Resorts

Palm Springs Restaurant Week, May 29-June 7, 2015

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Palm Springs Restaurant Week

Palm Springs Restaurant Week, Friday, May 29 through Sunday, June 7, 2015 : This exciting 10-day event kicks off Friday, May 29th and showcases the Coachella Valley as the ultimate “Eat. Stay. Play.” resort destination getaway with exclusive dining, lodging, and attraction deals.
Palm Springs

During this 10-Day desert extravaganza, travelers, locals, and guests can enjoy specialty rates, packages and perks at luxury desert hotels, savings on popular area attractions, and delicious dining deals at area restaurants.
Dining in Palm Springs

Take advantage of this unique 10-Day opportunity to “Eat. Stay. Play.” and explore the Coachella Valley which includes the beautiful areas of La Quinta, Palm Springs, Indian Wells, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, and Indio.
The Living Desert

During the 10-days of “Eat. Stay. Play.”, guests can choose from 3-course prix-fixe dinner menus available for $26 or $38 per person at over 90 participating restaurants. Participating hotels will offer a variety of perks from specialty room rates, upgraded in-room amenities, and more.

Participating restaurants include Backstreet Bistro, bluEmber, Escena Lounge and Grill, Mastro’s, Roy’s, Simon Kitchen and Bar at Hard Rock Hotel, The Venue Sushi Bar, Tommy Bahama, Trio Restaurant and Bar, Wally’s Desert Turtle and many more restaurants to choose from.
EscenaGrill

Among the list of participating hotels are: Rancho Las Palmas Resort, Riviera Palm Springs Resort and Spa, The Spring – Natural Hot Mineral Spring – Resort and Spa.
Las Casuelas Terraza 4 outdoor dining

Attractions such as the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours, The Living Desert Zoo, and local spas such as SpaTerre are also offering special rates exclusively during Restaurant Week.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

A full list of participants—with additional restaurants, hotels, and attractions is available
at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

ABOUT PALM SPRINGS DESERT RESORTS RESTAURANT WEEK
Founded in 2007, Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week showcases the diverse
dining and leisure opportunities in the city of Palm Springs and surrounding
communities of the greater Coachella Valley. In just eight years this annual event has
grown from fewer than 30 participating restaurants, hotels, and attractions to more than
100. Restaurant Week offers ten days of its signature “Eat. Stay. Play.” experience,
featuring exclusive dining, hotel, spa, and attractions deals. Sponsors include Sysco,
Rum Chata, City of Palm Springs, City of LA Quinta, City of Indian Wells, City of Palm
Desert, City of Rancho Mirage, Pacific Premier, Palm Springs Hospitality Association
(PSHA), and US Bank, among others. For more information and a full list of participants,
please visit www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com, “like” Restaurant Week on
Facebook, or follow the organization on Twitter.


Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta… World Class Cuisine

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Travel

Festival Gourmet International Puerto Vallarta… World Class Cuisine

Puerto Vallarta sunset
Puerto Vallarta sunset

Festival Gourmet International
20 Aniversario
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Villa Premier Resort and Spa Puerto Vallarta
Recently, I was recommended by The TASTE Awards to represent the USA as a Celebrity Chef Ambassador to the Festival Gourmet International in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Although I knew Mexican cuisine was more than just guacamole, chips and salsa with a little shrimp, rice and beans thrown in, I had no idea the gastronomic experience I was about to embark on. Here, in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, renowned Chefs converge for 10 days of gastronomic excellence in one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico to enlighten gourmet enthusiasts with real gourmet cuisine from Mexico’s top chefs and their invited chefs from around the world.
Festival Gourmet International Grand Opening Gala
Each year, Puerto Vallarta is home to the Festival Gourmet International which was founded 20 years ago by three esteemed Chefs, Thierry Blouet, Heinz Reize, and Roland Menetrey who have now become the culinary “Tres Mosqueteras” (Three Musketeers) sharing “una ideologia” (one message)… “love and passion – the salt and pepper for good taste!”

