In Carlsbad, Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo of the Park Hyatt Aviara combines local ingredients from land and sea for a fresh and flavorful dish with a unique San Diego accent.

Perched on a sun-drenched ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad is home to several fine dining venues—including two AAA Four Diamond-awarded restaurants—which range from innovative Italian fare (Vivace) to prime cuts of organic meats served sizzling hot (The Argyle Steakhouse). What the restaurants hold in common is the philosophy that ingredients should be locally sourced, sustainably produced, and used at the peak of freshness.

 “The work frame we use for all of the resort’s restaurants is to be as sustainable as possible,” says Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo. “We [try] to source our ingredients from within a 200-mile radius, and we don’t use anything that is not in season.” These principles appear in the restaurants’ menus, which change seasonally. Fortunately, Southern California is blessed with year-round growing capabilities, so something delightful is always available. In addition to having farm-fresh produce within easy reach, the California coastline offers access to responsibly harvested fruits of the sea. Meanwhile, inland estates offer a wealth of ranches where livestock is raised humanely, naturally, and without hormones or antibiotics. These simple, fresh, and superior ingredients compose the backbone of Chef Albaladejo’s dishes, including his Chipotle Carlsbad Mussels with beef bacon, cilantro, avocado, and cucumber garnish. “I wanted to create a recipe that showcased our local products, so I used mussels from Carlsbad Aquafarm, Brandt Beef bacon, and beer from Stone Brewing Co.,” he says, adding, “Mexican cuisine influences us here, so I added avocado, cilantro, and chipotle. That sort of connected the dots to make it truly San Diegan.”

Chipotle Carlsbad Mussels with Beef Bacon, Cilantro, Avocado & Cucumber Garnish:  Serves 4

Chipotle Sauce

  • 2 medium roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 oz. chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (available in Mexican grocery aisle)
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. Stone Pale Ale beer (or any microbrew pale ale)

In a large pan, sauté shallots in olive oil, then add red peppers and chipotle. Deglaze with beer and reduce by half. Add cream and bring to a simmer, reduce by a third. Adjust seasoning with salt then purée in a blender until smooth. Hold sauce for later.

Steamed Mussels

  • 2 lbs. cleaned and de-bearded Carlsbad mussels (or any black mussels)
  • 4 slices Brandt Beef bacon
  • 1/2 c. Stone Pale Ale beer (or any microbrew pale ale)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 2 c. prepared chipotle sauce

Dice bacon and slowly render in a deep saucepan. When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside to be used for the garnish. Leave the fat in the pan. Sauté the shallots and garlic in the bacon fat. Drain off excess grease and add the mussels, toss to coat, then add the prepared chipotle sauce. Add the beer, bring to a low boil, cover the pan, and let the mussels open. As the mussels open, remove them from the pan and place into a serving bowl. Increase the heat and bring the sauce to boil. Adjust the seasoning with salt, then pour the sauce over the mussels.

For the garnish

  • Rendered Brandt Beef bacon
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 Temecula honey onion, shaved thin (or any sweet onion, such as Maui or Vidalia)
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 lime

Toss together the first five ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze lime over the ingredients. Toss together gently so you don’t smash the avocado. Place on top of the cooked mussels and enjoy.