Amidst the boat memes, and contreversial activities highlighting Mexico during the holidays I made the choice to travel for the New Year on a solo trip. Let it be known I rang in the new year in bed by 11:30pm after tacos, fresh baked goods, and binging The Queens Gambit. Honestly, the trip was very much needed, and the locals were so kind and welcoming. The weather also permits to spend most time outside, with plenty of vitamin D and UV rays. If your spirit needs to get away there is a safe way to do it. I recommend solo traveling, or planning something with your small quarantine group. However, I respect and understand the concerns, so for now let’s call this a future guide in the era after Covid. A weekend guide to Puerto Vallarta for the foodie!
Tortilla Soup for the adult soul... and carbs.
For New Years I ended up at Taco Revolución grabbing food to go. Upon further discussion I found out where the famous taco places in the area were, and unfortunately when I tried to go it was the day they weren’t open. If you get a chance though apparently Pancho’s Takos and Pepe’s (my taxi drivers recommendation) are the moment. But if you wind up at Taco Revolución the menu item, “Taco Revolución is mind blowing. it’s one taco (corn or flour) with roast beef, marinated meat, chorizo, cheese crust and pork rinds DROWNED in a three-chili sauce. That and their guac paired with Netflix in my own little airbnb cocoon was pure heaven.
The Secret Garden at Cafe des Artistes
After dinner I ran to see my friend Seth in his cabaret show singing Judy Garland. It was incredible witnessing live theater with some of my favorite songs. The establishment also insured proper social distancing and health measures. To wrap up an incredible week I even ended up singing a couple show-tunes at the piano bar afterwards. So there you have it. In addition to beautiful beaches, rooftop infinity pools, and so much rich culture there is plenty foodie adventures to be had. If you find it difficult to hang in there during winter, and need to get away I totally understand. Again there is a safe way to enjoy time and reset. Solo travel while following safety guidelines is doable. Of course if traveling isn’t comfortable for you now put this in your back pocket for your next great adventure!
Is anyone else feeling super nostalgic lately? I feel like this is pretty typical during the holidays, but even more in a year where our whole lives were turned upside down. I think we all miss traveling and exploring, and on tour that was my favorite thing in the world. Today I wanted to share a very special dinner I had with some wonderful people. It was my first tasting menu back when Aladdin was in Detroit during the holidays in the beginning of 2019. My sis Erik Hernandez is local to Detroit, Michigan and planned a meal at "Mabel Gray" with Cornelius and Adrienne (fellow cast-mates) and I. A little back story on the man behind this very upbeat, trendy restaurant. When I researched this history I was very inspired btw. I think we all work incredibly hard to get to certain points of our life, and Chef James Rigato is no stranger to that mentality. Rigato joined the restaurant biz as a dishwasher. He went to school, worked for some of the finest restaurants in Michigan, and then started to take off with National acclaim after opening “The Root” Restaurant and Bar with Ed Mamou . He then competed on Top Chef Season 2013, and won Food and WIne’s “Best New Chef, Great Lakes” in 2015. “Mabel Grey” opened shortly after to rave reviews from Eater, and a nomination from James Beard (semi finalist best new restaurant). So yeah, Chef Rigato is honestly a role model for hard work and dedication to building dreams. He approaches his dishes with bold refined flavors that are full of excitement. And of course, like any of the top chef’s he cultivates his menu based on the local produce. Everything is done in rotation to the seasons, what’s fresh, and “ethical.” I think the food will speak for itself in the below slide show, but I will say the standout for the table that evening was this Olive Oil cake (Course 7). If you happen to be in the Detroit area I highly recommend planning an evening out at this incredible establishment. What I love the most about food is how it creates memories. Even in the toughest of times we can look back, and remember the smells, taste, laughs, and love where we can find a moment of happiness to draw from. @mabelgraykitchen
Dominque Ansel Bakery
I don’t know if its seasonal depression or still being out of work as an actor, but this week has been a tidal wave of different emotions. Luckily food will never cease to bring me joy, and pasta will always be there for you. Today we are putting on that red lip, black fur, meeting Nicholas Cage at the opera and… ok maybe not that far, but we are exploring some incredible rich Italian food at “Nonna Osteria” in San Antonio, TX. Similar to the family dynamic in the movie “Moonstruck,” chef Luca Della Casa grew up in a big family and wanted to bring those memories to this restaurant. Here you will find large plates meant to be shared (personally I always order this way so I can try a bit of everything on the menu). I went out here with friends a few weekends ago, and we had an incredible time.
NOLA Brunch and Beignets
There’s nothing like the deep rich full flavors the big easy has to offer. And if you’ve ever been to New Orleans you know. Bourbon street, historic French architecture, art, culture, and BEIGNETS 24/7. There is truly nothing better than Beignets at 2am. Well these memories can be found in San Antonio, Texas on N St. Marys and Kings Court at “Nola Brunch and Beignets”. Husband and wife team, Pieter and Susan Sypesteyn started in a food truck called “Where Y’at” and like other establishments quickly became a fan favorite in San Antonio. They now have two New Orleans style restaurants “Cookhouse” and NOLA, with a new venture on the way… BUT today we relish in the magic that is NOLA!
I went out last weekend with my friend and we split… wait for it... A pecan pie, peanut butter and chocolate, and lemon filled BEIGNET! I’ve never had a stuffed or filled version of this delicacy. Let me tell you It was life changing. My advice, Pecan Pie is a solid choice for the indulgent foodies ready for Thanksgiving, and for the fruitier crowd I loved the light tart punch the lemon curd came with. For the main course I had the Blue Crab Omelette, and snagged a few bites of Mike’s Shrimp Creole that he topped his NOLA Brunch Plate with. I was in heaven. Brunch is my love language, and bonus points if you throw in a Cajun or Creole spin to the dish! Honestly, San Antonio is blowing up as a food scene giving Austin, Houston, and Dallas a run for its money. I highly recommend a weekend trip to explore what our city has to offer, and if you can’t make it to New Orleans you'll get every bit of it here at NOLA!!! Much love to the Sypesteyn's. @nola_brunchsa