Cabo San Lucas and the state of the Baja Peninsula is in rebuilding mode following Hurricane Odile that devastated the region in September. Since then, hoteliers, restaurant owners, and local businesses have rallied around the community to ready their establishments to welcome tourists and re-launch the area as a top global travel destination.
Many hotels have reopened since the hurricane, namely the Marina Fiesta, the Fiesta Americana, and the Sheraton Hacienda, among many others, and took the time post-hurricane to upgrade their facilities and make improvements. Locals are feverishly updating and repairing the devastated areas, particularly of San Jose del Cabo, that was hit the hardest.
Local Businesses Soldier On
Restaurant chain Rock and Brews, owned by KISS bandmates Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, recently opened their latest outpost in Cabos San Lucas and re-opened their original location in San Jose del Cabo in support of the Cabo Unstoppable effort.
“We believe Cabo to be the playground of South America,” Simmons told The Daily Meal. “We’re coming in early to Cabo. The sharks will soon bite, and everyone will follow.”
Local organic farm, restaurant, and cooking school Los Tamarindos was also damaged by the hurricane, but is in complete renovation mode, having re-opened its restaurant, and continues to offer its famous cooking classes on the property. Owner and chef Enrique Silva explained that most of the crops were wiped out, but they have replanted and the new crops are just as vibrant. Los Tamarindos is also committed to supporting the local Baja California wine region and additional regional wines by showcasing them on their menus and serving them in their classes.
A similar situation exists at Flora Farms, an organic farm, restaurant, and event space in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo. With more than 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs that are farmed mostly by hand, Flora Farms is continuing to entertain guests and diners alike. In the coming year, the property is set to open a spa on its grounds as well.
Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos is an example of a hotel and spa that renovated its lobby and bar area post hurricane to reopen only two months later on November 15. Between the hotel’s rooms and villas, Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos boasts a total of 526 rooms. Another draw for is its SOMMA Wine Spa that is currently welcoming guests. It utilizes wine in all of its treatments as it has specific benefits for the skin, referred to as vinotherapy. Following all of the treatments, guests are offered a choice of red or white local wine to enjoy while in a state of relaxation.
Food Festival Showcases Culinary Resiliency
Additionally, the annual food festival Sabor a Cabo showcased the resiliency of the restaurant and beverage industries in Los Cabos. While the event has been running for the last nine years, this year it was expanded to include a week’s worth of culinary activities including a Wine & Art Walk, countryside tastings, a beer tasting, a celebrity chef dine around and the main event, Sabor a Cabo grand tasting, held in the Sculpture Garden in Puerto Los Cabos.
For the festival, local Cabo-based chefs were paired up with international chefs to create new combined menus that guests sampled. One such pairing was chef Angel Carbajal, owner of sushi restaurant Nick-San, with Dieter Koschina, owner and chef of three-star Michelin Vilajoya Restaurant.
The duo prepared for their dinner by walking around local food markets in Cabo looking for fresh indigenous items like avocados to pair with things like lemon and ginger.
“It took me two days to work out the ingredients and think through a menu in a new kitchen I’ve never been in before,” Koschina said. “I really like the Mexican kitchen. It’s spicy.”
For the meal, they were also committed to choosing the very best Mexican wine to pair with their meal of several courses to make sure that all of their guests’ senses were heightened. “When you find the right wine for the food, you’re food jumps,” Koschina said.
The main event — Sabor a Cabo — was an extraordinary festival including 50 participating restaurants from Cabos’ finest establishments including Mi Casa, Baja Cantina, and Don Sanchez. Wineries such as Casta Devinos and Fratelli Pasini as well as tequila brands like Tequila Mexita’s provided beverages for the thirsty guests who explored the beautiful sculpture gardens in the hopes of finding a pleasant meal in this exotic and beautiful part of Mexico.