Maura meets Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara!

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to a beautiful event by the Mexico Tourism Board in Chicago and there was a very special guest on hand: Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara Manzo.

Not only did Secretary Guevara talk about new tourism initiatives, but she also introduced a sneak preview to all the guests of the new documentary, “Mexico: The Royal Tour,” what looks to be an absolutely thrilling journey around Mexico with Peter Greenberg and one of the country’s most distinguished tour guides: President Felipe Calderón.

The trailer brought tears to my eyes when I recognized a few of the places I have been and made my heart ache for Mexico. Thankfully, my next trip is only one month away. The rest of the night was filled with traditional music, excellent food from Mexique and a gallery viewing of simply stunning photographs by world-renowned Spanish photojournalist, César Russ (who, coincidentally, has been living in Chicago since 2006). The photos are incredible and so vibrant, you feel as if you’re really there. The detail is just amazing—have a look for yourself: I took video as I walked through the gallery and captured some of my favorite photos up-close.

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After the video presentation, I had the chance to speak with Secretary Guevara for a few minutes about tourism efforts, how online efforts are helping boost tourism and the Mexico Today program. As the only Mexico Today ambassador located in the Midwest, I was honored to represent my colleagues far and wide and was very proud when Secretary Guevara was able to mention some specific efforts within the program and that she was very pleased with the selection of ambassadors…. 

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Mexique: Celebrating Mexican Cuisine with a French Twist

A few weeks ago I attended a dinner given by the Mexico Tourism Board and Chef Carlos Gaytan at his restaurant, Mexique, in honor of the recent UNESCO designation of Mexican cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Tourism Board over the last several weeks has hosted authentic Mexican dinners in a number of major North American cities to celebrate, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, so I was thrilled to receive the invitation.

Did you know that French recipes and cooking techniques during the French occupation of Mexico in the 1860s became an important element in the evolution of modern Mexican gastronomy?

Gaytan’s concept behind Mexique is modern Mexican food with French influence. Hailing from Huitzuco, Guerrero, Gaytan’s love of food helped him rise from pantry cook to executive chef. He trained with French chef Dominique Tougne of Bistro 110 (Gold Coast) and has also spent time in the kitchens at Bistrot Margo (Old Town) and the Union League Club (Loop), all in Chicago. If you live in Chicago or are visiting, I highly recommend you visit Mexique for a meal.

One thing that left an impression on me at the dinner was when Carlos explained why he doesn’t serve mixed drinks in his restaurant: they take away from the palate and so instead, he serves wine and tequila. And God bless him for telling everyone in the dining room that tequila should be sipped. Someone at a table near me chimed in that “only heathens drink tequila shooters,” which caused an eruption of laughter at my table.

And I can’t end without showing you what we ate. It was a lovely four-course tasting meal with excellent wines and ended with tequila. I can’t wait to return to Mexique for another meal!

PRIMERO: Ceviche

Ahi tuna, avocado mousse, chipotle aioli, mango habanero galette… 

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