Villa Santa Cruz

Villa Santa Cruz Featured in National Geographic Traveler - December 2012/January 2013 Issue

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Villa Santa Cruz is featured in the December 2012/January 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler as one of four Mexican eco-lodges along the Pacific Coast. The article highlights the "growing number of eco-lodges intent on . . . being friendly to Earth," an idea that we strive to achieve every day at Villa Santa Cruz.  With our solar power systems for both the Villa and pool, reclaimed architectural pieces and home-style meals prepared with local ingredients, we keep our carbon footprint small and let the beauty of the Baja landscape take center stage. Check out the article below!

Sushi Lessons at Villa Santa Cruz

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Sushi has a certain mystère that  makes it feel impossible to master at home. So many unknowns are involved....how do you work with seaweed? how do you make that perfect sticky rice? how do you it roll up tightly? what is spicy tuna? Even thinking about the practicalities of preparing sushi at home makes me throw up my hands in frustration and head to a restaurant. Luckily for our guests at Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, sushi is made easy through lessons put on by La Sirena Eco-Adventures, an activities company here in Todos Santos, Baja Sur, Mexico. 

A few weeks ago, Villa guests Johnny, Bonnie, Robb & Barb had the good sense to partake in sushi lessons to celebrate Bonnie's birthday. Francesca Dvorak and Ira Nevius from La Sirena came to Villa Santa Cruz, armed with all things "sushi" - knives, wasabi, siracha, seaweed paper, bamboo rollers, veggies & fish. The crew quickly got to work thinly slicing cucumbers, green onions and carrots for the sushi rolls.


Next, it was time to prepare the fish. Ira & Francesca bought a beautiful tuna from the local fisherman at Punta Lobos. We saw a video Ira took of the experience at Punta Lobo - the boat coming in, selecting the fish, and cleaning it. Doesn't get any fresher than this!



Ira taught the group how to properly fillet the tuna for sashimi and gave instruction on how to prepare spicy tuna - finely dice the tuna and then mix in mayonnaise, siracha and green onions.



The trickiest part of the operation was assembling and rolling the sushi rolls tightly. Fran & Ira explained how to lay out the seaweed paper, add the rice & toppings and roll it will the help of the bamboo mats.



They turned out great - well done, Bonnie!


The group made all kinds of sushi rolls - rice on the outside, rice on the inside, some topped with the spicy tuna, others just with veggies, another with tuna and mango.  


The sunset that night was worth taking a moment to peek your head out the kitchen.



What a feast!



Our thanks to Fran & Ira from La Sirena for the sushi lessons in the Villa Santa Cruz kitchen - a perfect way to learn something new and enjoy fresh Baja foods.  Who knew sushi was easy after all?

More Details:

$60/person (small groups of 4-7), $50/person (groups of eight or more).  Includes all ingredients, tools, and instruction.  Fish selections will depend on the season, but usually include Dorado, Yellowtail, Tuna, and Sierra Mackeral. Vegetarian selections also available upon request.
 

Gourmet Cooking Lessons with Chef Dany Lamote at Villa Santa Cruz

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One of the very best things about visiting Baja and Todos Santos is the amazing food.  From the abundance of fresh produce and seafood to the chefs who magically whip these ingredients into gastronomical delights, visitors to our area are in for a treat.  And, if you are looking for a way to take your culinary experience to the next level, we have just the thing - gourmet cooking lessons at Villa Santa Cruz with Chef Dany Lamote, head chef at the legendary Hotel California.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Chef Dany arrived at Villa Santa Cruz  ready to guide me, Matt and our friends through the preparation (and consumption) of an exquisite four course dinner. Chef Dany was ready to get down to business, armed with everything needed for a serious gourmet cooking class - fresh shrimp and yellowtail fish, colorful produce and aromatic herbs, and, of course, a creme brulee blowtorch.   We were celebrating a milestone birthday for one of our dear friends, Laura, and loved the intimacy and group togetherness of the cooking class.  The Villa, with an open social kitchen, butcher block island, ample counter space, and big chairs (aka "king and queen thrones") in which to relax, is a perfect venue for a group cooking experience.

After toasting to the promise of a great meal with a crisp glass of white wine, Dany gathered the group to introduce us to his cooking philosophy.  Originally from Belgium, he explained that his signature style is to combine Mexican ingredients with European techniques.  He loves to make exotic Mexican foods more familiar - we'd be incorporating nopales (cactus paddles), cuitlacoche (corn mushroom know as "Mexican caviar") and ancho chile peppers into our meal.  He then split the three couples into three groups - each in charge of a different course - and we were on our way down the culinary road.

Max and Laura were in charge of the appetizer course.  Their menu included yellowtail sashimi marinated in soy sauce and ginger, shrimp skewered on rosemary sprigs with an orange-saffron-habanero-coconut sauce, pineapple salsa, and crab and goat cheese stuffed peppers (the stuffed peppers were definitely a group favorite). 

