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Everything posted by arriba!

  1. Hola!! Back from PV and REALLY not happy to be back! We had a wonderful stay with perfect weather and fabulous food. Two new(well, at least to us)places definitely worth a visit--Trio and Casa Naranjo. Trio has been around awhile and I am sure you know of it. We lOVED the chili roasted red snapper over ratatouille with cilantro/lime sauce and shrimp sauteed with garlic, brandy, tomatoes and chili oil. Nice wine list. Casa Naranjo was new last year but we didn't make it there and are so glad we found it! We went twice because we loved it so much. More Mediterranean but with Mexican spices and influences. We loved the decor--nicely done spare but not sparse, open kitchen, tables nicely spaced. Great service. Again, we had seafood(a snapper and a wonderful tuna). Wonderful appetizers and salads that are perfectly dressed--not too astringent, not too wet w/ citrus-y dressing. We will definitely return to both of these. We went to el Arrayan twice and were not disappointed. We love the plantain empanadas and the salsas made in house are perfect with them. I had a new shrimp dish that was divine--chipotle sauce with raicilla flambe served over mashed yams--LOVED the flavor contrasts! Also new was chilies en nogado which I thought could not possibly be better than Red Cabbage--fabulous and gorgeous presentation. We also had the fish with axiote sauce and thought the fish was perfect--not overcooked or dry. We skipped desserts to have crepes on the malecon and watch performers in the amphitheater. Barcelona Tapas was wonderful and we love the view and the breeze. The one annoyance was a group of small boys that attempt to shake you down for opening car door, opening the gate etc. I don't mind paying them for getting a cab, but not just for showing up. Vitea is a treat and makes the best mojitos on the malecon or Muertos beach. Yes, I tried many! My favorite there is a spice glazed red snapper with jicama slaw. Our other fish was good but the veg side was not as pleasing as the jicama--I can't remember which item it was. I really like that several entrees can be ordered as half plates which is perfect for me. Great dessert of caramelized pineapple with coconut ice cream. Rio Grande has been a favorite of ours for years. Casual BBQ fish restaurant across from the Ley grocery store on Av Mexico. We loved the BBQ snapper and the large grilled shrimp are always great. They have an extensive menu but we have never had anything except guacamole, fish, shrimp. We had lunch at several places on Playa Muertos that was not great but pina coladas and watching the beach scene is "the thing" and we knew that going in so can't complain. We went to Sayulita for the day on the bus--as soon as we were loaded and underway the driver cranked up the music--70-80s dance mix--LOUD! "Funky town" was first and I knew that was just where we were going!!! Very suntanned funky middle aged surfer dudes were gettin' down in the aisle--quite a trip!! By the time we arrived and sat down at a beach bar I was really ready for a pina colada and did not even blink when a goldfish bowl sized drink arrived for me!! Well, I drank the WHOLE thing and the day got gooooood!! The other days we spent shopping or just walking the streets. We found Picnic where Hank and Conrad from Chilies are lending a hand. We loved the burgers and it was good to see them again--we always had a lunch or 2 at Chilies when they were there. We are certainly missing the brilliant sunsets and margaritas that were necessary for the viewing! I am so envious of those that stay for extended periods--it is truly paradise!
  2. Thanks! We have avoided that particular place because when we are there, we try to stick to Mexican on whatever level. I have always assumed Cafe des Artistes was more Continental than Mexican and have not given it much thought. I know it consistently wins taster choice awards for its category, so maybe this is the year for us to experience it. We obviously don't follow our rule to stingently as Vitea is fusion but I love a fish they prepare with Mexican spices and accompaniments and Barcelona Tapas, will, 'nuff said!! Will report back in March.
  3. If I could be your customer, I would want them baked fresh that day. Also,I think the smell of baking muffins might help sell more!! Who could resist?
  4. I LOVE your pictures!! Your experience with the rain sounds like ours on our first trip there. We were seated at first in the courtyard as we came without reservations and it was busy. Luckily, when the rain started they were able to move us under the roof and it was quite cozy dining near the rain, but not in it!!! I enjoyed the conchinita pibil, grilled shrimp, a very good confit of duck--on separate visits, of course!! We were planning on dining there during our upcoming trip and am now having second thoughts.
  5. We go every year and have several favorites. We are leaving in mid feb so can't tell of any new gems at this moment. All of these are in town--either downtown or Zona Romantico El Arrayan--Mexican specialties from the charming owner's grandmother, lovely setting Red Cabbage--also Mexican, LOVE the chilies en nogado--the best!! Vitea--Continental-y fusion-y wonderful. love that some of the entrees can be ordered as half order. Stylin' interior design Barcelona Tapas--just as it says--tapas with a great view, you won't leave hungry if you want more food than just tapas, 72 steps up--hope you are in good shape Our favorite hamburger/BBQ chicken place--Chilies(NOT the US chain)changed hands and the owners are now helping/consulting at a new place near Los Muertos Beach(maybe on Olas Altas, not sure about that)called Picnic. I have not been there yet, but friends say it is just as good as Chilies. Maria Candelaria--small family run place featured on Rick Bayless show--great tamales
  6. Use wax paper or plastic wrap either buttered or sprayed and put directly on the sauce. This prevents skin from forming.
  7. Have you tried online sources? I would love to know because I love crans, have some in the freezer but make a cookie that really needs fresh berries--the frozen berries are just too moist and effect the cookie. My favorite cookie and I hate to be limited to the holidays to make them.
  8. So, it's all in the attitude!!!! NOW I get it!! I have never made sourdough starters and am unfamiliar with the process. I would love to hear about the results!
  9. annecros--tell me about feeding the dough you saved and how to refresh it, please!! I would love to try this to get a bit more sourness in the bread. Thanks!
  10. I baked a baguette shaped loaf today in a clay 2 peice baker and it turned out great. I was afraid it was going to be a disaster because the dough stuck badly to the towel this time--not a problem with my last attempt because I used LOTS of flour on the towel. A lot of that flour stuck to the dough and the resulting loaf was covered with clumps of cooked flour that would not brush off. Not attractive! I covered the towel very well with flour, but still stuck. I "plopped" the dough into the hot baker and sort of shaped it as it tore off the towel. It was a big mess but turned out amazingly well--good rise, crackly brown crust and interior not quite as moist as the round loaves I made. I cooked it to internal temp 209 and let it cool completely before cutting. I have a batch of Julia's mixed starter bread rising now and will try half in a pre-heated baker and half not for a comparison. Someone posted way back in this thread that they thought it would be more flavorful--I will know tomorrow! Thanks for all the help!
  11. One more question and then I will be making a batch to attempt as a baguette in a clay baker. I read in one of the many postings that fresh flour is of the utmost importance which I learned on my first attempt which bombed(really old flour). My flour is one month old--is that fresh enough? Abra, thanks for the input and I will definitely post results!
  12. I have looked through this thread to see if anyone has tried this technique to make a baguette? I saw Bittman's mention of it, but found only 1 brief mention in the thread. I have a baguette shaped cloche(I am sure there is a name for it) and would like to use it but wonder if manipulating the dough to fit would cause it to lose too much volume?
  13. I have only"rapid rise" yeast in the house. I have read that it is not the same as instant, but wondered what it would do to the recipe? I would love to mix a batch tonight, but don't want to get out to get more yeast. Also, I don't think the SAF brand is available here, so probably could get only dry active yeast.
  14. I add vodka or rum which lowers the freezing point. Scoops easily.
  15. Food writers LOVE: "tucked into" and "washed down with". I hate both and it is amazing how often the phrases appear.
  16. We ate at Havana last year and loved it!
  17. I have questioned growers and seed company "guys" why they can't breed strains with all desired properties AND flavor? They seem to be able to control so many elements in developing new varieties, I don't understand why flavor must be sacrificed. The only halfway responsive answer I have ever received is "we're doing better than we used to" or "we're working on it".
  18. arriba!

