Category Archives: Jessica Arent

Jessica’s Journey: Adam Israel González Navarro Interview

About Adam Israel González Navarro

Adam2A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a Sunday in Guadalajara and I made mention of an exceptional man I met that evening over dinner at La Tequila, Adam Israel González Navarro. I began to expound on the impression he left with me, and the reasoning behind the great impression in that article.

Adam, at 24, is far more accomplished than many kids with many more life advantages than Adam has had. His incredible poise, his sense of assurance and confidence, and his unabashed joy at the prospect of meeting new people and sitting down to talk was just infectious!  The more he talked the more I wanted to know what made this young man tick and where he got this incredible sense of self to be the man he already is at the ripe young age of 24, going on 50.

Following is my interview with Adam Israel González Navarro.

Author:  Hi Adam! I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to interview you for Tequila Aficionado Media. In my travels around the world, I have not met a man with so much promise and assurance at such an early stage of his life, and I am inspired by you.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself, your family and upbringing and as a boy, what you wanted to be when you grew up?

adam4I’ve been involved in the gastronomic world since I was a child, thanks to a wise and expert woman, my grandmother. Even though I always had the idea of doing gastronomy as a simple hobby, since I wanted to dedicate my life to the health sciences, It was so captivating to see her cooking a huge diversity of dishes and how she literally gave her soul to this wonderful profession.

At the time I came back to Mexico, after a long journey in France, and since my hyperactivity didn’t let me stay calm, I started working as a simple kitchen helper in a Japanese Restaurant. In time I acquired knowledge and skills and could climb until I became manager of the sushi bar.

adam5Afterwards I dedicated my free time to banquets, but kept the idea of doing this as a hobby, only for amusement.

It was not until one day, when I got hired as the chef leader by a very important and popular Mexican band, that the dream of fighting and devote myself to the dinner guests was born. In that moment I challenged myself to become for life, a person who can be challenged with new missions and hand over confidence, a chef leader.

Were you a good student? Have a favorite memory? Something Inspirational that might have happened to help develop the character you have today?

adamblowingsugarI can say, school has definitively never made for me. Since primary school and because of my hyperactivity I’ve had a lot of problems staying in a 4 walls classroom. My biggest happiness is in the kitchen, where I loose time control and don’t even remember the time to go.

As every young person and thanks to my masters and teachers who have instill in me the discipline and respect for gastronomy, I’ve being able to acquire a big and strong personality and character.

What or who inspired you to want to follow the Culinary Arts as a profession? Can you share a little about this?

adam3Everything starts with Chef Daniel Martinez (a renowned chef in my native city, Aguascalientes) who gave me his trust giving me the charge of SubChef when I was 18. It was for me the, at the time, the biggest inspiration Afterwards Chef Alejandro Lechuga (member of the Mexican Pastry Team) forge me the desire of becoming a person with no limits, not only a simple student. Thanks to Alejandro I become a temporary member of the Mexican Pastry Team in Las Vegas, Nevada when we competed in a world pastry championship.

Time after that, Chef Oscar Ortega, leave me a life lesson: “there are two options; you do it perfectly or you’re no one.”

My last big life guide has being the Executive Chef at “La Tequila”. He gave me his trust and the opportunity to work in a pairing dinner with a Tequila Master. Ana Maria Romero from Indianapolis,USA. Thanks to that I could polish my skills and knowledge in Mexican food.

The fact of sharing time and skills with big personalities, made an impression on my soul. I know now, that in this world specifically in this profession nothing is free nor easy, you have to fight, you must give at every moment 101% of your heart and soul, show what you’re made of, to get what you want and become someone different.

Please tell me about your professional progression through school, opportunities, competitions, awards and recognitions?

adam 1I lived in Paris, France for 8 years, afterwards I took a Lebanese food course.

In Mexico i studied at the international gastronomy college, master of international gastronomy, and subsequently studied the Gastronomy. While I was studying, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada as a member of the MPA to compete in the World Pastry Championship as I mentioned before.

Later I participated in the National Scholar Cup in Mexico City and got the first place for the best sugar sculpture, best team and best taste.

I also studied with Ana Marìa Romero the “Process and Tequila Tasting”

What have you done in your career on your own, such as the months spent in Oaxaca without technology, to further your dreams and experiences and apply them to your ambition?

Mexican Pastry Academy AdamMonths ago I went to Oaxaca City to study the fabulous world of Mescal. Living with such humble people, was definitively an unforgettable experience that teach me a different way of life.

I’ve being improving my skills internationally, like the time I spent in Jackson Hole,Wyoming, preparing for the world junior cup.

What do you do now and what is it about the position you enjoy? Have you had inspirational moments in this position that stand out for you? If you could change something about it, what would that be?

I’m working as the Head Leader in charge of waiters, cookers at “La Tequila” a Mexican Restaurant in Guadalajara City.

My biggest inspiration is to see how families enjoy and seize the day, live the moment as one and close family, that’s what inspire me to keep giving the same service, the fact that each member spend a good moment, enjoy their food and the moment.

If I could change something it would definitively be life’s rate of people like us. It’s really hasty, we give the most part of our time, endless hours, unstable lunch hours etc.

Something I’m sure, I don’t regret anything. Each obstacle make you a better and more capable person.

What is it you aspire to? Where and what would you be doing in a perfect world? Why is this your aspiration and where will this dream take you?

adam chocolateIn a perfect world I can picture myself doing the same thing one and thousands more. Even with obstacles,achievements are more enjoyable.

My aspiration is to create and discover new things. Achieve things no one has ever done.

If you could do one thing to change your country for the better, in your industry in particular, what would that be, and why?

Nowadays dinner guests are more demanding, that’s why I would like to train, qualify, prepare or entitle new and better staff, to give the best attention, and be known as the best. To show what Mexico is capable of.

What words of wisdom do you have to those younger than yourself, with the same dreams and hopes that you have?

The only failure is to give up, you got to fight, live but never stop fighting …

Is there someone in your life now that inspires you? What is your greatest ambition for yourself? What do you hope to achieve in your lifetime?

I have two big inspirations; definitively know the reason to be. . .

My PARENTS.

My mother taught me that there are no borders which lead to a failure.

And my father taught me to never stop looking up, no matter what happens

What I hope in my life is to earn the respect for the pioneers of gastronomy and of course become one.

What is your greatest achievement to date, in your opinion?

first place adamWinning the national cup.

But above all and in spite of the circumstances, never stop looking up. That is my greatest achievement: To fall, but still getting up.

What would you like the readers to know about you that I have not asked? 

Know that I am of those who value and appreciate what he has, that I have concerns of emigrating to share my knowledge but above all, lead others.

It was not this writer’s intent to edit the answers as quoted by Adam. There is in fact a language issue, obviously, but what came through was Adam. Plain and simple.  Altering the text to read exactly right in English seemed to take away from the authenticity of the interviewed, so it is this writer’s hope you look past the grammatical issues to read the interview as it occurred without altering the style or words or method of translation on Adam’s part.

Adam dreams of working in the United States or Canada. In Mexico, his income doesn’t equate to the fare of a bus across town in any major U.S city! It seems sad that someone with so much potential drive and ambition shouldn’t be recognized to live his dreams. It is why I wanted to highlight Adam and bring special light and attention to this incredible young man. Beyond the dining experience at La Tequila in Guadalajara it was Adam who really made the meal and our evening. He inspired me in so many ways and left me in awe.

If you are interested in speaking with Adam or reaching him please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

jessica arent, jessica's journey, mexico, tequila, tequila aficionadoAbout Jessica Arent

Jessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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Jessica’s Journey: Dreaming of Mexico

tequila tour, Dreaming of MexicoI have been reading a lot lately about a new tequila tour being offered by the Four Season’s Hotel and Resort in Punta Mita. I wrote about it in my own personal blog and while I expounded on the tour itself I did not go into detail about the beach resort and I should have. However in the days since, I have moved away in thought from Punta Mita and gone somewhere else.

