Flora Farm, Si again!

A few years ago, before it was receiving much press, I ventured up in the hills above Cabo San Lucas to an organic farm restaurant: Flora Farm. The destinations we recommend are safe communities; in regard to food, many organic farms have been on the local scene for a few years. Additionally, many five star properties raise organic produce or buy directly from organic farms. On my most recent visit in September, I was heartened to discover that Flora Farm has grown, still a sweet vegetable farm restaurant, however, it has introduced small cottages for sale or VRBO, and a few high quality well priced shops. Flora Farm, is a ten-acre organic farm in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. When you veer off-road to a rutted dirt lane, and climb amid dry desert terrain up to the verdant green gardens, you realize taking the road less traveled provides a marvelous surprise! They now serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer cooking classes. The setting is lovely and peaceful, by day, the bees and butterfly’s compete for pollen; at night, the large moths compete for the flame of the flickering candles. Best to sit still to watch and enjoy the large winged creatures as they battle for the flame, museum quality bugs!

Patrick and Gloria Greene began ten years ago by founding the Farmers Market and expanded to grow for Floras Field Kitchen, Floras Grocery and the recent Culinary Cottage owners. Farming without pesticides or using genetically modified seeds and working the farm largely by hand yields over 100 varieties of heirloom vegetables and herbs. Chef Guillermo Tellez runs the kitchen and advises staff for the public classes. In addition to produce, they began ranching to supply the Field Kitchen and Grocery with high quality humanely raised chickens, eggs, and pork. Their longtime partner, “Jefe” Guadalupe Espinoza, has been raising animals his entire life in Santa Anita on the 150-acre ranch his father Don Manuel purchased in the 1960s. Their dedicated local fisherman supplies Catch of the Day.

The philosophy of Flora Field is to create handmade food utilizing farm fresh ingredients. Working day begins at four am in the bakery when Jose arrives to fire the wood oven. He lovingly bakes loaves of Pain L’ancienne baguette, ciabatta, sourdough, focaccia, whole wheat and herb breads. Occupational hazard, one is required to taste each: all are excellent; the herb bread was my favorite. Fresh butter served in small Kerr mason canning jars support the model, a return to an era when preserving farm fresh produce was the norm. The menu fluctuates with the change of seasons.

Along with traditional cocktails, fine wines and beer on tap, the Farm Bar serves up a full-range of fruit and vegetable infused specialty cocktails such as the heirloom carrot Farmarita, Flora Farm’s spin on the traditional Margarita, and the Farm Julep made with fresh watermelon juice.Indulging in a healthy carrot infused Farmarita, also served in a wide mouth-canning jar, I was entertained by graceful butterflies and buzzing bees performing a pollination ballet. My favorite table is on the edge of the garden beneath an umbrella, orchestra section for the insect and bird activity. And people watching – sightings of renowned chefs and movie stars who flock to Flora. My recent Cabo visiting clients were so entranced, they dined twice!

An assortment of salads fills the menu; wander the Grocer area and choose from the dainty French radishes, heirloom tomatoes (the largest I’ve ever seen), wild arugula…an endless selection of perfect produce. Dine family style and share a bite of many divine and delectable offerings. Perfectly prepared seared sage chicken cutlets; hand crafted pappardelle pasta served with slivers of carrots, zucchini and ribbons of freshly grated Parmesan…save room for dessert. Garden carrot cake, a slab of scrumptious chocolate cake?

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sunday Brunch and live music in the evenings.  The night we dined, the grassy field was stacked with hay bales and a large movie screen, outdoor movies under the starry sky.

Private parties are graciously welcomed. Reservations essential.

Our clients, of course, provided VIP Pampering!

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Rosewood Resort

In describing five star Cabo resorts, there is the right resort for each and every traveler. Las Ventanas al Paraiso overlooking the sparkling Sea of Cortez is a fabulous combination of ultra-luxe sophisticated lodging with manicured grounds that thoroughly reflect the dry sandy white desert environment. If you need a dose of unplugged luxury, please consider Las Ventanas.Las Ventanas al Paraiso

I’ve always loved the entrance to this property, the shimmering sun bleached white stone architecture, it seems Moorish in design, however in this location it is perfectly appropriate. Linear sandy paths artfully dotted by various species of cactus enhance the natural setting, architectural form is practiced to the highest degree at this luxury resort. Rustic wood and woven reed coverings shade the walkways, one does feel as if you are in a small village. Curated art pieces line the halls and are tucked away in remote corers of the property – each purposely placed to enhance the space, delicate gestures, nothing is overdone here.Las Ventanas al Paraiso Welcome

