Sunday, October 4, 2015


Your family said yes! Fireworks are in order. You properly convinced them that Mexico is a great choice for all of you to have a destination wedding; Specially in Rivera-Nayarit where you can enjoy not only beach but also mountains, islands, colonial and romantic cities.
Save money! You have showed then how getting married in Mexico will save about 10,000dollars for an average wedding compared to local weddings. And, if money is no object, then you show them how you get so much more than just savings with a destination wedding. You already agreed with them that you will enjoy the family so much more with a 5 to 7 day vacation of which no one will be able to get out of constantly with quick office calls or routine cumbersome obligations that happen all the time with home based weddings. 
The time you will have with all your guests will be pure quality time. Time you cannot put a price on. And they all know it. So, to celebrate with all of them that they made the best choice of their lives, we must make an amazing meal for them in your wedding, one that they will remember forever and talk about and brag about to all your friends back home, whom you had to cut off the list because they are not worthy, ha, ha. Just kidding. But seriously, we want your guests to brag. After the memories of what people wore and how the decorations looked and who sat where you are left with usually 2 or three main memories: The actual emotions and dancing and fun you had among your loved ones and the amazing dinner you had. Think about it. What do you remember of a wedding you went to years ago? Unless the food was spectacular and the emotions with your friends and family were high and you had a great date or something like that, you do not remember anything about the actual reception. Which is why a destination wedding is so much more impressive than having a reception at home. 
So, how can you create legendary memories? Offer amazing culturally rich dishes and fun presentations like a full blown taco stand on the wedding garden! 

Deliver to your guests more than a delicious plated 3 course dinner; Ideally you want to generate the type of memories that come up in every thanksgiving dinner. Your guests should experience a culinary cultural awakening. One that will change your family's view of Mexican food forever and one that will give them genuine moving lifetime memories. You know, like when your granddad tells the same story of the fish he caught? But the memory we are after would be more like- "Remember at your wedding in Bucerias when we caught a huge Mahi-Mahi and your chef cooked it for us for your amazing wedding dinner? We had that wood grilled fish what was it called?" As he looks over to you and says-"Hey Honey, thank you for that great trip. We all want to go back!"- that is what our goal is in Martoca Weddings. We will create a menu that you will have to hear about for years and your vacation/wedding parties and the whole week will be legendary in your family.

A Cultural Cuisine Awakening Menu ideally has 5 parts and itinerary would be such as this sample:

  • Welcome Snacks
  • Appetizers 
  • 3 course Dinner
  • Late Night Taco Stand
  • Coffee Bar and Sweets

"Antojitos" or Welcome Appetizers (left)
Welcome your guests and set the mood with "Botanas" these street food classics like "Papitas con Chile" and "Chicharrones" and "Fruta Picada" with "Aguas Frescas". These are street junk food found all over Mexico and are known as botanas. Snacks as you know them and we recommend homemade sliced potatoe chips and pork rinds and fuits all served with their obligatory lime and chile sauce and fresh fruit flavor water like limonade for example.

"Varitas de Camaron"(right) Shrimp served on a stick cooked a la roasted marshmellows if you will. It is a marinated basted shrimp with a tangy spicy sauce and cooked on our Mango Wood fire grill. Served with the All-Mexican Lime.

Another local fave, Ceviche Tostadas (below). Wild caught Snapper or Grouper or flounder minced and Cured and marinated with lime and mixed with "pico de gallo" (tomatoes, onions, cilantro and chile serrano) Served on a hard toasted corn tortilla.

"Montaditos" or "Molletes" is like a crostini on a baguette and it is all over Mexico but we call our bread "bolillo" or "birote". We toast a slice of bolillo and spread over it delicious pork lardon rich refried beans spread and top it with Panela Cheese. "Panela"is Mexico's similar cheese to Mozarella. However it has more form and you can roast it and give it smoky flavor. So we do just that! We dab abit of sauce on the panela and bam! Deliciousness.
Or serve mini shrimp ceviche bowls in a clay pot with your names handpainted on them (below).