As the winter begins to take over the brief period of Autumn I light the fire in my office, pull up a chair and set out my snifter of Anejo. I would tell you what I am drinking but I am not yet allowed. I can tell you its seven year aged and it is very, very smooth.

autumn, colorado, Dreaming of MexicoThe sun is setting over the Rockies to the west and casts shadows in the valley toward Kansas to the east. The aspen leaves have all turned their hues of yellows and oranges and most have shuddered their last leaves while the maple trees turn their brilliant reds and cinnamons and soon too will flutter to the ground. The air smells of pine and a new crisp, clear flavor lingers.  I dread the onset of the winter season and the bleak snow. I dread the cold that settles in and the effort it takes to get dressed and go out the front door. I hate the idea that soon the coyotes will stop baying with the moon and go quiet and the birds will emerge only for a few hours a day. I dread the barren trees and the grey sky and the abyss of white.

tulum, Dreaming of MexicoTo soothe my restless cold spirit I begin to think of warmer climates and sun and beach. I dream of places south of the border in the Gulf of Mexico where minimum dress code is enforced and my tan never fades. I begin to think of who I might visit again and which friends and family will have me this winter. And this winter, it’s decided. Cancun.

I love the diversity of the area of Cancun. While the beach resorts are great, housing phenomenal amenities and services and offering 4 through 6 star accommodations throughout the destination there are smaller, quaint ideals for this girl, and an atmosphere all together slower paced.

 

villa albatross, villa albatros, Dreaming of Mexico

 

Villa Albatros calls Cancun home. A luxurious and beautiful villa right on its own private beach and water front is the best of the best in my opinion in Cancun.

cancun-albatroz-rooms15Tastefully appointed, Villa Albatross is a hacienda style villa with a main gated door within a retaining wall, to a lush entry garden. Within the main foyer is a large seating area that welcomes guests in textiles and hues that life the senses and beg for relaxation.

This stylish and luxurious hide-away boutique experience offers waterfront rooms, with luxury linens and beautifully ornate traditional Mexican furnishings. The entire villa faces out to the cerulean water for optimum views from any bed in any room of the house. Each has a private bath and each has its own character in luxury.

What makes this particular Villa the ultimate in luxury experiences is the service. Beyond the appointments and luxurious details throughout the villa, is the standard of excellence and service that is bar none the best I have seen anywhere.

Run by a partnership Robert and Andre’ respectively come from hospitality and service backgrounds that boast credentials of the best in class, The Ritz Carlton Corporation. Having achieved the hospitality education and standard of service of a lifetime they took this standard and applied it to Villa Albatross.

albatross1Their onsite chef is a culinary artist in every facet from menu concept to pairings. The service staff is on hand and on call to cater to every need, desire or whim. The service and product is beyond exemplary and this home is available either exclusively for one large party or by “habitacion” and availability.

I have had the pleasure of introducing extraordinary tequila’s to this lovely hacienda, and I can tell you based on experience their tequila menu is extensive and well informed. However I am sure that were you to desire anything special in tequila or spirits and they didn’t have it, this team would make sure it was there and ready upon your arrival. It is a World Class Experience at Villa Albatross.

In addition to the boutique villa experience, my visits to Cancun tend to take me well out of the tourist zones and further up the coast to remote beaches full of “Palapas” and hammocks meant for lounging all afternoon.

White Sandy beaches line the coast off the Yucatan and you can drive for miles and miles and it seems you never run out of beach. One of my favorite stops is Tulum. A little bitty pit stop, blink and you miss it, kind of place, Tulum is a surfers and beach bums paradise. Condos every here and there sprinkled about are tucked behind lush palm trees and green fern. Tucked up to the beach. There they are, out of nowhere. And behind them on the beach, usually a beach hut of a bar. Operated by one guy with swings rigged for bar stools and maybe an occupancy at the bar for a total of six. The beer is ice cold, the tequila off the hook and usually the fare is the fresh catch of the day including fresh grilled sea tortoise tacos! I have eaten them. Tastes like pollo!

The whole lunch with the beer? Maybe seventy pesos. That’s an exchange of $13.00 USD to one, you do the math. For that you cannot get a Happy Meal with a side of cardiac arrest in the states! And let’s be honest, on a scale of one to ten, the health meter on that lunch is off the scale. I always tend to lose weight when in Mexico. I eat so much healthier.

This entire Yucatan region of Mexico is technically in the rain forest. The climate is very humid and the air is sometimes chewy, for lack of a better expression. While my native friends complain of the damage the climate has on their clothes and linens, as mildew grows very quickly in this climate, the benefit if you are a nature lover is the accessibility to the natural habitats of the wildlife that exists within the tropical rain forest. It is extraordinary from the size of the bugs to the fresh water bat caves called “Cenotes”. These are grottos that hold cold fresh water year round under the earth.

There are innumerable exhibition areas that offer passes to controlled parks by the tourism board offering tours of the rainforest, swimming with dolphins, cave diving, zip lining under the canopy, and hand to hand exposure to monkeys, parrots and wildlife one might not otherwise see or experience. These attractions are the pride of the state as much has been invested in the renovation and preservation of the exhibit and park.

Home of the Aztecs and the source of Cowboy pride in the Yucatan, the charreada sister city to Guadalajara is Cancun. Many descendants of the pride of the Charro’s live today in the Cancun Merida areas and ranching and horsemanship is a way of life, steeped deep in tradition and sportsmanship.

charro1This year Cancun is getting a very exciting destination addition, Hacienda Isabel.  Slated to open the first week of November, Hacienda Isabel is the labor of love of the Charreada Society of Cowboys in Cancun. Funded by one of the most notorious charro’s in all of Mexico this exhibition center will offer the glory and athleticism of the charro, including showcase the love, trust and loyalty between man and horse and the romance of the time honored traditions of the charreada.

Part of Hacienda Isabel includes a restaurant which will serve the best of the local fare and some of the ranchero or charro favorites of the region and will be sponsored exclusively by one exceptional tequila to be announced. Hacienda Isabel is centrally located in the tourist district of Cancun and easily accessed via any concierge desk to book your reservation.

“Sunsets” in Cancun is ultimately the place to spend the evening. Sitting above the harbor of Cancun and of course a backdrop of a wall of glass, I will order a wonderful tequila, from the extensive list, and sit and swill while I witness the epically beautiful sunset that paints an extraordinary picture over Cancun every night.  I will watch the boats come in and go out of the harbor, as they raise sails and cinch them. I will watch the sun glisten and reflect off the water as it sets, in the same brilliance my anejo will reflect in my Riedel snifter, and I will watch the waves rise and fall with the same impressions of the crown left cascading down the inside of my glass after I have swirled it in my hand.

sunset2There is a great deal more to Cancun than the tourist highlights of spring break. There is an entirely different side to this destination yet unknown. There are gourmet chocolate restaurants in which every single menu item either savory or sweet is made with the rich cocoa of the region. The influence being the Aztec Indians. Every menu item suggests either a wine or a tequila pairing.

There are wine bars that have wine menus that take you quite literally around the world in thousands upon thousands of bottles. There are upscale luxury shopping malls that house retailers known around the world such as Coach, Louis Vuitton and Prada. There are upscale luxury services and experiences that take your breath away and leave even the rich and famous speechless.

For myself, Cancun is home in many respects. I have family there and friends that I look forward to seeing when I visit. We catch up and spend quality time together. We enjoy one another and reminisce of times past and great experiences and we always do it over a bottle or ten of the newest favorite on my list. It is how it is done in Mexico. Everything, especially friends, goes best with a great tequila.

snowThe last product I took to Cancun had one bottle withheld to send as a gift to the Governor of the State for his birthday. He loved it so much, he ordered his own pallet to have in his cellar. That is a good day’s work when the juice is so good all it took was a sip to sell 56 cases!

