By Michael McCarthy By Michael McCarthy | May 18, 2022 | Lifestyle
New agave and culinary experiences at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal showcase Mexico’s leading-edge distillers and chefs.
The nine-course taco-tasting menu, TRAVESÍA.
In the fading light, with the Pacific at his back and pinks and purples smearing the horizon, David Hernandez talks about the almighty perfection of tequila. It’s all pretty poetic, really. As the director of bars at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Hernandez leads the team that recently introduced the resort’s Agave Study at Peacock Alley, an experience and beachfront setting like few others in the world.
David Hernandez leads the Agave Study at Peacock Alley
Already a culinary destination with the renowned cliff side restaurant El Farallon, the 115-room resort recently introduced the agave program, along with a nine-course tasting menu called TRAVESÍA at Su Cocina, that pay homage to Mexico’s regional spirits and cuisine. What makes the programming so extraordinary is the beverage and culinary team’s ability to straddle the country’s rich agricultural history while revealing its current status as one of the world’s most progressive destinations for dining.
In short, this is one wild ride.
A selection of cocktail pairing during TRAVESÍA at Su Cocina
Hernandez hasn’t crafted a pedantic evening of name-dropping and sipping pricey tequilas. Instead, the evening is akin to hanging out with a kind, funny and engaging soul who’s just returned from a journey and can’t wait to share what he’s discovered. Hernandez already knew his way around the world of top-shelf tequilas, but he has continued to push himself to build an unmatched well of knowledge. Late last year, for example, he and several colleagues from the property traveled to Oaxaca— touring small towns and production facilities—to work with the maestros of distillation when selecting spirits, pottery and glassware for the new Agave Study.
The property’s cliff side restaurant, El Fallaron
“It was important to keep the authenticity of the agave tasting experience, which is why we only serve our selections in handcrafted vessels and pair each spirit with notable culinary ingredients from the regions and traditions where the agave spirits are distilled,” says Hernandez. During the tasting, he discusses how the spirits are aged (and the impact on taste and color) and the local entrepreneurs behind each brand who have exceptional stories of their own.
Hernandez presents five tastings—all sipped neat—including Tres Cuatro Y Cinco, paired with chocolate and Parmesan cheese; and an award-winning Cuervo 250, which retails for $3,500 per bottle. Over the course of the hour, guests try spirits from Jalisco, Oaxaca, Sonora and Chihuahua, with tasting notes that range from caramel and hazelnut to butter and spicy pear. “We want guests to learn, but, more than anything, have fun,” says Hernandez. “Tequila-making is an art, and, once you learn how special these bottles are, their charm is hard to resist.”
The adult pool at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
The other charmer, among many here, is the debut of TRAVESÍA at Su Cocina, a nine-course taco-tasting menu (with cocktail pairings) led by executive chef Gustavo Pinet. The setting features a mammoth communal table crafted from parota wood and illuminated with an iron chandelier. Colorful mosaic tiles line the walls, and an open kitchen invites guests to watch the show. “I want to focus on regional traditions, tastes and ingredients and reveal the best of what’s available seasonally,” says Mexico City native Pinet, who notes his kitchen staff hail from nearly every region of the country. It’s perfect synchronicity, as Mexico’s nine regions are explored over two exhilarating hours.
The presidential suite
Standout dishes include Baja California scallop tostadas from La Paz with unipate and crumbled chorizo paired with sangria tapatia, as well as the crispy tlayuda with cured kampachi, a nod to the unlikely Japanese influences in Tijuana. Pinet also thrills with street tacos from Mexico City and Guadalajara, including one with seared bluefin tuna, chile güero and black garlic sauce—paired with the Mayaheul cocktail, a heavenly mix of añejo tequila, mango, orange, mole salt and cilantro.
A prawn taco is one of the many local and regional tastes during TRAVESÍA.
A note to the adventurous: Don’t leave this property without dining at Fallaron, a restaurant grounded in both Mexican tradition and whimsy. As the Pacific roils below, patrons enjoy fare like Baja oysters and kimchi, black abalone with sea scallops, and baked chocolate clams with sweet potato crust. Notice a theme? Nothing here, except peerless service, culinary integrity and views that launch a thousand Instagram posts, is predictable. If adventure is the goal of travel, this magical place has become one of its touchstones.
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO BY STUDIO CARIBE; HERNANDEZ PHOTO BY MICHAEL MCCARTHY; COURTESY OF WALDORF ASTORIA; PROPERTY PHOTO COURTESY OF WALDORF ASTORIA; PROPERTY PHOTO COURTESY OF WALDORF ASTORIA; FOOD PHOTO BY STUDIO CARIBE