Rabu, 06 Januari 2016

Las Caletas, Puerto Vallarta Beachside Cooking Adventure

It was a grey day, and kind of cold (under 80F) for Mexican cruising standards, but off the four of us went for our excursion adventure from Puerto Vallarta at 8am!  
Hard to get excited for the beach at 8am, don't you think?

About an hour long boat ride from the port to Las Caletas, and it was a good trip, but we'd chosen some great seats on the top deck at the front to enjoy the view and therefore, we were last off the boat.  Dang it, I think we misplayed that.  Now all the primo beach chaise lounge chairs were going to be taken!

Imagine our surprise to come across these beauties, completely empty.
We dropped our stuff and each jumped in a hammock.  Ten minutes later, we were all dozing.  Exciting huh?  Just what we ordered for our vacation...

I was excited for the Paella Cooking class  to start at 11:45 in a beautiful beachside cooking and dining area.

I was scoping out the area in advance (see the pretty little seaside spot above) and caught a picture of a batch the chef was making for our lunch, before our class began.  
Yum... my picture isn't great because it was so steamy.  It didn't seem polite to lean done and blow on it, which is what I usually do for hot dishes that I need to photograph.

Beautiful pottery crocks containing the broth ready to make our paella.

A picture of the paella cook unit built into the countertop.  Rustic, but I like it!

Here some the chefs to give our lesson. One guy was the talker, the other, the cooker!

Heat up the pan, add Spanish olive oil, red peppers, green peppers and white onion.
Normally, I do not like cooked green peppers but these didn't bother me.  I almost wonder if these were jalapenos??? In goes the saffron and broth, a bunch of Spanish rice and then onto the seafood part.

He added crab, fish, shrimp, octopus, calamari, clams, mussels and then MORE shrimp!

Artfully arranged and ready to cover and steam the rice and seafood.

Covering the pan with foil.

From the paella kitchen, we walked up a small inclined path to another open air area.  This was was beautiful inside and set up with four stations to do some hands-on cooking of pico de gallo, roasted salsa, seviche and guacamole.

To the best of my ability to remember the recipe, here is my best approximation (I was drinking fresh mango margaritas!). I will make this soon at home, and if needed, will make some adjustments.

Seviche Recipe
2 cups Watermelon, cut into 1/2inch chunks (Crazy, but good!)
2 cups raw fish, cut into 1/2inch chunks
1 cup Tomatoes
1 cup Red Onions, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2-3 Jalapeno's, minced
2-3 Limes, juiced
Salt & Pink pepper (or black)

Mix. Let sit in the fridge until the fish has turned opaque and has been "cooked" by the acid in the lime. ***At Las Caletas, for health department reasons, they could not use raw fish and had gently poached the fish that we used in the seviche.  I expected it to be hard and rubbery, but it was tender and delicious.  If using raw fish makes your squeamish, go ahead and gently poach the fish in some broth.

Here's the sea salt and the pink peppercorns before we smashed them in the molcajete, basically a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic rock.

Here's a photo of our lunch...  there was a tremendous variety of dishes to try.  This was one of the best meals of our entire cruise. Plus, The waiters were always quick at your elbow to ensure you didn't need another beer or margarita!

You know what comes after eating a meal like that don't you?
Another siesta, por favore.

We had such a great time here, I would whole heartedly recommend it.  There is so much more to do there than I have written about here.  Like the parrots and the monkeys!
Sure, I bet you are more adventuresome!  What about scuba, snorkel, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, sea lion interaction, nature trails and a spa!  I am seriously wanting to go back to enjoy more of it there.  I hear they do a night time romantic dinner there too.  Sigh.

P.S.  If you are going to Puerto Vallarta, check this place out Las Caletas

NOTE- I did not receive any compensation (besides a damn good time) from Las Caletas, I chose to write and share about our day on my own free will!

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