The snow floats by the window in silence as it begins to quietly fall under the lamplight outside. The air much colder now than it was when I began writing this, and my snifter nearly empty. It is eerily silent and the cold creeps deep into my bones. I open Expedia and type in “Denver to Cancun”.

 
 

jessica Arent, Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyJessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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Jessica’s Journey – Herradura’s Perro Borachito

Herradura Distillery Tour

Herradura Herradura! You know the name. It’s everywhere. Every liquor store, bar, and restaurant that serves tequila likely serves Herradura, a brand that seems lesser known than Sauza or Jose Cuervo, but is the oldest distillery still intact and operating in Tequila, Mexico.

We pulled up to a traditional hacienda on a dirt road. The front gates opened only slightly to an interior courtyard and we saw three men in traditional charro garments, astride three chestnut mares. A boy, roughly ten years old or so, emerged from the massive wood doors with his donkey in tow.

The building was nondescript. The retaining walls surrounding the courtyard from the street are a muddied yellow from recent storms kicking up dirt into the paint. To the left of the massive oak doors was a simple sign: “Casa Herradura”.

Entering the gates into the courtyard is like walking onto a film set. Unlike to the dusty dry dirt road we arrived on, a hand laid cobblestone road lie before us, leading to another set of massive wood gates set in another retaining wall and surrounded by lush foliage and bright colors.

haciendaH1On either side of the cobblestone road were small bungalows painted blue and yellow and pink with carefully tended front gardens lining the walls to the outside world. Magnolia trees stretched up as high as I could see, full of bountiful white flowers emitting the sweetest fragrance.  Women emerged from dark shadowed doorways looking busy sweeping but more likely looking for an excuse to get a look at this group of tourists taking in the scene.

dog1From a doorway on the right came what appeared to be a small toy. Fluffy and white with a low center of gravity, with great big floppy ears and big dark eyes, this dog stole the hearts of everyone with a wag of his tail! I don’t know that I have ever seen a pet look so much like a child’s toy but what was unnerving was the energy of this puppy. He seemed so silly. He cocked his little head from side to side as we each bent down to adore his overwhelming cuteness.  All I could think was that there was something “off” with this dog of epic cuteness.

A woman’s voice broke in, pulling our focus from the dog and instructing us to gather as our tour was about to begin. “This is Herradura and this is the oldest tequila distillery in Mexico still in operation” she began.

The gates opened for us and we passed through them. I turned around to watch the gates close, taking note of the dog sitting obediently on the other side of the closing gates. Following the docent, the story of Herradura began to unfold.

The Herradura Love Story

herradura, hacienda In Mexico every story begins with a love story. There are very few exceptions. As it is with all thing’s Mexico, there is a romantic story of intrigue and perseverance, overcoming all odds in this seemingly perfect place.

This love story begins with Félix and Carmen. A lucky man at the age of 45, Félix López meets and marries the beautiful and determined eighteen year-old, Carmen Rosales. Of this great love and union came two children, Aurelio, and Maria de Jesús (Jesusita.). The union of this couple and their family legacy brought the modern production of tequila to the Hacienda and together they built a factory that remained in the family and was used until 1963.

Félix López died in 1878. He left the future of the Hacienda in the hands of his young wife. Carmen’s brother Ambrosio Rosales and his wife, Elisa Gomez Cuervo de Rosales, step in and help Carmen with Ambrosio running the estate with great success for many years. As is Mexican custom, the property was to be handed down to Félix López’s son but Ambrosio taught the business to Carmen’s son, Aurelio, as well.
Pretty normal thus far, right?

Here is where the story gets good! Aurelio, a traditionalist and fervent Catholic, eventually takes control of Hacienda San José del Refugio, and throws himself into the production of this Mexican Moonshine, the family tequila, and he gives it the name of “Herradura”.

Cristero Rebellion

herradura, hacienda The distillery was threatened by the Cristero Rebellion (La Cristiada), a bloody battle between the Catholic Church and the State of Jalisco (1926-1929). In an effort to limit the incredible political stronghold of the Catholic Church, the federal government began harassing priests, outlawed the practice of Catholicism, and banned the display of all crosses. To make an example of the offenders of these newly enacted laws, trees and posts were strung with the bodies of offenders as a clear and callous reminder of the ramifications of disobeying the new laws. Before long, priests were being hunted down and killed. Those people who stood up against the government were called “Cristeros”.

Aurelio worked tirelessly on behalf of the Cristeros. He put out a call to the workers of the Hacienda to join the fight, provided financing, and gave shelter to priests and supporters at the hacienda. Built within the walls and confines of the Hacienda were endless tunnels that wove a tapestry beneath the Hacienda and all of Amatitán. Aurelio was later recognized for his brave and courageous hospitality and blessed with the official title “El Cristero”.

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum In 1927, the government began raids on the homes of Cristero sympathizers, and Aurelio was well aware that his life was at risk. Devising a plan to escape, he tricks the advancing federal soldiers. The Hacienda had a large store of wooden balls which were designed to crush agave. They were of little use for that, but by placing them around the perimeter walls of the hacienda, and outfitting them with hats and sticks, the advancing soldiers believed that the Hacienda was a well-fortified fortress and turned back. Aurelio and his sister made their escape through the tunnel system and into the countryside. It was later speculated that Aurelio spent three years in exile and safety at the Vatican before he came back to México. Sadly he never returned to the hacienda.

When Aurelio fled the country, he left the Hacienda in the care of his cousin, David Rosales, the son of Ambrosio. At a time when mixto tequila (tequila made with the addition of sugar) was becoming a method of cutting expenses, Don David insisted that Herradura remain 100% agave tequila, maintaining the integrity of the family tradition. In November of 1928, the brand of “Tequila Herradura” was officially registered with the government in Mexico City —with the horseshoe as the logo.

Herradura’s Renaissance

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum The property took you through the time of the story maintaining its original architecture and layout with the exception of the newer distillery implemented by Doña Gabriela de la Peña Rosales.

Hacienda San José del Refugio attributes much to the oversight of Doña Gabriela de la Peña Rosales. Married to an heir of the hacienda and finding herself a widow not long thereafter, she was a stunning beauty, of notorious legend, and worked harder than anyone else on the Hacienda. She was up with the sun every morning to greet the workers at breakfast, looked at accounts over lunch, then headed into Guadalajara to make sales in the afternoon. It was under Doña Gabriela’s supervision that a modern distillery was built, keeping the Old Factory as a museum. She introduced Herradura añejo tequila in 1962, and introduced the world to reposado in 1974.

herradura, hacienda, distillery, museum We went on a museum tour of the original distillery within the walls of deep old adobe, passing windows on tunnels that led deep under the distillery and down, down, down into darkness. We saw the wells in which the pinas were thrown and the system used to pull the great wheels that crushed the pinas. The docent explainined that at first it was a man that pushed the massive wheel in circles hour after hour and later lead a mule or burro to pull the weight over the pinas. We saw the ovens in which the agaves were cooked to a perfect temperature and texture for fermentation and the walls of white and French oak casks for the storage of the extracted juices. We were transported back to a time when manual labor meant putting two hands in and then if necessary all of you in.

Seriously!!

casksherraDid you know that some tequila fermented faster with sweat? It is a fact.
The jimador would come in from the field and strip down to nothing. He would then climb into the vat or well with the cooked agave and as the pinas were dropped one by one into the vats, he would wrap his entire body around the core of the agave, and squeeze with all of his might until the juice extracted from the plant. Then the plant was pushed back out to be used for other purposes similar to the way we use hemp today. This was done because the yeast was activated by the acids of the body and the PH from the sweat interacted with the juice, creating a faster sugar decomposition and ultimately alcohol. Mexican Moonshine old school!