Founding Chef Heinz Reize with guest chefs
Founding Chef Heinz Reize with guest chefs

Setting out to present the best cuisine in Mexico, this 10-day gastronomic celebration is a culinary immersion into top local restaurant and resort chefs who then invite noted chefs from around the world to join them in hosting Chef and Winemaker dinners which has grown beyond Puerto Vallarta to include Riviera Nayarit and Tepic resort destinations.
Festival Gourmet International party guests
For 20 years, food lovers and gourmands have flown in from all over the globe to experience some of the finest cuisines imaginable. Kicking off this year’s Festival was the Gourmet Village Grand Opening event in the expansive courtyard of The Westin Resort and Spa Puerto Vallarta. Patron Tequila tastings, Moet & Chandon, specialty cocktails, gourmet cheeses, and dishes from the chefs including foie gras from Rougie, grilled oysters on the half shell, duck confit, salt cured bass, and braised pork belly.
Natural Mexican Cheese
Salmon from Boca
Oysters on the half shell
Each day was followed by magical nights of food, wine, tequila, cocktails, live music and jazz at participating restaurants such as Café des Artistes, La Palapa, Cafe Trio,The River Cafe and more.
Live Music during Festival Gourmet International

Local resorts also hosted cooking shows, jazz, wine and cheese, and private receptions featured at Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa, Garza Blanca Preserve Resort and Spa, Hilton Puerto Vallarta, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort among other noted resorts and spas.

Chef Ryan at La Palapa

La Palapa’s “Chef Invitado” (Guest Chef) Ryan Steyn graduated from the Swiss Institute of Hospitality and currently opened El Jardin de Adobe in Baja, California. Of his selections for Festival Gourmet International were Ceviche Negro (Black Ceviche) with squid ink, sea urchin and avocado meringue, Pulpo Asado (Grilled Octopus) with ginger avocado dressing, Atun A La Parrilla (Tuna Steak) which is seared tuna with salicornia and smoked heirloom tomatoes. For dessert, selections include Profiteroles with cream of tequila sauce, Pay De Coco Y Canela (Coconut and Cinnamon Pie) and Tropical Cheesecake with passion fruit sauce.

Black Ceviche from La Palapa
Black Ceviche from La Palapa

Tuna Steak from La Palapa
Dessert selections from La Palapa

Chef Jesus Gibaja is owner of Gibaja Gastronomia and is host of the television show, Gibaja Cuisine. As guest Chef at Villa Premiere Hotel and Spa Puerto Vallarta, Chef Jesus said, “it is a mistake that people think Mexican food has to be hot but no, this is not true.” Chef shared that everything in Mexican food is a trilogy of corn, chili, and beans… all kinds, all varieties. When asked about his cooking style, Chef Jesus remembered his father’s cantina in Mexico City. “I never knew,” he said, “my time spent in the cantina with my father would lead to a culinary career. My father was from Spain, so that has influenced my style as well.” On the menu during the Festival, Chef Jesus served a soup that featured banana and cumin, duck crepes, trio of tuna, and lobster cooked with pork fat.
Chocolate Torte

One evening’s festivities featured a Progressive Avant-Garde Dinner in which you dine your way from appetizer to dessert at different restaurants. One stop took us to meet Chefs Bernhard Guth and Ulf Henriksson of Café Trio welcomed Chef Kristoffer Andersson as their guest chef. Chef Kristoffer, from Sweden, pleased diners with a salmon dish featuring roasted pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and fennel. Curious as to how the chef owners, Bernhard and Ulf, came to open a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta all the way from Germany and Sweden, Chef Bernhard replied, “I came here to visit and never left!” Of course, there may be a woman behind that story.
Cafe Trio

Chef Bernhard from Trio
Chef Bernhard from Trio

Salmon with Roasted Pumpkin at Trio

At The River Café, Argentina native and guest chef, Chef Marco Gabriel Fulcheri prepared a Lamb Confit that was most probably the most decadent entrée I have ever eaten. I can’t say “tasted” because there was not a morsel left on my plate. If ever there was a culinary immersion, this was it.
Lamb Confit at The River Cafe

Our grande finale for the evening was certainly grande. Café des Artistes may very well be known as the number one restaurant in Puerto Vallarta and possibly all of Mexico. Owner, Chef Thierry Blouet admires “the inner and outer beauty of every detail” and “cooks for the senses” creating compilations of color, attractive aromas and provocative textures. Chef Thierry invited Chef Carlos Gaytan to join him for this year’s Festival. Chef Carlos is the first Mexican chef to get a Michelin Star and now is Chef-Owner of Du Mexique in Chicago. For dessert, the duo presented a burst of flavors in an array of dishes including a sweet Guacamole con Queso Cotija from El Tuito. Served in a mortar and pestle, this dessert guacamole featured fresh pomegranate and cinnamon sugar wafer crisps.
Guacamole con queso at Cafe des Artistes
Dessert bar at Cafe des Artistes

