Tonight we had the distinct pleasure of dining at the Portofino restaurant in Las Brisas Ixtapa hotel, hosted by its gracious GM, Higinio de León.
Before dinner, though, we were shown around the hotel and glimpsed for ourselves what $20+ million in renovation money can do for a resort when in the right hands. Wow. I had last been here about 7 years ago and let me tell ya, it was worth every penny. The hotel itself is over 30 years old—a gorgeous structure created by master architect Ricardo Legorreta—but it sure isn’t showing its age.
From the hip new lounge area to the beautifully redone rooms (bigger, better, cooler), Brisas Ixtapa takes top marks in design and, most importantly, in service. But enough of the trade talk.
After being courteously peeled off of the white leather couch in the Presidential Suite (where I had decided to live out my remaining years) I was invited/escorted to see the sunset from the lounge with the rest of my fellow travelers. I joined them for lots of a couple of scrumptious mango margaritas and watched the sky turn all sorts of improbable shades, all to the rhythm of some excellent Brazilian tunes. After the nature show, we walked over to the Portofino restaurant—a Four Diamond establishment (like the hotel itself) and the only one with this distinction in the area.
We soon learned the reason why and his name is Abel (I’m sure the chef has something to do with it—OK, a LOT to do with it—but we really liked Abel). After the appetizer (I had a plate with three different types of mouth-watering carpaccio), Abel and his accomplice rolled out their cart and proceeded to prepare the Supreme Pasta Dish of the Gods (my name, not theirs). We’re talking your choice of lobster, shrimp or salmon, delicately cooked and tossed with homemade pasta, which had first been ladled into the scooped-out middle of a giant wheel of imported Parmesan cheese (see below). The pasta melted into the cheese and was then tossed with the seafood, fresh basil and other delicacies, then presented under a silver dome.
YEAH. It was THAT good. We washed it down with a bottle (or three) of Santo Tomás Sirocco, an amazing red. Not that I know that much about wines, but I know this one was amazing and it most certainly was red.
Dessert time brought Abel out again with his magic cart for some outrageous bananas flambé. Abel: you are a genius with the pans and the Sterno thingies. Obviously your mom never told you not to play with fire, and that’s OK with us.
By the way, Brisas offers 24-hour room service and you can actually order the Supreme Pasta Dish of the Gods. No lie. When I move into the Presidential Suite, I, too, shall order from the Portofino menu whilst I lounge and watch the sunset from my private terrace. You’re welcome to visit.