We concluded with a tasting. The docent didn’t realize she was educating the educated. With a charming smile and an enigmatic personality, she enthusiastically told us the proper way to take the sip, inhale and exhale, and taste the notes of the varietals of the Herradura flight of products.

Canine Connoisseur

dog3Coming out of the distillery into the light of day, I remember turning my face up to the sun and breathing in yet one more breathtaking moment of my beloved Mexico and her rich history. And then I was pulled back by a commotion happening in the distillery. There beneath the shiny modern vats was that dog, taunting the security guard who yelled at him for being “borracho”. The dog dodged the security guard, dipping behind and under the heavy steel machines until he fell over. Just fell over.

The security guard reached down gently and picked up the dog like a toy. As the man brought the lifeless animal up to his chest, it looked like a rag doll. The irritated security guard marched off toward the bungalows shaking his head as he cradled the dog to his chest and muttered to himself.

My face must have registered the horror I thought I had witnessed. I stood there bewildered as the man was so calm with the dog’s lifeless body in his arms. I couldn’t quite grasp the casual demeanor and irritation he exhibited when he reached down to scoop up the collapsed animal either. It seemed so surreal. That’s when the docent marched up to me with a great big smile and said “Don’t worry Senora, the puppy is just borracho”.

Seems the “silly” puppy lives in a state of tequila euphoria. His preferred station is beneath the drip leak of the distillation vats. He is a canine tequila junkie and they cannot keep him from his “habit” no matter how hard they try. The dog has grown to be adept in his search for tequila. He has mastered dodging security, sneaking under the gates, sitting under the dripping vat, and once he has had his fill, passing out cold. Obviously he has no care for moderation or sipping responsibly.

 

jessica Arent, Sauza History, tequila, jessica arent, tequila aficionado, la cofradia, jaime sauza, cuervo, distillery, wine, dobecq, brandyJessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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Jessica’s Journey: Sunday in Guadalajara

Nothing Mundane about Sunday in Guadalajara

by Jessica Arent

 

Brunch

ahos, huevos ahogadosSunday, typically the only day off for those who work in Mexico, is a day of rest and socializing. Instead of working, this was the day I got to experience some of Guadalajara.

The day began with brunch at the hotel restaurant. Guadalajara is known for “Huevos Ahogados” (drowned eggs), and everywhere you look throughout the city, there are restaurant signs boasting that each has a better recipe or version than the next.

Seeing this everywhere, and having heard all about them from my good friend and marketing director from Casa Noble Tequila, Dave Yan, I decided this was the morning I had to try them. Whenever I inquired, I was told that the flavors of the dish are subtle and simple, yet still they produce a rich and creamy result. My darling tequila enthusiasts, I am told Huevos Ahogados have mystical properties of healing “Crudo” making this breakfast dish the ultimate, if not magical, hangover cure! Honestly I just wanted to bathe in all that yummy sauce!

Hollandaise move over! It’s an easy break up. Ahogados win hands down.

Poached eggs in a light, thin salsa is the base of the dish. Served atop Mexican savory pastry, like that of a light biscuit; this dish was incredible. While I did not have a hangover, I could clearly understand how this dish could be the antidote to “crudo” (hangovers).

Teatro Degollado

With brunch concluded we head out to the center of the city; Destination the world famous Ballet Folclorico.
Held at the Teatro Degollado in the Central Plaza of Gudalajara, the theater was intended to be a monument of Guadalajara’s culture.

Inaugurated on September 1866 Teatro Degollado was said to “breathe life through its innovative beauty”. Degollado Theater was the outcome of Mexico’s 1800’s theatrical movement. There was a high demand for a great theater in Guadalajara. In response to the demand, on October 1, 1855, Antonio Perez Verdia proposed the construction of “Alarcon Theater” to the current governor of the time, Santos Degollado. By December 12 of that same year, Degollado signed the official decree to build the structure, and by March, 1856, Degollado set the first cornerstone of the building. April 1856, Jacobo Galvez was appointed to lead the initial construction of the theater. Unfortunately, due to a three year war in Mexico, and the change of government within the dispute, the completion of the project was slow. On November 12, 1861, Governor Pedro Amazon decided to change the proposed name of the project from “Alarcon Theater” to “Teatro Degollado “, after the ex-governor and general at the time of his death, Santos Degollado (killed in a battle on June 16, 1861). This change of name was not acknowledged at the time of inauguration, instead it was not until December 18, 1866, when Mexican liberal troops regained control of the plaza where the theater is located, that the name was officially recognized. See Wikipedia

I have had the opportunity to see theater around the world in some of the most beautiful venues. From London to Mexico, I can honestly say this theater might have been among the most impressive architecturally.

Teatro Degollado has been under renovation in recent years with a focus to improve the interior design. Adding paintings and giving it its current red and gold hues and colors, has been the most recent of renovations and beautification to this architectural masterpiece.

Before the theater’s first inauguration, Gerardo Suarez and Carlos Villasenor decorated the theater with a mural representing Dante Alighieri’s “Fourth song in the Divine Comedy”.

On 1877, Fermin Riestra was ordered to continue with the construction of the building; a three year process on which a gilded eagle holding a Mexican flag on its talons and a chain on its beak was placed on the center of the inner arch of the building. Within the three year construction, Felipe Castro painted the murals “Time and Hours” and “The Fame” on the proscenium arch. Between 1880 and 1890, the stucco on the concert hall was completed and a golden color was added to the interior walls. By 1893, tiles were removed from the stage, due to the lack of support they provided for the structure, and were replaced by a metal arch. Between 1909 and 1910 artist Roberto Montenegro focused on the reconstruction and decoration of the interior of the building which included the addition of a crystal lamp on the theater’s vault. Fifty years later, architect Ignacio Diaz Morales was in charge of a complete restoration of the building where sculptures by Benito Castaneda replaced Venetian mosaics. In May 2001, a chamber hall with capacity of 200 people was added to the inside of the building. What is extraordinary in the renovation and additions is that the architecture and the design of the building has not been compromised nor altered to update, but instead has kept its historical charm.

The theater’s exterior still holds its artistic origins as well. Thus, the architecture of the building age has not been compromised either. Between 1953 and 1959 Montenegro painted the mosaic of Apollo and the nine muses on the pediment of the theater. The portico supporting the pediment consists of 16 Corinthian columns. I was told upon inquiry of the docent that day that when Ignacio Diaz was in charge of the renovation of the theater, he ordered the engraving of the phrase “May we never get the rumor of discord” along Montenegro’s mosaic on the main entrance. Sadly she could not explain the meaning behind it and we are all subject to the interpretation we create for ourselves.
Produced and performed by the University of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, the “stamping” of the men and women of the Ballet Folclorico echoed throughout the theater, showing us the history and diverse culture of Mexico through music and dance, in order to seduce the hearts of those who observe and experience the production into a deep love of a country.

Sitting in the grand theater, from the first note, the music in the steps, the infectious rhythm and movements, and the vibrant colors and faces of the dancers, took us on a breathtaking musical journey throughout Mexico. Highlighting her cultures and subcultures, so that the audience would have the entire country experience: intense Mexico. Passionate Mexico. Wounded Mexico. Rejoiced Mexico. Solemn Mexico. Spectacular Mexico. There was not a moment the audience was not transfixed by the performance happening before them as they took this extraordinary rollercoaster ride of visual brilliance, music inspired emotion and country pride.