"Tostadas de Atun": Think Sashimi meets tostada. We toast mini tortillas and top them with thin sliced fresh tuna marinated in fish sauce and spices and spicy tangy deliciousness. Not hot. But spicy as in spices.

"Flautas" are so good. A fried tortilla roll up. Flautas can be made with anything so you decide. Classics are with shredded pork or chicken that was braised and cooked in a green or red sauce or, we can use refried beans and panela like before or "queso fresco". Then deep fried to perfection. No mess. It is a big hit.
So many more appetizers to choose from! Have fun taste testing.

1rst course of dinner portion of the evening try "Chilpachole" it is originally from the gulf of Mexico and very similar to gumbo. Spanish and frech influence of course just like in New Orleans. This dish originally from veracruz area where my dad was raised. So I learned it fom him. The recipe is:

  • Cangrejo Moro (swamp crab) or Jaiba (Blue Shell ocean crab)
  • Shrimp (optional and may substitute crab if you must for guests who do not like crab but then it would not be my dad's recipe!)
  • Ancho, guajillo and arbol peppers, garlic, mirepoix, butter, seafood stock.
  • Deseed peppers and soak in fish stock water until soft an use pulp.
  • Clean all shell fish and sautee with mirepoix and butter and reserve shell fish. Deglace with pepper and fish stock liquid.
  • Simmer stock and put crab back in. Do not put shrimp back in until service because shrimp is cooked already. People always over cook seafood for some reason. it should be crunchy and juicy!
This soup is a tremendous hit. I made it for my boss in Whole Foods when i had to use 16 unds of Alaska crab that they were going to throw out and i made it for the restaurant in the store and they went nuts. I had to give 7 recipe cards to customers and we sold out in 1 hour. The social media of the store blew up and I got 5 "Whole Bucks" from the director to spend on coffe as a reward. WoHoo!

For the main course try a "Pescado Sarandeado". Grilled fish at low heat so the juices also braise meat so it is a grill/braise combination. We find the fish or fishes we need for the amount of guests you have and then we begin...
We get a fish that either you guys caught, or one we buy one from fishermen that deliver it fresh and begin to prepare the most awesome dish your guests will ever have as far as fish goes. So here are the steps to make this amazing dish:

Pescado Sarandeado Recipe:

  • For fire use coal and Mango or Mangle wood (special flavors from smoke occur) 
  • Marinate fish in sauce for 2 hours. Cut fish in butterfly and try and keep whole and leave scales on. Need large scaled fish so that is why we need groupers, snappers or seabass will do as well. 
  • Use a fish rack and place fish scales down toward heat and let it cook for 30 minutes at low heat. The top you can broil or cook the top very quickly to sear and then flip. it depends on your grill how you would do it. Baste the fish with the sauce or "mojo" 3 or 4 times so it has a crust once it is finsihed.
  • Depending on your party you can place the fish whole and have servers cut it and serve it as it was in the beginning of time or you can have them plate it and serve it plated and guests will only see the plate with the fish and rice and veggies.
  • Serve with vinagette grilled or a salad and plain white rice and hot freshly made tortillas and butter fried bolillos. The sauce of the fish and the fish itself will do the talking no need for spicy or sauces on the sides. Make sure you salt and pepper the fish raw right before cooking!
"Pescado Sarandeado"is usually ordered for the family at the beach or restaurant. Not typicaly a per person dish because to make it properly you need the whole fish and scales to retain the juices. A properly coooked sarandeado has a crust on top and crispy scales but juicy on the inside. Do not use high heat because you will burn outside and not give the inside a chance to cook through. The scales are good protection but not fireproof!