It is no surprise the Festival Gourmet International just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. What Chefs Thierry, Heinz and Roland created out of “love and passion” for good taste has become the premier event for good friends new and old to celebrate the love of food, exchange ideas and share talents in a gorgeous, relaxing “avant-garde touristic destination presenting the best cuisine in Mexico” and beyond.

Chef Thierry Blouet
One of the founding chefs, Chef Thierry Blouet

Make your reservations now to attend the Festival Gourmet International 21, November 13 – 23, 2015… festivalgourmet.com

visitpuertovallarta.com

Chefs Carlos Ulloa Velazquez and Jose Ivan Loera Gonzalez of Hilton PV
Chefs Carlos Ulloa Velazquez and Jose Ivan Loera Gonzalez of Hilton PV


Dana Point IlluminOcean

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Dana Point IlluminOcean

Dana Point IlluminOcean
This stunning holiday festival of lights makes its debut in Dana Point Wednesday night, November 26, 2014 and runs through January 4, 2015. Great news… it’s FREE to the public. Dana Point IlluminOcean Holiday imagination shines bright with larger-than-life sea sculptures and moving light tunnels dotting the Southern California coastline.

Dana Point IlluminOcean will electrify the Southern California shoreline with 40 nights of holiday lights. This wonderland by the sand — created and funded by The Resorts of Dana Point to become an annual winter tradition — features a brilliant spectacle of 18 oversized lighting sculptures with over 225,000 LED lights, and is free to the public for viewing nightly at sundown through January 4, 2015.
Dana Point IlluminOcean lights

As thousands gather to celebrate the season at New York’s Rockefeller Center or Chicago’s Millennium Park, Dana Point Harbor enchants and excites visitors of all ages with a vibrant exhibition for the whole family to enjoy.

As the whale watching capital of the world, and proud stewards of the coastal ecosystems which drives most of the destination’s tourism traffic, the sea-themed holiday lighting sculptures showcase the city’s devotion to ocean preservation.

From octopus and sharks, to starfish and surfers, the dazzling displays are highlighted by a towering glow-motion tree, light tunnels stretching longer than a football field and over a dozen gigantic lighting sculptures — so big visitors can walk through and inside the belly of a glowing 40-foot Blue whale!

As visitors stroll through the colorful collection of immersive attractions, every step is filled with vibrant sights and sounds while roaming street performers entertain crowds, glow merchandise shines and “Whale Eyes” 3D glasses give a must-see holographic look at this holiday spectacle.

See the lights. Explore the sights. This year and every year, only at Dana Point IlluminOcean. For additional information, visit myDanaPoint.com.

ABOUT DANA POINT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Conveniently located in Orange County — halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles — Dana Point showcases a breathtaking collection of resort properties with an approachable elegance unique to the Southern California shoreline. Dana Point’s dramatic beauty is complemented by a distinct variety of year-round signature events, as well as boundless ocean experiences along its golden coast. Renowned as the whale watching capital of the world, Dana Point features an abundant marine life and legendary OC Dana Point Harbor that opens to an ocean of possibilities.

ABOUT DANA POINT ILLUMINOCEAN:
From November 26, 2014 through January 4, 2015, the lights come to life every night at Dana Point IlluminOcean and it is free to the public. This large-scale family holiday lighting attraction, backed by The Resorts of Dana Point with support from multiple community stakeholders, features 18 ocean-themed lighting attractions with over 225,000 LED bulbs situated along the one-mile harbor of the quintessential Southern California town of Dana Point. The oceanic holiday walking tour experience will be lit nightly at sundown, creating a festive tradition for all to enjoy for years to come.

ABOUT THE RESORTS OF DANA POINT
A collection of four luxury coastal properties—including the St. Regis Monarch Beach; The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Doubletree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach – Dana Point; and Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa—joined together in 2010 to form a Tourism Business Improvement District. Collectively, their objectives include the development and execution of promotional activity to increase leisure and meetings travel to the destination.