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Meatless Monday: Zucchini tomato goulash

This hearty goulash creates a lively side dish or vegetarian meal.

By Blue Kitchen / July 25, 2011

Zucchini tomato goulash combines zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, jalapeño peppers, and ricotta cheese.

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You know how when you’re traveling and one of the locals asks where you’re from, then says wistfully, “Wow, I’ve always wanted to go there”? I didn’t get that once in Los Cabos. Not once. And I live in Chicago, a place I consider capable of generating a certain amount of destination envy.

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I was in Los Cabos a few weeks ago, at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, on a culinary press trip to explore the foodie side of this popular tourist destination.

My fellow travelers and I were guests of the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau. And while we were asked many times where we had come from to get there (besides Chicago, the answers included New York City, Los Angeles and Western Canada), our replies inspired little more than polite curiosity. No one seemed eager to leave this sunny, narrow strip of land with the Pacific on one side and the Sea of Cortés on the other.

Whether they’d been born in Los Cabos or had moved from Mexico’s mainland or other, more far-flung points around the globe, the waiters, hotel managers, drivers, restaurateurs, chefs, fishing boat captains and shop owners we spoke with all seemed to be precisely where they wanted to be. In the four days I spent there, I could see why.

Los Cabos (the capes) wraps around the southern tip of the peninsula. The region is mostly mountainous, rocky desert, quite beautiful (and to my Midwestern eyes, exotic) under the relentless sun and blue skies. And for all the heat (mid-90s during the day), the dry desert air and nearly constant ocean breezes keep things reasonably comfortable, especially in the shade. At night, the temperatures dip into the 60s, and jackets are encouraged. As a result, the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces are often blurred or obliterated – you flow seamlessly from one to another. I am a sucker for this use of space.

Our hotel, the newly opened Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, is a perfect example. The spacious lobby area is open at both ends; the ocean breezes and sounds let you know you’re not cooped up inside as you sit around large, low tables in big, comfy chairs, sipping your check-in welcome drink. And there are no interior hallways, just covered outdoor walkways to take you to your suite.

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