Drew and Crew

Tacos and tequila is one of my favorite events.  San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz California was an excellent location choice.    The weather was perfect and the crowd was friendly and festive.  The event was festival style with multiple choices of tacos venders, margarita bars, merchants, bands and of course tequila tasting.  I did notice that there were not as many tequila reps this year as there were last year but, the ones that were there this year were great. 

I had a chance to hang out and talk to Drew Garrison from Dulce Vida, about tequila.  We had a great conversation and I learned that Dulce Vida allows their tequila to go through malolactic fermentation.  Their tequila is 100% Puro  Agave, one of the highest rating given by the Mexican Government.  They have a blanco that is done in stainless steel and they also have infused tequilas.  Their agave if from Arandas, Jalisco Mexico.  I found the Organic Blanco to be lite to medium agave flavor, easy over the tongue.  It could be drank with just a cube of ice.  According to Drew, it is available at Bevmo and Total Wines.  Price range is $22 to $24.

Don Antonio Aguilar

I had the pleasure of meeting Cesar Garcia from Real de Jalpa.  He is the Rep for Don Antonio Aguilar Mezcal.  If you are one of those people that turns their nose up when you hear the word Mezcal,  I guarantee Don Antonio Aguilar Mezcal with change your mind.  It is a Mezcal with a lot of the same qualities as tequila.  Real de Jalpa own their own fields in Zacatecas Mexico.  They produce approximately 6,000 liter a day.  Cesar brought for Reposados with him.  They ranged in age from 4 months to 11 months.  For Mezcal, they were not smokey.  I found them to be earthy with good agave flavors.  The older reposados had more oak notes and easy finish.  Price range from $30 to $60.

Blue Iguana Tequila

Blue Iguana Tequila was the surprise find.  It is double distilled from agave from the Highlands of Jalisco.  They were pouring a 2 months, 4 months, 7 months, 11 months and an 18 month tequila.  The 7, 11, and 18 month olds were aged in whiskey barrels.  I found the tequila to be very neat and clean.  Good agave flavor with a short smooth finish.  Well balanced oak notes from the whiskey barrels.  According to the Rep, it can be found at Raley’s for $28 to $35.


Another surprise find was Azuñia.  100% Puro de Agave from the Valley of Jalisco. Azuñia is hand harvested and roasted in traditional clay hornos.  The blanco and reposado good agave flavors that were not overpowering.  An earthiness that was complemented by lite oak notes.

We had a Fantastetic time.  Made some new friends, ate some tasty taco and tasted some excellent tequilas.  I am looking forward to the next event.  Where ever that may be.

Ciao for now






Puerto Vallarta Tequila Adventure

Puerto Vallarta, home of tequila, real tequila! Until recently I was probably like you, thinking a good tequila was one that did not immediately come back up, was best used in mixed drinks, and drinking it straight was only a way to show your man/woman-hood. Then Brax introduced me to real tequila. It took some persuading but I finally succumbed and accepted a taste from his prized collection. Sip it he pleaded, so that I could enjoy it. That was the farthest thing from my mind until I tasted it and, like a good wine, could taste the layers, complexity and smoothness, yes smoothness, a good tequila can offer.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant found in the Jalisco state of Mexico. Most of the tequila found in the US, the mass production stuff, is what is known as 50:50. To be recognized as tequila it only has to have 51% blue agave sugar, the rest can be other various sugars which help to reduce the time needed to make the tequila and increase the volume you can get from a plant, but steals all the quality aspects a true tequila. To be sure you are getting 100% agave, look for the term “100% de agave” on the label. To truly appreciate tequila you need to go to Puerto Vallarta.
Grand Luxx, Nueva VallartaWith that in mind when we were given the opportunity to stay at the Grand Luxx Resort for a week, part of the Grand Mayan/Grand Bliss/Grand Luxx residence club in Nuevo Vallarta, we jumped at the chance. Having been to Mexico and even Nuevo Vallarta before, I was expecting more of the same. If you shy away from Mexico for whatever reason, safety, food, water, comfort, this resort will surpass your expectations on what a Mexico vacation can be. Between the numerous pools, restaurants and activities we could have spent the entire week here and been completely happy. We did not sample all the restaurants, but the ones we did were good, especially for resort food. The bar/lunch food was actually very good. The 24/7 guards in the front and the imported bottled water added to the relaxed and secure atmosphere of the entire place.
If you are feeling adventurous here are some suggestions; There are a number of small, vacation towns in the area, Sayulita being one of them. A great little town with a very active square in the middle, clearly still the center of activity. The beach is situated to capture a good north swell and is one of the better surf towns in the area (unfortunately flat the day we were there). Some of the best and most traditional meals we had was at Rosa Mexicano in Bacerias Nayarit, a very short drive from Nuevo Vallarta. They have molcajete, a dish made with meat or seafood (or a combination) in a spicy chile sauce with onions and cactus served in a hot molcajetes bowl made of lava rock that is a must anytime you are in this area! Claudio’s Restaurant and Bar is also in Bucerias and has Claudio's Restaurant and Bar Bucerias Mexicosome great traditional food, but the seafood there is definitely worth the trip. If you are in Puerto Vallarta, the La Langosta Feliz and River Café are both worth the stop. If you are looking for something to cut all the tequila PV has its own brew pub, Los Muertos. Good beer and classic bar food. This place hit the spot when we needed a slice of pizza and a beer. Finally in Nuevo Vallarta, give Eddie’s a try. Good for traditional Mexican food, but you can also find American options if you find yourself craving something from the US and they even have some Lebanese options.
Then there is the tequila. You can choose to do a tour and learn about the history and Mama Lucia Leyva Tequilaproduction process which we did at Mama Lucia/Agave Leyva, or you can just go down to the board walk in Puerto Vallarta and visit some of the many tasting rooms and sample many side by side. Here you will be able to really appreciate how different and complex they all can be.
A few last words about this region. Go for the warm water, weather, tequila or what have you, but the people here are what will make your vacation. Yes, many are trying to sell you something, but they are not rude or overly pushy. The rest are some of the nicest and accommodating you will find anywhere, always willing to go out of their way to help or make you feel special. Unlike many places I have been, they seem to get what it means to be a vacation economy.