The pride of Guadalajara’s Arts and Culture, The Folkloric Ballet of the University of Guadalajara, has been a standing theatrical production every Sunday for nearly a century. This production contributes to the national heritage of Mexico. A collaboration of dances that transcend their origins, transcends time, and paved roads towards the world of onlookers to understand the diversity of the country and the traditions held so close to the heart, one becomes acutely aware that there is more history to this country than we know.

It is the effort of the production company to bring forth ancestry; grandparents and parents dancing themselves. What comes across to the audience through those performing on that stage, were the proud sons and daughters of that story; the dancers formed roots in their performance, with the artistry and mastery of choreography that spoke of love stories, and romance, traditions and values.

aztec, GuadalajaraThe production opened with a drum beat and an Ancient Aztec Warrior among his tribe calling to the God’s. The Aztec Dance, “Danza Azteca” in Spanish and “Mi’totiliztli” in Nahuatl is one of the most common manifestations of the native people of Mexico during the Pre-Columbian era. Danza Azteca represents man’s eternal search for cosmic harmony and integration. Presented without instruments, and instead through the rhythmic beating of their stamping feet and chanting. The chants express the process of physically and spiritually finding oneself. The dance has been referenced as a form of prayer to the gods and goddesses and epitomizes a way of life practiced by the Aztecs.

Guerrero From the root of the Mexican culture of the Aztecs, the Folclorio Ballet Company took us on a journey from region to region, presenting the audience with Guerrero next. guerrero1A tropical region on the Pacific coast of Mexico, this area was home to a large portion of Asians and also served as a safe haven for black run-away slaves who had been displaced all over Latin America due to the Spanish slave trade. Their cultural influences are apparent in the dances and musical instrumentation in Guerrero. The drum rhythms played in cumbias and salsas are derived from the African integration into Mexico.

yucatan The Yucatan dances and music are known as “mestizos” due to the Spanish and African influence. Some of the dances, such as “Jarabillos”, are of indigenous origins. yucatan2When Europeans colonized and settled in Mexican lands, they brought their traditional dances, attire, and music, which was eventually dispersed throughout the country and mixed with the indigenous culture. In some performances, romantic serenades are sung by men and dedicated to a woman in attempt to capture her heart.

The Spanish influence on the eastern coast of Mexico is deep due the accessibility of trading ports in the area which made it a key location for colonization in the Americas. Presenting the state of Vera Cruz in particular, the dancers performed a series of pieces. veracruzTo the audience’s sheer delight, “La Bamba” is considered Veracruz’s anthem, and was a focal piece of the performance, which of course prompted audience engagement. A fun song no matter where in the world you are, the music of Vera Cruz evidenced by “La Bamba” contains Afro-Cuban percussion’s and rhythms. The dance itself, however is an expression of courtship and incorporates an intricate footwork routine where the partners tie a ribbon into a bow using only their feet.

Sinaloa is steeped in history and legend, offering a vibrantly colorful essence in regards to their folklore. This segment of the performance focused on the deep dogma of the culture and Carnival of Mazatlan.Sinaloa With this area’s significant influences of the Indians, Mixtec, Zapotec, Nahuatl, Triqui Tarahumara , Mayan, and Yaqui Tlapanec have had influence in the region costuming. The German and Austrian influence in earlier settlement years has lent the polka rhythm that is “Banda”. This genre of music has become very popular in the country. Makes sense to me now why when in Mazatlan, I have heard Banda, I have wanted to bust out into the Chicken Dance!

jalisco jaliscoOf course the grand finale of this colorful, musical journey could be none other than the immediate region and a focus on the great state of Jalisco. You know THE most recognized and symbolic Mexican folkloric dance comes from the state of Jalisco? This dance embodies the spirit and culture of Mexico…

Come on; I know you know it?!

The typical outfit for men consists of the “charro suit” and a wide sombrero with silver trim. Much of this tradition is based on the chivalry of the charro’ and the connection to ranch life in Jalisco.

Got that dance yet?

Okay! Okay! We closed with the most recognized and symbolic Mexican folkloric from the state of Jalisco. The Mexican Hat Dance. Duh!!!

Not only was I surprised to learn and understand that each region or state has its own source of pride, culture and traditions, but moreover the costumes that represent each of these states seemed just as diverse. With the costume of each rendering, we saw embroidered skirts and blouses from simple design to the most detailed and colorful designs imaginable. Skirts of various textiles, colors, with great expanse and color when pulled up and opened out like fans by the dancers. It was my observation that one consistent theme translated to the audience through each performance. Mexico is and continues to be the most romantic, love focused country in the world in my estimation. The theme of romance and relationships and young love traveled with us on the musical journey and no sight was more beautiful in this spectators eyes.

Mexico is Love.

The Plaza

By the time we emerged from the theater, the afternoon was, for the most part, gone. We were already into the early evening hours. Looking around though, you would not know it. The plaza was a sea of people, families and children. A community gathering in the traditional way, the center plaza to talk, gossip, catch up on the week or simply sit quietly on a bench and smoke a cigar, it was as if we, the tourists and obvious outsiders were not even there. Children ran everywhere, babies cried, mothers laughed, grandparents scolded, boys showed off their machismo and pretended to be indifferent to girls who tossed their long dark tresses and bat dark heavily lashed eyes in flirtation. A storybook picture on a lush green plaza beneath a crisp white gazebo in the land of romance.

A few meters beyond the plaza central is a historic neighborhood filled with the original haciendas and mansions of Guadalajara. Because the city is deep into a green eco-friendly movement these streets were blocked off. Regularly scheduled for every Sunday, the effort to promote the importance of environment and personal health is the driving force behind this picturesque scene. The street was alight with lovers walking hand in hand, kids skating on skateboards and rollerblades, families on bikes and people of all shapes and sizes walking dogs and promenading up and down these city streets. The Haciendas rose up from behind lush green gardens aromatic with brilliantly colored Hibiscus, and Birds- of-Paradise emerging from gigantic ferns and lush foliage. The European influenced architecture of these impressive mansions made each a statement. It seemed as I looked up and down the avenue each home and garden was more impressive than the next, each possessing its own character and beauty.

What Do You Pair With Grasshoppers?

grasshopper, grasshopper tacoExhausted, my companions called it a day and seeing the opportunity to get together with an old friend for dinner, I made arrangements to meet my friend at “La Tequila” for a taste of Guadalajara and some tequila pairings. I was told this was walking distance from my hotel and would prove to be an epicurean experience of a lifetime.

A two story restaurant and bar in a residential neighborhood, featuring the best flavors of Guadalajara and the state of Jalisco and a long, long, long list of tequilas to choose from to pair with your meal or appetizer. Get this, the menu offers suggestions for tequila pairings with each menu item, including Grasshopper Tacos. Not bad, huh? It is a Tequila Enthusiasts dream…except those pesky grasshoppers.

You see these little darlings had been the theme of the week since arriving it seemed. A delicacy of the region like that of the Ahogados, everyone keeps a jar in some marinade, dried state, or specially flavored grasshoppers. It really isn’t pretty. Little legs. Wings. Bodies…. A recipe for a horror flick in my mind, I had so far managed to graciously beg off the little buggars throughout the week. I was not about to change that now……

La Tequila specializes in the dishes of the state of Jalisco and is nothing short of extraordinary. I savored rich aromatic flavors in fresh ahi, and duck confit.

At some point not long into our table service I asked our server for a copy of the menu, explaining I was writing this series and I wanted to share the restaurant with my readers. It was not long after a very young man approached our table and introduced himself with great pride as the General Manager of the establishment. I say very young because as it turns out, Adam was not more than a year older than my own daughter of 22. I was taken aback by his composure, confidence and self-assurance. Intrigued, I drew him deep into conversation to learn more about this young man. There was a caveat to the acquisition of his story; I HAD to try the grasshoppers. So curiosity prevailed and summoning my courage, and fighting down my gag reflex, I did my best to shut out the idea that I was voluntarily sliding big fat juicy summer bugs into my mouth, I ate grasshopper tacos. Yep. You read that right.

