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Rancho La Puerta: Salsa Dance and Cooking

by Nicole Dorsey Straff
Photo courtesy of Alice Carrier

Photo courtesy of Alice Carrier

Can you simultaneously swivel your hips and purse your lips at Rancho La Puerta this summer? Heck, yes. Three miles from Tecate, Mexico, in one of the biggest, most innovative spa resorts in North America, one very sweet extracurricular session occurs every weekend for guests and hotel staff. Executive Chef Denise Roa instructs groups in healthy cooking techniques where you make your own salsa, pico de gallo and garden-fresh guacamole in the state-of-the-art cooking kitchen facing picturesque Mt. Kuchumaa.

Donning aprons and swigging margaritas, guests pick their own produce from the inspiring organic gardens—learning the telltale differences from ancho chilies to chile de arboles. In fact, many vacationing top chefs spend a week or two here each summer, tasting and brushing up on their own Mexican cooking skills, and teaching along with Chef Roa who calls this “the best job in the world.”

During the cooking part of Salsa y Salsa class, La Cocina’s garden patio is set up as in traditional farm-to-table Mexican feast near the cooking school and culinary center, La Cocina Que Canta. After 90 minutes or so, Chef calls in dance instructors from the fitness center and the ballroom dancers—led by easy-going Manuel—patiently instruct tipsy guests (and kitchen staff) exactly how to get your groove on, Latino-style.

Gesturing to the dancers after dinner, Chef Roa says learning to salsa and other Latin dance steps are terrifying to her. Cooking is a breeze, comparatively speaking. “The cooking part is so much easier and comes naturally, Chef Roa says. “It’s hard for me to embrace my inner performer.” Many guests feel the same way, it seems.

Chef Roa urges guests to try some of her other favorite Rancho La Puerta resort activities:

• Aqua aerobics and guided nature walks across 32+ garden-like acres;
• Watsu water therapy massage and healing acupuncture;
• yoga, meditation and tai chi sessons;
• crystal bowl sound therapy to reset your senses; and
• swimming, organic gardening and waking the outdoor, meditative labyrinth.

Next time you come to Baja California, find the magic of Salsa y Salsa at Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa, plus lots more.

Connect with Nicole @nicoledorsey1

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