Eating well has never been a problem for us in Mexico. The indescribable combination of flavors has drawn us to her shores for decades. That said, one reason we chose to drive the PanAmerican highway is so we would have access to our own kitchen, which has done well by us over the last six months, party to save money and partly because I simply love to cook. However, eating inexpensively in Mexico does not mean never eating out. In fact, eating well in PV runs the gamut of prices.
We love to BBQ. The tantalizing smells aside, who doesn’t love the perfectly cooked steak, shrimp kebobs, or delicious grilled vegetables? For variety, throw on a pizza, flip some burgers, or grill a whole fish. Whatever you are craving, now is the season to get out and get grilling!
I tried to slip deeper into the corner as the six or seven men crowding the room chopped and stirred with deliberate haste. The youngest of them crouched on their haunches, low to the floor, in that way some cultures seem born to do and I have yet to master. Chopping boards rested directly on the not so clean floor as they chopped and sliced fragrant garlic, onions and tomatoes. Upon seeing the amount of chilies being added to the mix, I knew we were ensured a fiery curry tonight! Two men worked feverishly over large, dented metal pots, cooking down the mutton and vegetables, as the fragrant smell of spices circled above them. In spite of the cool desert air, perspiration glazed their skin.
I stood in awe, incredibly honored to have been asked to watch the dinner preparation, for in India, women did NOT cook outside the home. Intimidated by being jammed into a 10X10 room with these hardworking cooks, I reflected on the miracles of time and place that had brought me here.
Three knives, two cutting boards, and a two-burner hot plate. That was all required to serve up a fantastic dinner that fed the entire camp of over twenty. It forever changed my view of the “necessary”.
Undoubetedly our favorite evening on our recent family trip to Mexico was the night we took a cooking class at Robert & Dolores Brittingham’s house.
Formerly from Seattle, Robert & Dolores have called Puerto Vallarta home since 2002, starting Essence of Cuisine, Dolores’ cooking school, in 2006. We girls in the family had taken several cooking classes in the past and knew it was something we wanted to take advantage of on this trip to Mexico. After months of searching online, I was growing frustrated. Of the many different types of classes offered around town, none of them seemed to suit our group. A couple were perfect for me, 6-7 hours of total immersion, beginning with shopping for ingredients at the market, but deemed much too intense for mom and Wendy. A few well-known classes had great reviews, but were extremely expensive and mostly featured simply watching the chef cook.