Amy and Dustin were assigned the salad and dessert courses.  The dessert, an ancho chile creme brulee, was the most time intensive dish, so they started on that first - boiling the ancho chiles, cream and cinnamon, melting the chocolate, combining the ingredients, pouring into ramekins, and baking for 35 minutes.  Once the desserts went into the oven, they jumped over to the preparation of the salads and crostini.  They worked on a nopal cactus salad with goat cheese and tomatoes, a mixed salad with agave glazed pecans topped with duck and arrachera steak, and a crostini of puffed pastry, nopales, goat cheese and cuitlacoche.

Matt and I prepared two sauces for the fish course, one with tomatillos and one with tamarind.  We peeled and roasted the tomatillos and then boiled and strained the tamarind, creating two flavorful bases for fresh yellowtail and halibut.  We also made a sweet potato gratin spiced with ginger and Chef Dany's amazing flavored curry salt.

At this point, we were all starting to bulge around the middle, but were ready for the evening's grand finale - creme brulee adorned with huge strawberries.  We all gathered in the kitchen to watch Dustin wield the blowtorch to create a perfectly caramelized crust.  With a hint of ancho chiles, it was a winner - definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket to recreate for your friends at home.  It was tough to get a lot of birthday candles into those little ramekins, but we made it work!

We send our warmest thanks to Chef Dany for such a fun and special evening.  Sitting outdoors under the covered patio, listening to the crashing waves, enjoying the warm ambiance of the Villa's gas lamps and soft candlelight, delighting in a gourmet meal with good friends over glasses of wine...life doesn't get much sweeter than this. We highly recommend that all our Villa Santa Cruz guests put it at the top of their Todos Santos "to do" list.   

Classes offered daily from 11am to 2pm at Santo Vino (Hotel California’s Bistro Restaurant). Chef Dany is available to host an evening class at Villa Santa Cruz on Sunday nights (4+ persons). $100 USD/person for basic class, $175 USD/person for upgrade with wine/tequila (includes 1 glass wine/tequila per person per course).  For more information, visit our Cooking Lessons Activity link.

Amy commented on 12-Jun-2012 07:37 PM
Cooking lessons with Chef Dany at Villa Santa Cruz was a special and unforgettable experience! We had a wonderful evening. I highly recommend the activity to visitors!

Greening Up the Garden

Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The Villa Santa Cruz garden has a new look this year. In the spirit of being “green,” we scoured the property and found all sorts of discarded building materials that we repurposed to create raised planting beds. You can see that old concrete blocks hold our zucchini plants, a spare tire contains our cabbage plants, and extra roof tiles surround the spinach and sunflower seedlings.    

When you walk through the garden, you can brush up on your Spanish vocabulary – all the signs that name the vegetables and flowers are in English and Español. One day soon, we’ll be picking betabels (beets), zanahorias (carrots), and albahaca (basil), just to name a few. 

While we patiently wait for the seeds to grow and produce, we'll be collecting new breakfast and lunch recipes that incorporate the fresh veggies into the meals served here at the Villa.  If you have a favorite, please send it our way!

Palabras De Amor commented on 19-Apr-2012 05:20 AM
Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!
lawn mulching commented on 18-May-2012 02:31 AM
Hi there! This article could not be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a great read. Many thanks for
sharing!

Organic Basil Field at Villa Santa Cruz

Monday, October 03, 2011

Even in the hot summer months, produce abounds in Todos Santos and at Villa Santa Cruz. We are co-oping with a local organic farmer, Sueño Tropical, to grow beautiful basil in our southernmost lot. The seedlings were planted in early August and are already producing boxes full of healthy, fragrant basil.  Picked in the cool early mornings, the subtle smell of basil gently drifts through the Villa and out to the beach. The expansive green field is a delightful sight from our Roof Terrace and Guest Suites. 

When Life Gives You Mangoes...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When life gives you mangoes, it is time to get creative in the kitchen! With over 40 mango trees on our property at Villa Santa Cruz, our trees are just dripping with fruit. In fact, the entire Pueblo Mágico of Todos Santos is overflowing with mangoes. We love to incorporate mangoes into the meals we serve our hotel guests – fresh mango slices at breakfast and mango salsa to liven up fish tacos at lunch. 



Here is our favorite mango salsa recipe. Enjoy!

Mango Salsa

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the mango salsa by combining the mango, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.



Buen Provecho!

April 2011 Newsletter - Todos Santos Farmers' Markets

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Our April Newsletter was filled with updates from Villa Santa Cruz, included our heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended our Grand Opening Celebration, and featured the two amazing Farmers' Markets we have in Todos Santos each week. Click here to check out the April Newsletter!