Saturday, May 28, 2011

Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Week: Trio

Who could turn down an invitation to Puerto Vallarta during Vallarta Restaurant Week, a 17-day event held every May 15-31 and the chance to try so many of their great restaurants. During restaurant week many of the city’s dining establishments – and they have a ton -- offer innovative three-course menus, with three options available for each courses at prices that are often discounted  up to 50% (tips and beverages not included).  

At Restaurant Trio, I met chef/owner Bernhard Güth who fixed a wonderful meal for all of us. Trio, which is located on Guerrero, the oldest street in Puerto Vallarta dating back to the 1840s when the city was a trading port where salt was shipped in and taken by mules up into the mountains.  And though now Puerto Vallarta is a sophisticated city,  Güth, who moved here from New York in 1994, told us that they didn’t get electricity until 1971 – the same year that the first road was paved.

Güth changes his menu five to six times a year and some of his special dishes the night we were there relied upon what was in season (though in this part of Mexico there’s always something wonderful ripening). We tasted chile and roasted red snapper over ratatouille with a lime-cilantro sauce, a Lebanese salda –baked beet slices with parsley and marinated goat cheese and young goat from Tuito – a Colonial town about an hour from Puerto Vallarta –cooked in the traditional Jalisco style called birria which is a thick stew. It was served with a ragout of sweet corn and huitlecoche (corn fungus) and a cabbage salad. 

We also tasted (okay it was more than taste) several Mexican wines and I learned that the oldest winery in the Western hemisphere is Casa Madera, established in 1597 in Parras de la Fuente, one of the Pueblos Magicos – pretty and enchanting towns in Mexico featuring symbolism, legends, history, important events and charming day-to-day life.

Bernhard Güth’s Fish & Shrimp 

4 red snapper fillets, 7 oz each, seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh thyme
16 - 20 peeled shrimp
4 oz butter
1 clove garlic, chopped

Sauté the fresh fish fillets and shrimp in frying pan with the butter and garlic. Finish off in oven 5 - 6 minutes, until cooked through. Strain and reserve the butter for the lime-ginger sauce.

Lime-Ginger Sauce

16 oz fish stock
8 oz cream
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp lime juice
Habanero sauce
Reserved butter from fish & shrimp

Combine the fish stock with cream and reduce by half. Add the ginger and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper and habanero sauce. Add the butter.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Mash

24 oz pumpkin, peeled and cut in chunks
24 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
1 sprig rosemary
1 - 2 tbsp maple syrup

Toss the pumpkin and sweet potatoes with the other ingredients and bake about 30 minutes, until tender.  Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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