    Dinner for 40

    I agree! I could not think of anything that sounded as good as what you had planned--sorry! Please let us know how it turns out! Sounds really great!
  19. Cafe des Artistes for "swell". El Arrayan and/or Red Cabbage for regional favorites. Chilies(NOT the American chain!!)for wonderful grilled chicken and hamburgers(not open at night). Rio Grande for mesquite grilled red snapper and shrimp. Agree with above info re: La Palapa and Barcelona Tapas. Regrettably, an old favorite--Las Cazuelas has closed. Their rose flavored sauce was from heaven! I read somewhere that the husband owner was in a car wreck but no one has been able to verify this. Buen viaje!
  20. Fascinating reading! I am curious about exercise onboard. Obviously, a wgt room is not feasible, but I cannot imagine containing all those guys for extended periods w/o them being able to expend some physical energy! what about "downtime"? I read your schedule and realize you don't have much, but what do the guys do with extra time other than study for advancements? Are movies available? Games? I guess they must bring their own reading material? Several years ago I toured the Growler in the Hudson river--that is where I got my first idea of what cooking on a sub is like! I am sure it is much smaller than the new boats and I cannot imagine planning and cooking in that space! Hello claustrophobia!!! Thanks for your service and for sharing a slice of your life with us!!
  21. My favorite choc chip is from Alice Medrich's small book "Cookies and Brownies". Calls for melting the butter, uses equal parts white and brown sugars. Great texture and flavor.
  22. I made Molly's cabbage rolls last night with wonderful sauerkraut from Morse's in Waldoboro Maine---DIVINE! I did most of the prep in the morning--still quite a job to get it all together but SO worth it! Plenty leftover for tonight and I am sure I will find it improved overnight. Another winner from this wonderful book!
  23. arriba!

    Dinner for 40

    What about chicken and dumplings? I use frozen dumplings(Red Kettle I think) and they are good. I am really on a quest for the wonderful cloud-like puffs that float on top of the simmering stock but have not found the perfect technique for that. I like this best the 2nd day which is not practical for you, but you could probably make it work within your timeframe. Since you and your guests like foods of the world, how about chilaquiles--Mexican casserole of tortillas, meat of your choice(or none), canned green chilies? You could season it to suit your crowd and add as much cheese as they would like. Moussaka or pastistio? Is Shepherd's Pie just too predictable? A lot of meat, I know--I depend a lot on meat("I love animals--they taste good"--probably read that on this site!!!) What about red beans and rice --or my favorite--white beans seasoned like red beans--with rice or without? Cornbread too, of course! Jalapeno is my favorite! I agree with a previous poster--Chicken Marbella is GREAT and always gets raves. I don't use as much sugar as listed--it browns wonderfully without it. Stunning presentation and GREAT flavors!!! I concentrate pan juices and pass at the table. Happy cooking!
  24. arriba!

    Dinner for 40

    tammylc--I love this thread and am glad I found it! You mentioned early on that you were not sure if anyone was reading--please keep it coming! I have never cooked for more than 16 and am amazed how quickly you can get it together. The next time I feel overwhelmed by a meal, I will think of your meals!
  25. I finally ordered a copy of this wonderful book after keeping the library's copy checked for so long I am sure they thought it would never be returned! I have made several recipes(all have been discussed), loved every one! I have read through this thread in hopes of reading of someone having made the cabbage rolls--LOVE them and will be making this involved recipe soon. First will order some good sauerkraut--just don't want to use canned or grocery store jar product for this recipe. I hoped someone had made this recipe and had suggestions for success. I will post if I make them.
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