G R A S S H O P P E R in this girl’s mouth.

As it turns out, if you close your eyes and you don’t think about it, they are pretty good. A bit on the crunchy side with a bit of a “smooshy” inside feel, the little juicy red (marinated in a red sauce) prehistoric looking protein buggers weren’t too bad. I will be honest, I won’t be eating them a second time and I sure did not order a second helping of them, but I had the experience and notably picked legs out from between my teeth for some time thereafter. And all the while there stood Adam, a huge grin on his face and an insistent “Es Bueno, no?” exhuberantly escaping his lips. I mustered a smile and with all the enthusiasm in the world I could possibly muster I agreed emphatically and returned a “now I know what I have been missing”.

So Adam’s story in a nutshell?

Overqualified & Underpaid in Mexico

24 years old, raised in both Paris and Guadalajara, Adam was selected to attend the Cordon Bleu Culinary School of Paris, France. Studying savories and pastries, Adam has a degree in these from this notorious school. Further is a degree in Restaurant Management both front of house and back of house from the University in Guadalajara. Adam went on to tell us that his experiences in food have seen him personally selected to work alongside some of the most impressive world renown chef’s in the world, and it is Adam’s dream to take these skills and bring them to the United States.

Adam told me that he felt there was a market for the delicacies of ancestors and the indigenous people of Mexico and in an effort to completely emerge and learn the cuisine, he took six months and moved to Oaxaca.

burro, oaxacaNo cell phone. No running water. No electricity.

Open fire cooking. Earthenware and stone pots are still used. The land is harvested for spices and flavor infusions and all the food for the mountain Indians is grown within the community. They are removed from society, technology and access and the only way in or out?

A burro. That’s a furry taxi, low center of gravity, usually identified in grey or black with a long front end nose and super backend hydraulics for tailgaters. Slower paced than the taxi’s we are familiar with, the Burro is still a means of transportation into the back country of Mexico. It is how Adam got to Oaxaca where, for six solid months, he disconnected from Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Viber, Twitter and Pintrest. It is where he disconnected from his family and shut off the phone. Where landlines don’t exist and Verizon still can’t hear you now. This remarkable driven kid, aspired to be unique and great and immerse into a subchapter of his own culture to bring better flavor and new innovative authentic flavors to the market.

Adam earns less than $10.00 USD a day in his position at La Tequila. He is among the better paid for Guadalajara. To put this in perspective the same position, with the credentials of this young aspiring food artist, in the United States starts at a salary of $50,000.00. The math? $160 a day on a six day work week USD to his $10.00 a day on his six day work week.

This young man was extraordinary. His demeanor and service standard exemplary and obviously an expression of his education. I wanted to bring him home and find him a job! If you happen to be reading this, and you are in the market for talent that is rare, Adam dreams of coming into the United States or Canada where his skills and intuitive talents will be recognized and appreciated and welcomes any and all interest! I am totally vouching for this incredible talent! (Contact me if interested)

The evening ended in the hotel bar with a snifter of aromatic seven year aged Anejo. The perfect nightcap to an amazing day.

Every day is an adventure in this world……every day.

jessica arent, jessica's journey, mexico, tequila, tequila aficionadoAbout Jessica Arent

Jessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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Jessica’s Journey Interrupted Due to Hurricane Odile

I must interrupt my epic tequila journey with news of  Hurricane Odile

By Jessica Arent

 

villaAnyone that knows me knows Cabo San Lucas is my home away from home. I find myself worrisome and agitated as I await word of the many I call “family” and “friend” who are unaccounted for and unreachable. Since Sunday night I have found myself turning over and over with concern, as the Hurricane ravaged beautiful Los Cabos, Mexico.

Last Saturday, Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose Del Cabo were tranquil trendy hotspots for getaway weekends and sun seekers. The entire Baja Peninsula is a thriving, luxury destination for those who seek an experience beyond the expected.

VWdealerCabo San Lucas is the place where earth, sea, and sky meet, where the sunset is spectacular and the fun in the sun never ends. It is home to celebrities and expats alike.  Cabo San Lucas, the corridor of the Peninsula, and San Jose Del Cabo are, in my opinion, the most beautiful destinations in the northern hemisphere.

Luxury golf courses, resorts, and spas line the Sea Of Cortez.  Each more spectacular and luxurious than the next, creating beachfront path of luxury all the way up the peninsula from San Jose to Cabo San Lucas.  You’ll find luxury shopping malls and art galleries, $25,000 per night villas and hotel rooms costing thousands per night.  Los Cabos has a world reputation for service and extraordinary experiences.  Cruise line passengers rub elbows with the rich and famous here. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is the place to go to drench yourself in fun and sun. This was the place I planned to call “home” as early as next year, where I wanted to lay my head for the next twenty years.

Tourists, Mexico Military PlaneBut that was last week.

Today, Baja has been ravaged by Hurricane Odile, one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the history of the peninsula, a Category 4. At 10:45MST Hurricane Odile made landfall on the Baja Peninsula leaving destruction likened only to that of Hurricane Katrina.

Cabo San Lucas sits at “Land’s End”, at the tip of Mexico’s Baja, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. At the other side of the peninsula lies San Jose Del Cabo, on the edge of the Sea of Cortez and home to the locals who work in the shops, stores, hotels, restaurants, taxis, and other vendors and providers that make Cabo San Lucas the hot Mexican destination it is. It is San Jose Del Cabo that appears by all accounts to have been the hardest hit by this devastating act of nature.

temp shelterCNN is filtering images of entire barrios flattened. The hotels along the beachfront are shown with ceilings falling in and pools washing out into the sea. Tourists stacked up in stairwells in hotels and resorts were photographed riding out the storm.

playa grande hotelThere is looting and desperation in the aftermath. 600 guests are reportedly trapped within the compound of the RIU Resort, surrounded by flood waters, with no drinking water and limited food supplies. Grocery stores lie collapsed. Roads, highways, and the International Airport are flooded with debris. The FAA is stating no operations before October 10, 2014.   Military planes have been engaged to evacuate some of the 30,000 tourists trapped in Los Cabos, flying them to Mazatlán and Guadalajara to get home.

rstaurantCabo is in truth a third world community. Water is not pumped into homes and is trucked in and stored in “pilas” or wells. It is difficult for the water companies to bypass the destruction of the roads to get water to the community. Add to this a peninsula-wide power outage that has hotels running on generators and homes without electricity in sweltering heat.  As if all of this weren’t enough, there is the threat of another hurricane forming with a path that could have it making landfall on the same exact path as Odile.

Mitsubishi motorsCabo is home to many Canadian and American expats. Multi-million dollar homes are what usually come to mind when one references the destination. We think of swaying palm trees and $1000 per night luxury hotel rooms, palatial villas in gated communities, Jennifer Aniston beach sightings, and George Clooney and Mike Shanahan with homes in the prestigious beachfront golf course communities that have security gates that are better armed than the White House. While these people may have the money to cover the losses of such devastation, locals aren’t as fortunate.

Today my heart breaks while I pace, watch, and wait for a sign that those I love are safe and cared for. Today isn’t about tequila, it’s about my Mexico and her people. While the rest of Mexico celebrated Independence Day, Los Cabos and many of us who love the destination found ourselves trying to understand what to do next.

McDonaldsLos Cabos has her work cut out for her. It will take a long time for her to recover and longer still if Tropical Storm Polo becomes a hurricane and follows Odile’s path.

Today I write out of love for a country, the people, and the community I hold so dear.

marina2Today my tequila tastes of tears.