I love the arrival at the massive open terrace as a lively mariachi band plays a welcome greeting and a thirst quenching chilled drink is proffered. On this occasion, a frothy foamy Margarita is whipped out of a dispenser into a delicate glass. The stage is set for your visit. The blocks of suites and rooms are arranged as small singular buildings, appearing as a whitewashed village on the sea. The layout guarantees privacy on your deck or star gazing terrace. Many have small plunge pools if you are not the type to hang with others poolside.

The crème de la crème is a row of private Villas – most built after the destructive Odile Hurricane; Rosewood had a few villas, however, there are now a total of ten in addition to the new Ty Warner Mansion. Each Villa is fronted by a large private gate and landscaped terrace garden; your Villa butler patiently waits at the gate anticipating your each and every request. An amenity list yards long is included in a Villa stay, it includes, but is not limited to: airport transfers, daily breakfast prepared in your spacious well-stocked kitchen, a 60-minute welcome massage for each guest.Las Ventanas al Paraiso

We had already endured Hurricane Newton and a little too much local cheer, thus when we arrived at our two-bedroom beachfront villa, we plotted how to delay our departure! Honestly, the sense of serenity and calmness was a welcome antidote to our weary traveler woes.lLas Ventanas al Paraiso

The interiors are stunning in every respect; enchanting art works are carefully curated, the hotel has a relationship with Assouline, thus the villas are packed with a collection of their gorgeous books. The massive library would easily provide a week of lounger reading. Each room is thoughtfully furnished with beautiful authentic tapestries, paintings, blown glass and local ironwork, truly evoking an authentic sense of place. The infinity pool and Jacuzzi provided an instant chill – arrive here and I venture to predict you won’t leave your compound during your stay!Las Ventanas al Paraiso

The enormous bathrooms contain indoor and outdoor showers, an infinity tub with jets, double sinks, flanked by walk in closets. Mini-mansions on their own. Rooms with floor to ceiling glass provide stunning views of the  shimmering sea, nature rules this resort and you will be lulled into absolute relaxation!Las Ventanas al Paraiso

Las Ventanas is located on one of the few long stretches of coarse sandy beaches which can become an exercise substitute if you prefer to avoid the gym; walk for miles with the pounding surf as background music.

This AAA Five Diamond Award winner has three on-site restaurants and a beach bar. The Restaurant serves Mexican dishes, La Cava may create a special menu and The Sea Grill’s specializes in grilled food. Don’t miss a conversation with either female sommeliers, they are brilliant and have visited the Mexican vineyards – they have impeccable taste and marvelous suggestions. The upper terrace outdoor Tequila & Ceviche Bar has a wide variety of beverages and typical Baja California dishes. I love the alfresco bar, perfect afternoon spot to sip and savor pre-nap.Las Ventanas al Paraiso

The Rosewood Executive team recruited the affable Frederic Vidal, whose resume includes managing royal palaces and villas in the UAE and a luxury Seychelles resort. I imagine, Frederic has imported a lengthy list of extravagant amenities and is accustomed to catering to the heads of state, trust that your desires will be managed. Talk to him about his extensive travels, he hasn’t missed much on the travel planet!lLas Ventanas al Paraiso

The Ty Warner Mansion at the end of the beach property was closed due to the hurricane, however, a little peek gave me a sense of the grandeur. The exclusive beachfront mansion is poised directly on the water’s edge with panoramic views over the Sea of Cortez.  Encompassing 28,000 square feet, the exceptionally private sanctuary was created by the renowned architect Jorge Torres with interiors by Robert Couturier.  Dual master suites with soaring ceilings are colorfully decorated in Indian silks. Besides a 328-foot infinity pool on the lower deck, an elevator transports guests to a 9000 square foot roof top terrace with sundeck and a glass bottom lap pool, putting green and massage pavilion. The authentic Mexican artistry and craftsmanship on display within the Mansion includes specially commissioned art, decorative works and textiles personally selected by owner Ty Warner.Las Ventanas al Paraiso Mansion

The Mansion is the ultimate retreat for a family or a few friends.Las Ventanas al Paraiso Mansio

Personally, a week of rest and pampering in a two bedroom ocean front Villa should be a quarterly prescription.