Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The RESTAURANT at Las VENTANAS is lovely and a wonderful last supper(Los Cabos)

We ended up making an excellent choice for our final meal just next door to our hotel at the gorgeous Las VENTANAS al PARAISO resort's THE RESTAURANT. This is one of the most elegant restaurants around, and with the weather having cleared we were able to down outside under a huge palapa with tons of those Mexican metal stars with lights inside twinkling down on us. Upon being seated diners can switch napkin colors to avoid lint, but I think the funniest thing about this area is the MAJOR competition on those little "purse holders" that they bring over and set up next to your chair so you don't have to sling anything over the seat back!

Our table overlooked a huge pool with duo guitarists playing on the other side in front of a large fire; the ocean was below in the back where at 8pm a Mexican fire dance was performed as part of a local evening at the other restaurant.

Will's frozen margarita was the size of a small house (say 14 ounces?) and mine straight up with salt was nice, but still we missed Gerardo's superb ones.

We spoke with the sommelier extensively about Mexican wines and opted for a LA LLAVE BLANCA 2002 from Vincola TORRES ALEGRE in Valle Guadalupe (northern Baja near Ensenada) which was 85% sauvignon blanc and 15% chard, but very oaked. The wine had a horrid nose and smelled bad, but in the mouth and as it opened up it was minerally with lots of fume oak, a wonderful choice. I also noted that our bottle of Casa Madero which cost $30 the night before at El Chilar, was $14 a glass here!

First cam the three salts (from France, England and the Himalayas) each one being for a specific type of food, then came the AMAZING breads: SUNDRIED TOMATO BASIL rolls that looked like cinnamon rolls because they had so much tomato inside, a super CHEDDAR JALAPENO and the best LAVOSH on earth: PUMPKIN SEED RED PEPPER and many other spices that I wanted to buy a ton of to take home--we did ask for more.

I started with the ESTEAMED (even here they have spelling issues) MUSSELS with TEQUILA, COCONUT MILK and CHILE de ARBOL with tiny croutons. These were some of the best mussels ever, plump and almost creamy; they were from Ensenada as well. I had to spoon up all the leftover creamy rich spicy sauce as well. Will opted for the CRAYFISH ENCHILADA with "Mole POBLANO" Cream & Fresh Cheese. This was a nice preparation, but the crayfish were masked by the intense mole and chili; a dish like this really needs a meat filling to come through well.

We both chose local Red Snapper dishes but two totally different preparations:

Will went for the traditional HUACHINGO a la VERUCRUZANA with Potato Puree, Tomato, Olive, Bell Pepper, Capers & Olives in the Verucruz Style, but Chef Nigel's version several nights earlier was richer and thicker, more to my liking, although this was superb.

My RED SNAPPER XOCHIMILCHO had a MUSHROOM PUREE and a CORIANDER JALAPENO Sauce that was heavenly and a small Oaxaca Cheese Enchilada as well.

On the only real sad note of the evening, they brought our entrees less than one minute after clearing our starters, so we had to speak up. We got the general response that most folks like to eat fast, but they would redo the dishes when we were ready. It is a shame that people do like to eat fast in such a glorious setting with such excellent food and service; so do speak up when you sit down, and this won't happen. An odd choice of OIL SORBET came as a palate cleanser, but it was refreshing if odd.

We were full, but could not skip dessert. Will could not decide between the CREME BRULEE TACOS with Chocolate Ice Cream, Caramelized Bananas and Coffee Foam, which was really more of a custard filled canneloni taco, one vanilla and one chocolate, but quite nice. His second choice, which the waiter brought out as a gift was the TARTE TATIN saying the Pastry Chef was French. It was the oddest tasting apple tart we both ever tasted and sadly left it apologizing to our kind server. My SOPAPILLAS with LEMON CURD, CARAMEL SAUCE and TEQUILA ICE CREAM were superb, although I felt they could have been served warm as I like my sopapillas that way. The small fried doughnuts were excellent and the caramel yummy, but the Tequila Ice Cream was creamy, rich and a yummy ending to our stay in here in Los Cabos, where it has finally warmed up as we get set to go home. FIGURES!