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May 25, 2011 05:38 PM

Foodie destinations in Mexico + Vallarta Gourmet Fest 2011?

Hi there,

My sweetheart and I are traveling around the world this coming year, scouting places we might live in the future -- and making a trip of a lifetime out of it too.

I'm from California originally, so have eaten Mexican food unthinkingly for years. But am reading more and more that Mexican cuisine has as much complexity and variety as French or Chinese (we now live in Hong Kong).

We've both traveled briefly to Mexico before, but never with the express goal of eating!

We're definitely planning to visit Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta (perhaps during the 2011 Gourmet Fest in November).

Wondering if anyone can suggest...

Which of the Gourmet Fest events is not-to-be-missed?

The best part of town to stay in Vallarta if we were to rent a VRBO-type spot for two weeks?

Any advice on how to approach visiting Mexico City (so we don't get kidnapped, basically -- I've heard not to take a cab unless someone I know arranges it)?

Specific places in Oaxaca and Puebla that would be good food destinations?

Any great cooking schools?

(I have functional Spanish from being an exchange student in Costa Rica many years back, btw.


Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. This one, held every year during the first weekend in December, is a do-not-miss:

    The 2011 dates in Morelia, Michoacán, are Dec. 2, 3, and 4. Trust me, it may not be high level glitz, but it's the most traditional and best food in the region. See you there!


    1 Reply
    1. re: cristina

      Hi Cristina, thank you for this information. We have to be in SF on Dec 2 for a family event, but I am glad to know about this event. Your blog is beautifully written and the food photos made me hungry ;-)

    2. I'll throw northern Baja out there as a destination.

      There are a growing number of cutting edge restaurants now in Tijunana as well as a strong and vibrant street food scene. In addition you've got

      * The whole Valle de Guadalupe wine area with good restaruants and interesting small wineries

      * There are olive oil producers in the V de G as well

      * Not to mention the cheese makers in Ojos Negro

      * Blue fin tuna is being sustainably and humanely raised using very eco-friendly aquaculture practices. There are oysters and I believe abalone as well.

      * Ensenada boasts a terrific working fish market with easy accessbility and great fish. There are also a growing number of really good restaurants in Ensenada. The drive from Bajamar to Ensenada contains some pretty breathtaking vistas and is more than worth the drive.

      * Every summer brings Vendimia in the Valle de Guadalupe, a 3 week fiesta dedicated to food, wine and entertainment. Here's the link for this year's event - . Many restauranteurs open restaurants in the Valle for the summer months to take advantage of the bounty fo the valley. The whole event is usually capped off by a massive paella cook-off.

      * There are any number of food related festivals all year long up and down the Tijuana/Ensenada corridor. From tacos and beer to the Ensenada seafood festival you can find lots of food related activities.

      Enjoy your quest wherever you end up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DiningDiva

        Very interesting to hear about the tuna farming. It's a favorite food of my sweetheart's, so the idea of going someplace where it's *locally produced* is awesome.

        It sounds like there are a lot of great regional events around local agriculture/cuisine, which is really interesting.

        I wish that more news of these kinds of things made it into international publications (instead of just news about drug violence). Maybe it does and I've just missed it.

        In any case, thanks for this heads-up on Ensenada.

      2. Where to stay obviously has a lot to do with the amount you want to spend. probably the best place in PV is the newest condo Molino de Agua with a great location. You should also note that the Festival is spread bewtween downtown, the Marina, Nuevo Vallarta 15 -20 minutes from PV and Punta de Mita which is a good 30-45 minutes from PV.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mexivilla

          Hmm. Sounds like we may need a car.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. This is a Google translation of an article in a Mexican newspaper El Universal that might be of interest.

            From 15 July to 16 December was held on "Gourmet Experience" in Riviera Nayarit, an activity with three culinary cuisine to savor the best destination.

            It is a gastronomic tour of three of the best restaurants in Riviera Nayarit, located in hotels Villa la Estancia, Marival Grand Velas Residences and, with its restaurants La Casona, Nicks and Lucca, respectively.

            This activity is available to all public and take place on Friday, every 15 days, 18 to 21 hours, to remain an estimated time of 50 minutes at each restaurant. Visitors can move from one to another establishment on board Turibus corridor Flamingos-Nuevo Vallarta. The tour consists of an initial six-time menu, with dishes paired with wine from the cellars of Casa Madero.

            The program for each occasion is different, with tours of your choice where you want to taste the different times and specialties.

            The participating chefs are living with the guests and explain the details of their proposal is, in their words, to create a whole dining experience.

            Ticket sales can be made through the concierge at participating hotels. Each tour has a cost of 100 thousand pesos per person. Including taxes and service. Local people can also enjoy 15% discount. Gourmet Experience. Facebook: Gourmet Experience. Progressive Dining at Riviera Nayarit Progressive Dining at Riviera Nayarit.

            I think this "100 thousand pesos per person" is 1,100Pesos.