OK the "mojo" is the key. So to make the mojo we use many local ingredients but for you in the US you can use BBQ sauce and mix in some Mexican hot sauce like Valentina or Cholula for example. We make our own roasted tomatoe paste mix with fish sauce (vinegar and fish stock) and cane sugar which equals (ketchup) and braise it with Guajillo, cascabel peppers and marjoram, chili powder, achite, oregano, mustard, seeds, garlic, bayleaves and balck pepper. Strain and reduce. Once you have a consistency to baste with you are golden. It is a BBQ sauce really... So if you are in the Midwest or South in USA you know whats up. ha,ha. You can make your own BBQ sauce. Ours is delicious I promise and what makes it a local flavor is the Mango or Mangle wood and the Guajillo and Achiote flavors. So if you have a BBQ sauce add some guajillo and Achiote and see what happens! Play with it. 
OK back to your wedding day menu :) 

3rd course can be an assortment of Mexican desserts and fruit preserves and cheeses  or custards such as flan or a cake like tres leches.... churros an Ice Cream etc. Desserts are not my forte but we will have the best pastry chef to make you a wonderful wedding cake or cakes for the dessert potion or go with custards and such.

Late Night Munchies

A Late Night Taco Stand is the perfect closure for such a savory wedding day! Guests need to eat about every 3 or 4 hours so around 11pm you need to have some tacos! Now we have all the salsas and guacamole ready from before so all you need to do is decide on what type of fillings to have in your tacos. Remember you do not want to be messy or dripping all over the place so I suggest "dry" or grilled tacos as opposed to "Guisado" tacos. Guisado is braising and braising means liquid and mess. So I suggest you go with "Tacos al Pastor" which are very popular and give a great show. Pastor means sheperd and they are called this because you just put the meat next to the wood fire and let it cook and put the meat on the tortilla with some sauce on it and listo! BUt of course we elaborate a bit and make it more fun. We slice pork shoulder and beef shoulder and mix these two after marinating them overnight with a vinagrette and Achiote. Then we skewer each filet onto the spit. And then we put close to the fire and roast the meat while spinning the spit like a vertical rotisserie. And let me tell you it is delicious! We roast a pinnaple to counter the smoky flavor and bam! You have tacos al pastor. Served with diced onions and cilantro and a chunk of pinnaple. We serve salsas on the table next to our guacamole. We make quesadillas for those who do not like beef or pork.

Sweet Tooth Nightcap
Churros and Coffee for a night cap. We make the churros on site as well in our deep fry bowl. It is a doughnut style mix of flour and sugar and eggs with vainilla and it is just delicious with coffee. We serve them on a stick or on butcher paper so you do not get sugar and oil everywhere and so you can dip them in your coffee. Our coffee will have cinnamon sticks and bitter cocoa powder in it like Mexican Coffee should have. And, if you want we can add Tequila and flame it for some cool special effects! It just depends if you want to go longer or start shutting it down about 1AM.

To enhance your wedding culinary extravaganza you should have hand made tortillas, salsas and guacamole made tableside. Unlike hotels, we make our dishes and appetizers on site on the day of your wedding. 

Our venue is focused on creating a Mexico feel inside the venue and therefore we will create "puestos" or stands like you see on the streets and your guests will see all these dishes being created in front of their eyes if they want to. We would never distract for your bug day and the spotlight is on you, but cooking is entertainment so if you are on a budget let us be your entertainment! So find a venue that can do this for you if you are on a budget it is a great experience for all and cheaper than a live band :) I am a food and bar guy. But many couples do not focus on their menu. I do. I think couples who are getting married in Mexico should enjoy local cuisine and make it part of their entertainment in the wedding. It is almost a let down for me to cook sliders and steaks for a group who hires our services. I just think to myself, what a wasted opportunity to impress guests and with this impression you thank them and make their trip worthy of their time and money.

I want your granddad to wonder for the rest of his life how the hell that Mexican guy made that amazing fish! At thanksgiving next time hopefully you all can remind him and say-"Hey papaw, it was called Pescado Sarandeado, remember? Let them know Jimmy hooked it up!
Email to get details on how to make it happen!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah! Very true! Wedding is a day which we dreamed from so many years. I wanted to reserve an affordable venue where I can celebrate the big day, and then I explore the location and found an amazing Chicago event space. Hope everything will go good that day.