Having done some research, I was able to gather updates from my relationships at the resorts in Los Cabos, with regard to the staff, resort guests, and reservations:

 Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos

“9/16/14 – Due to Hurricane Odile, reservations at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa are temporarily suspended from September 15th to 22nd. We would be happy to offer you other beach and vacations destinations during this time period.”

Villa Group – Villa del Arco, Villa la Estancia and Villa del Palmar

marina1“9/15/14 – Thank you all for your support and concern for our guests and coworkers in our Cabo Hotels. We are glad to report only minimal damages, and thankfully everyone is ok. Our three Resorts remain a safe environment for everyone, with basic electric power (supplied by our generator) and water on the facilities. One of our restaurants is fully operating and providing all the meals needed. The airport is not functioning and Cabo San Lucas is damaged. However, The worst part is over so there’s no need to worry.”

RIU Santa Fe and Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas

marina“Hurricane Odile: Update, Monday 12:00 CST 9/15/14 Riu Santa Fe Hotel and Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Hotel have been strongly impacted by the passing of Hurricane Odile over Cabo San Lucas last night. Fortunately, all of our employees and guests are fine, and we have only suffered some damage to the properties. As a precaution, the authorities of Baja California have decided to cut electrical service, which is in addition to the suspension of the water supply due to the heavy rains. All of this is greatly hindering the efforts of our hotel staff who are working tirelessly and doing as much as possible to accommodate and care for our guests. At the moment, communication with the destination is complicated, but the authorities are already at work reestablishing all services. We appreciate your understanding and will continue to keep you informed. Update Tuesday, 9/16/14 – Communication with Los Cabos is still difficult because the telephone lines are down. We have been in touch with our colleagues, who have told us once again that everyone is fine, and they have given us the following information:

main road1 Hotel employees. We have 150 staff at the Hotel Riu Santa Fe and 120 at the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. Some employees left the premises yesterday to check whether their families were safe, despite the danger involved in travelling at the moment due to the floods. Many of them have returned to the hotels and others, who were not present when the hurricane hit, have joined their colleagues in looking after guests and in cleaning tasks. It is necessary to bear in mind that rooms are dispersed over large areas and that reaching each room is not an easy task.

Food and drink. At present there is both water and food for the hotel guests. With the support of the Civil Protection service, all measures are being taken to re-establish supply over the coming hours and days.

hyatt hotelAdditional teams on the way: Our Operations, Technical Services, Food and Beverage, Cleaning and general support teams are ready to leave from our hotels in Vallarta, Mazatlán and Guadalajara. They are just waiting for San José Airport to open so they can travel.

RIU is in constant contact with the local authorities and Civil Protection service. They are the experts on the ground, and are working to re-establish normality.

We appreciate your understanding during this difficult time for guests, the destination, the hotels, and all the staff working there.”

Starwood Resorts – Westin Los Cabos and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar

maan palace san Jose resort“9/15/14 – Due to Hurricane Odile, which came ashore at Los Cabos in Baja California on Sunday and Monday, September 14-15, The Westin Los Cabos Resort & Spa, and the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf Resort & Spa have sustained damage, and are unable to accept any new guests at this time.  It is too soon to determine when the hotels will be fully operational, but it is not expected until at least October 31. Although the hotels are unable to welcome you during your planned stay, please know our team would be more than happy to help you make alternate arrangements. Starwood will also support any guests that would like to cancel their existing reservations by waiving all change or cancellation penalties for arrivals in the months of September and October. We look forward to welcoming you to The Westin Los Cabos and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in the near future, and appreciate your understanding of the changes due to the recent hurricane.”

Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos

Hotel floodedMonday, 9/15/14 – In reference to the devastating news of the impact of Hurricane Odile last night, we wish, first and foremost, to confirm that the guests of Sandos Finisterra are safe and have access to basic services at the moment. We will share as much detail as possible once again as soon as possible.”

“UPDATE: Our staff is continuing to work with guests and local authorities to ensure the safety and comfort of those on the property. Guests who are currently on the Sandos Finisterra property will not be charged from this day forward. The hotel is no longer accepting reservations and all guests who are booked to arrive from today until Oct. 1, 2014 may change their reservations at no additional charge or be relocated to one of our other Mexican properties. For reservations made through an agency or wholesaler please contact them and they will provide you with the necessary information.”

“UPDATE: 9/16/14 – After the first 24 hours, there are still problems with power supplies as well as phone lines and internet connections so, unfortunately, it is not possible to talk to the hotel directly in this moment. Despite so, we can confirm that all the guests at the hotel are our priority. They all are safe and being taken care of and we are working hard together with the authorities and suppliers to recover the communications and supplies as soon as possible. At this moment, due to the communication problems, it is difficult to get official updates about the situation. As soon as we have more information about the evacuation plans we will share the news here.”

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos

debris2“9/15/14 – We would like to update you on the status of Hurricane Odile which has passed through the Los Cabos region. We are pleased to announce that all guests on property are safe and secure. Resort executive staff members are currently assessing the damage and will be providing a report later today. We will be updating you with the confirmed details as soon as we receive the information. The Los Cabos International Airport remains closed until further notice. If you have questions or concerns outside of the storm damage or airport closure, please your travel agent or tour operator We will continue to remain in close communication and will update you with further confirmed details. As always, thank you for your support.”

Additional AMResorts Update (Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos, and Dreams Los Cabos in the immediate area…

“9/15/14 – We would like to update you on the condition of the Los Cabos region due to Hurricane Odile. As we have previously communicated, all guests on property are safe and sound. We are continuing to assess the status of the resorts as well as working to receive updated information from public authorities regarding infrastructure. Our communication lines are extremely limited at this time but we will be in touch once we have additional news to share.”

  Hilton Los Cabos

debris3“9/15/14 – All guests and team members are reported safe. Due to the effects of Hurricane Odile, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort is closed to arrivals at this time. The hotel is not accepting existing or new reservations until a definitive assessment of the damage is complete. Our immediate priority is to care for our guests and team members, and we are doing everything we can to minimize the effect on them. We’ll post more information as it becomes available. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes.”

“UPDATE 9/16/14 – All guests and team members at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort have been accounted for and are reported safe. At this early stage, we do not have a definitive assessment of the damage. Our immediate priority is to care for our guests and team members and we are doing everything we can to minimize the effect on them. Currently, our team is assisting guests, providing meals and water, and trying to keep them as comfortable as possible. The hotel continues working with the local authorities and our tourism partners in the area. As a reminder, the Los Cabos airport remains closed until further notice. At this time, the hotel is closed to arrivals and no longer accepting reservations. The safety and security of our guests and team members are of paramount importance and Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort makes every effort to ensure that all practices and standards are in line with strict safety regulations. In anticipation of the storm, the hotel immediately implemented its hurricane preparedness plan and emergency procedures. These are difficult times, not just for us, but for everyone affected by the current situation.   NOTE: Guests with existing reservations should contact their travel provider.” 

Pueblo Bonito Resorts 

debris1“9/15/14 – Thank you for all your good wishes and prayers. We would like to inform you that all guests and team members at the Pueblo Bonito Resorts are reported safe. Hurricane Odile has damaged some parts of our hotels but no structural damage was caused. We are working hard to help our guests and cleaning up any damages to restore services as soon as possible. Please stay tuned and we will keep you posted as more information comes available.”
“UPDATE: 9/16/14 – Hello all! We want to let you know that we are working very hard to determine a time frame as to when our Cabo San Lucas hotels will be fully operational again. At this point, however, it is too soon to officially establish this time frame. For those of you who have reservations for this week, we recommend you that reschedule your stay for later dates. Please make changes to your reservation by contacting the channel through which the reservation was booked. If you have reservations for September 22nd or after, please stay tuned and we will continue to update you through posts on our site.

Many of you have noticed that you have not able to reach anyone in the destination today. Unfortunately, the telephone and WIFI services have been down throughout Cabo today, but we would like to assure you that all of our guests are safe and sound, and all are being provided with food.

