Las Ventanas al Paraiso – a window to (culinary) paradise

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, “windows to paradise”, lends a sense of romantic that goes beyond the average romance package you might find on the Internet.  Do not mistake this for just another resort in Los Cabos hotel corridor.  It is not. When I visited Cabo in nearly two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the general manager, Lionel Alvarez, and his attentive staff,  to walk through the property, viewing romantic venues and accommodations fit for a king.  As I descended from my carriage (the van which took us everywhere), we were greeted by the entire staff and offered “Welcoming Margaritas”, an exquisite concoction that was part margarita, part heaven.  I was so taken with them, I came away from the evening with the recipe.

In the movie, Other People’s Money,  the antagonist, Lawrence, expressed his opinion that to feed a woman is to romance and seduce her.  At Las Ventanas, you can experience both romance and seduction by taking their cooking class with the Executive Chef, Fabrice Guisset.

It is, of course, easiest to stay at Las Ventanas so you can simply walk across the grounds to attend the cooking class, held at a cooking station near a walled herb garden.  But you do not have to stay there to have the experience.  You can book the cooking class no matter where you are staying in Los Cabos.

Cooking Station

Cooking Station

In my case, after a tour of the property, we ended in the open air demonstration kitchen under a thatched roofed area, within a fragrant herb garden surrounded by three walls.  The kitchen was complete with a prep area and cook stove in the middle of a bar-like seating area.  Bar stools allow the class to sit and watch the preparations as well as by looking at a mirror behind the chefs that is angled from on high so that the whole experience is three dimensional.  We placed ourselves around the u-shaped bar to watch, learn and banter with the chef and his sous chef, Victor.  Chef Guisset is warm, personable and loves to share his knowledge and expertise.  From how to choose the perfect ripe avocado to the preparation of the “Red Snapper News of the Day”, he shares the passion and the romance of the food he prepares.

Fresh herbs from the garden

Fresh herbs from the garden

First the chefs prepared Guacamole (see recipe below).  Chef Guisset uses only the freshest of herbs and vegetables.  He need only step out of the open-air kitchen to his herb garden there to gather exactly the amount of herbs he needs for a given recipe.  As we ate chips with the freshly made guacamole, he prepared a Beet and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Orange Essence.  The entree was Red Snapper News of the Day, which has the fish seared, the vegetables poached and finally the fish laid over a holly leaf in a sheet of newspaper, covered with the vegetables and placed in the oven for 10 minutes.   All this was followed by desserts so delectable, seduction of the senses was complete. Champagne, a dessert wine or more margaritas can complete the experience.  Two classical guitarists are available to help create that romantic and sensual experience with a serenade of passionate Mexican music.

Private cooking classes are available for anyone wishing an even more intimate experience.  There are a variety of other culinary experiences to indulge in should you desire:

  • Suite Services: Spacious and inviting, airy and elegant, our guestrooms are unlike any others. For guests who like to linger in the luxury of their beautifully appointed suite, room service is available 24 hours a day from a special menu. Enjoy breakfast in bed or a romantic dinner for two served on your private terrace.
  • Beach Dining:  A delightful evening spent on the pristine shores of Las Ventanas is possible. Listen to the cascading waves in the glow of a warming bonfire. Your private table and bonfire on the beach is available for those special occasions. A fixed menu is possible if requested 24 hours in advance.
  • “A Taste of Las Ventanas” Progressive Dinner: Experience the diverse culinary specialties of Las Ventanas – all in one evening. Start with a sampler of sashimi and specialty rolls with a famous Las Ventanas Baja Margarita at the Ceviche, Sushi & Tequila Bar. Then savor a two-course dinner with wine pairing at the Sea Grill, followed by an array of sumptuous mini desserts with a glass of aged Port, coffee/tea service and a shot of Tequila Reposado in the Lounge Bar.
  • Men In White:  Want to really impress your special someone with your culinary skills while having a deliciously romantic time? Then arrange a ‘Men in White’ evening. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Fabrice Guisset, you’ll produce an exquisite gourmet affair for two. The setting is beautiful: the resort’s aromatic herb garden, which features an outdoor kitchen where you will prepare the meal. Your guest will be escorted to the garden by a butler and presented with champagne and a menu as you complete the dinner dressed in chef’s “whites.” Served by a private waiter, the two of you will dine under a palapa in candlelight, with soft music playing and herb aromatherapy filling the air.
  • Guaycura Night: Every Thursday we extend a personal invitation to all our guests to join us for our unique Mexican “Guaycura Dinner” at The Sea Grill. This delicious, multi-course degustation menu, which recreates a Mexican culinary tradition from years ago featuring barbecued foods, starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • Taste of Baja Dinner: Every Thursday evening Las Ventanas offers the Taste of Baja Dinner–special, five-course tasting menu that showcases the uniqueness of the Baja Peninsula. Presented in La Cava, the intimate and celebratory wine cellar featuring some of the world’s finest vintages, the resort’s executive chef takes guests on a gastronomic journey, while the sommelier selects an appropriate fine wine to pair with each course. 7.30 p.m.; seating limited to 12 guests.

Note: Fees and/or set-up charges may apply to culinary programs.

Guacamole
2 Kg Avocado
1 pc Red Onion
1 pc Tomato
1 Cilantro Bunch
2 Chili Serrano
1 oz Lime Juice
Salt
Pepper
1tbsp Olive oil

Preparation:

• Cut the Avocado in Half and take out the seed
• Cut big cubes out of it
• Add the rest of the ingredients finely chopped and season it with salt and lime juice

Serve and enjoy!

Note: Originally written for the National Romance Travel Examiner column .  The article has been revised and updated for 2011 by the author.

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