Las Vegas’ own Tenaya Creek Brewery. Package starts at $221; minimum 2-night stay.

Become a Master Chef at Wynn
Guests can try their hand at everything from cake decorating to learning how to cook Frank Sinatra’s favorite dishes with the Wynn Master Class series. These behind-the-scenes workshops are led by master chefs, sommeliers, bakers and artisans, and take place at locations across the hotel. Upcoming is Cooking, Sinatra Style, during which executive chef Luke Palladino and Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter, AJ Lambert, will host a cooking demo at the Sinatra restaurant (Encore) on how to prepare some of the entertainer’s favorite dishes, his way. There’s also an upcoming outdoor grilling class with the executive chef of SW Steakhouse (Wynn), who’ll be joined by Wynn’s executive director of wine to share tips on choosing grill-friendly wines.

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