Everybody needs a quick getaway once in a while. Bryan and I got ours a few weeks ago courtesy of a ton of accrued Starwood hotel points and US Airways flight credits. We traded those bad boys in for a quick three-day stay at the St. Regis Punta Mita, about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Two planes, one car and four hours of travel time later and we were spending a Thursday afternoon sitting on a picturesque white sand beach, welcome margarita in hand. Talk about a departure from an office cube and LA traffic!
Upon checking into the hotel we were greeted by Carl Emberson, the St. Regis' General Manager, a boisterous fellow who is eager to share his love for the hotel property and its many amenities. He was particularly excited about the Fish Ritual, a weekly activity where local fisherman haul their catch of the day onto the beach and St. Regis guests get to hand-pick their fish for lunch and/or dinner. But wait, it gets better.
St. Regis' Catch of the Day, Straight out of the Pacific!
Bryan and I walked down to the oceanfront, where one of the St. Regis restaurant chefs and his attendants were manning the Fish Ritual. A table prepped with a bed of palm fronds and ice was topped with an array of stunningly beautiful fish, from red snapper to rainbow fish to Mahi Mahi. I'm talking sparkling scales, jewel tones, clear eyes and firm flesh. It doesn't get fresher than that.
Friday's Fish Ritual at the St. Regis Punta Mita
Every decision regarding the fish is made by the guests, from the specific fish they want, how they'd like it prepared (Ceviche? Grilled? Steamed in a banana leaf?), any accoutrements they prefer (Garlic basil sauce? Champagne Savoyan sauce?), what time they'd like to have it ready (Lunch? Dinner?) and even in which of the three St. Regis' restaurants they'd like to dine. Forget the trend of "from farm to table," we're upping the ante to "from sea to plate."
Here's what we chose:
- Fish: Red Snapper
- Preparation: Ceviche (appetizer)/Parilla con Talla Verde, aka grilled with garlic basil sauce (entree)
- Where: Sea Breeze Restaurant
- When: Dinner at 7:30pm, the best time to watch Punta Mita's gorgeous sunset
Build the Perfect Fish Dish
With the exception of a pointing at a sad little lobster stuck in a restaurant's tank, never before have we been able to literally choose our protein -- barely hours out of the sea -- and see it transformed into mouth-watering dishes. We started with the ceviche, which was marinated in lime juice, onion, spices and served with chopped tomato and fresh chips. Simple yet delicious. Our entree followed, huge filets of grilled red snapper topped with a light garlic basil sauce. To describe the snapper's flesh as anything other than sublimely succulent would be a disservice to the chef. It was easily the best piece of fish either Bryan or myself have had.
Entree: Grilled Red Snapper with Garlic Basil Sauce |
Ratatouille of Vegetables & Jasmine Rice (not shown)The Fish Ritual was a truly unique experience, one that we'll remember fondly. And if you're curious, it didn't break the bank, either. For two portions of the ceviche and two fish filet entrees, the bill came in at about $75 (US). It felt awesome to know we had literally walked down to the beach, pointed at the fish we wanted, chose the when/where/how and showed up a few hours later to enjoy a pescado feast. If you're in Punta Mita, definitely check St. Regis' fish ritual out. Then make sure to spend the rest of the day enjoying a cerveza by the pool. :)
Carreterra Federal 200, km 19.5
Punta Mita, Nayarit 63734