Regarding the airports, a definite date has not been announced for the Cabo International airport (SJD) to reopen, but cleancabocurrent advice from airlines indicate that it may reopen around September 22nd for arrivals. Local news is reporting that, according to the Secretary of Tourism, the airport’s two terminals were damaged but the airport is operable. The smaller Cabo San Lucas airport (CSL or MMSL) is not operable and is reported to be closed until October 10th.

In the meantime, the Federal Government of Mexico has announced that there will be an air bridge to evacuate tourists and residents from Los Cabos. The Tourism Ministry has announced that the National Defense ministry, the Mexican Navy, and the Communication & Transport ministry will all be involved in the evacuation process. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Lastly, for those of you who have shown concern about the locals, we have reports from emergency officials in Baja California that 135 people have been treated for minor injuries from flying glass or falling objects, but fortunately, there were no serious injuries or deaths. We sincerely appreciate your warm words of concern for all of our coworkers and guests, and we thank you for your understanding and your patience as we work to restore our services and operations. Please continue to check here for more updates.”

Capella Pedregal

Cell Tower down9/15/14 – Capella Pedregal is currently completing its assessment on the effects of Hurricane Odile.

One&Only Palmilla

“9/15/14 – Guests of One&Only Palmilla were evacuated ahead of the storm and no guests were at the resort when Hurricane Odile hit the area. While it is too early to give a complete assessment, our dedicated team is working diligently to assess damage in order to determine when the resort will reopen. We will provide updates as they become available. We are in the process of contacting guests with bookings immediately impacted.”

Casa Dorada Los Cabos

“Casa Dorada would like to send express heartfelt comparison for all those affected by the recent Hurricane to hit Cabo – We were very lucky and all of our guests and staff are safe, we feel very blessed.”

Solmar Resorts – Solmar Resort, Playa Grande Beach Resort & Grand Solmar

central San jose Del Cabo“Thank you all for your support, thoughts and prayers. Please know that our priority remains the safety and comfort of all our guests throughout the Solmar collection. Hotel management is currently surveying and assessing the damage to all properties. We will share more information once we have it but rest assured that Solmar will continue to provide the best service possible to the guests that remain with us during this time through our dedicated staff & management team.”

Hacienda Encantada and Marina Fiesta

cardealer“9/15/14 – We wanted to provide you with an update on the current status at the hotels due to the aftermath of Hurricane Odile. Everyone at the hotels – employees and guests – are all safe. Due to the Hurricane that hit last night, some damage has been reported at the hotel. Our first, and of course immediate priority, is to ensure that all guests and valued employees remain safe. We will be conducting a full assessment on-site and will continue to keep you all updated in the coming days. Thank you for all of your well wishes and continued thoughts.”

Las Ventanas al Paraiso

“Hurricane Odile was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on the Baja California peninsula, and in its aftermath, we are currently reviewing the damage it caused. This will take time, as it is still raining and the storm has not fully cleared the region. Until we can fully assess the damage and ensure the resort’s overall safety, Las Ventanas will remain closed. All guests were transferred to San Diego, a safe distance from the storm’s path, before Hurricane Odile hit Baja. We will provide updates as they become available.”

Barcelo Grand Faro

cars“We are glad to announce all guests on property are safe and secure, every safety action was taken on the right place on the right moment, and we will provide a report later on for further guests who had already reserved with us for the following days. Communications are still poor by this moment but we trust this will be fixed on the following days. Los Cabos International airport will remain closed until further notice. If you have questions or concerns outside of the storm damage or airport closure, please your travel agent or tour operator. Thanks for all your support.”

When considering the magnitude of hurricane and the experiences of so many enduring this devastating storm, we should recognize the teams at the resorts for the management of their emergency services in ensuring the safety of the resort guests and staff.  Thanks to Caboholics as well, which has been a wealth of information.

As of this writing, Cerritos Tequila, their signature resort and beach lie on El Cerritos Beach, has not reported on the safety of those on the property or whether the resort saw any damage. It is my greatest hope that those who call Cerritos Beach home are safe and sound.

If you would like to help, donations of clothing and food as well as financial assistance can be managed through the following TRUSTED organizations:

cellU.S. Consulate The U.S. Consular Agency in Los Cabos, Mexico is located at the Shoppes at Palmilla local 221-B, Transpeninsular Highway Km 27.5, San José del Cabo. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is (619) 692-2154 (dialing from the U.S. 011-52 + phone number). See the U.S. Consulate Hurricane Odile page for more information. Visit  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to register your name with the State Dept. for future travel.

The State Department has established a crisis hotline to respond to inquiries about current conditions and loved ones visiting Los Cabos. If you require assistance personally, or wish to inquire on behalf of a friend or family member, please use the following.

From the U.S. & Canada: 1-888-407-4747

From Overseas: 1 202-501-4444

Email: OdileEmergencyUSC@state.gov

 

**ALASKA AIRLINES ADVISORY;

AirportUPDATE 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16:

Alaska Airlines has extended its flexible travel policy for customers with tickets in or out of Los Cabos that were purchased on or before Sept. 14 for travel Sept. 14-30. Change fees and difference in fare will be waived if new travel is booked in the same cabin, and customers may choose to travel in or out of Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Manzanillo or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Travel must be completed on or before Nov. 5, 2014. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded by Nov. 5, 2014.   www.alaskaair.com

 

DONATIONS THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED!!!!

barrioSmall first aid kits, flash lights and batteries, plastic tarps, Bottled water, clothes, shoes, blankets, can food, small coolers, duct tape, pet food, hand can opener, lighters, towels, work gloves, duffle bags, kitchen accessories like paper plates, cups, utensils, garbage bags, protein bars, paper towels, toilet paper, bar soap, shampoo – Please try the following links for the shipment and donations –

https://www.youcaring.com/Cabo

https://bisbeesconservationfund.org/Donate/CaboRelief

http://www.ligamac.org/index.php/support-us/donate-now

 

Los Cabos International Airport Update!!

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:PAC)(BMV:GAP) (“the Company” or “GAP”) informs that the Mexican Bureau of Civil Aviation (DGAC), the Mexican aeronautical authority, has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), in which it has instructed Los Cabos International Airport (SJD)(“the Airport”), that from the date of the issuance of the NOTAM until October 8, 2014, to operate solely for official, humanitarian aid and rescue flights, as well as general aviation operations.

While the NOTAM is in force, GAP will dedicate all of its efforts in preparing the Airport for the re-opening of commercial operations, which are essential for rebuilding the region’s economy. The first phase, thereof, will involve the basic re-opening of the terminals as per the aeronautical authority’s guidelines.

The Company carried out essential tasks to clear the flight areas and the aprons, immediately after Hurricane Odile moved through the area, in order to receive aid and facilitate the necessary evacuation; this was completed in the 12 hours following the hurricane. GAP, in conjunction with the federal and state authorities, airlines and hotels focused its resources to the evacuation of visitors and residents from Monday, September 15 to Friday, September 19, evacuating nearly 25 thousand passengers with the use of an air bridge provided by national and international airlines; approximately 480 such air operations took place.

The tasks that are scheduled to initiate as per the issuance of this NOTAM, consists of debris removal and recovery of the facilities, the terminal buildings and the equipment in order to re-commence basic services by the date indicated by DGAC. The full recovery of the facilities will take place gradually, beginning on the date of the NOTAM, and is expected to be completed prior to November 25, 2014.

The Company reaffirms its commitment to the federal government, the aeronautical authority and the government of State of Baja California Sur to re-establish airport services as required by the resident community and the development of tourism in the region.

 

 

jessica arent, jessica's journey, mexico, tequila, tequila aficionadoAbout Jessica Arent

Jessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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