While the rest of Mexico was immersed in The Pope's visit, the Ixtapa triathalon, and the recent 7.4 earthquake's after shock; the food-, tequila- and mezcal-obsessed wrapped up the second annual Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo on Saturday night. Michael Symon and "Mexican Tyler Florence" Federico Lopez cooked a 150-person sold out sit-down dinner at Hotel Las Brisas Ixtapa. Then the day ended at a jam-packed, street food (after) party, with a Marcus Samuelsson taco demo and Latin house music. All told, it was three days of breezy 85 degree weather, and an even split of Mexican and American seat-holders getting together for some really drinkable Mexican wines, and much more. Special moments, photos and one-liners in the gallery above, and after the hop.
· Friday morning, Michael Symon started off his first day in Mexico (ever) with a spicy pork shank demo. He told the crowd he was bummed his wife was stuck at the Viceroy in Santa Monica. "My Viceroy kicks her Viceroy's ass." He also shared his take on "the most tragic thing in the world": steak over mashed potatoes.
· Mark Oldman was everywhere, leading seminars on wine, tequila, and mezcal throughout. He kicked off Thursday morning's "breakfast wine" seminar with some take-aways: 1) wine from Mexico "got good in the 1980's," 2) the country doesn't necessarily have a "signature grape." Also: Mexicans and Americans laugh equally hard when they learn the meaning of wine term, pipi de chat.
· Late Friday afternoon, Samuelsson led a demo by the beach, sipping a Michelada as he served up tostadas and fried whole fish to the crowd. He let his Mexico-born assistant say the hard words. "I'm not going to be the brown gringo to mispronounce everything."
· The Mexican chefs displayed the event's most modern techniques. Pangea's Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain poured dark beer sauce out of an Indio beer bottle to accompany his baby goat terrine, and young up-and-comer Daniel Ovadia showed off chocolate mole suspended in a martini glass, and flanked with sugar-dusted chicken "quesadillas." That's right: chicken dessert. So, no one's surprised he just cooked dinner for Ferran Adrià.
· Speaking of, Samuelsson, Symon and Oldman hit local favorite Carmelita's with the Food & Wine team on Sunday morning. Following Tweetage included Symon declaring it was "the best Mexican food of my life," then Twitter pics of his table, and Samuelsson digging in. Here's one more shot.
· Besides the food, wine and mezcal of Zihuatanejo, the next biggest talking point was probably bed pillow art .
· Food & Wine V.P/Associate Publisher Jay Meyer shared his thoughts on new festivals: "We get two emails a day pitching new locations for Food & Wine Festivals...my staff makes decisions based on the caliber of local chefs and the desirability of the location."