Puerta Vallarta

Goodbye LA – Hello Mexico to spend a couple of days with my client Mara.  I get a lot of people who ask me if I meet interesting folks when I travel. I have to honest with you the answer is not as much as you would think.  That changed on Sunday when I was on Alaskan Air flight from LA to Puerta Vallarta or PV as it is called. The plane was getting ready to pull back from the gate when all the sudden the flight attendant did a couple of seat changes.  The couple that was sitting next to me got moved and a young gal plopped down.  I lightly teased her that I was disappointed that the people moved as I noticed the lady had snacks and was wondering what did she bring to the table. She laughed and said she had a lot of magazines because she lives in Mexico but is in the states every couple of weeks and loads up on the mag’s.  We started talking and as it turned out she manages and is part owner in a company that leases high net worth individuals homes in probably the most exclusive community in PV.  I in turn tell her what I do and a friendship is formed.  One of the reasons it is formed is because they have a restaurant on the property that she is responsible for the building management of and is struggling a bit with the gentleman who is the manager. She dives into detail to get my opinion.  As the flight is ending and we are now fast friends I get an invitation for Mara and I to come out and take a look at some of the homes that she rents to  may and try the restaurant.

I get to Mexico greeted by Mara where we go down to the restaurant to have Mexican buffet which was very good and sit and talk all night long.  The next day is much of the same by the pool and because we are on vacation time for naps.

For dinner that night we do what the locals do get on the bus and go into PV – the wind of the day has died down some and it hot hot hot and humid humid humid.  We go to one restaurant and although the food is good decided we don’t want to do our main course there.  We walk for several blocks and find a Thai Asian restaurant that was very good. The amuse was a delicate salmon ceviche on a perfect bbq homemade potato chip.

Salmon Ceviche on Housemade Potato Chip

Salmon Ceviche on Housemade Potato Chip

Then we ate

Shrimp Ravioli in Ponzu Sauce - Delicious

Shrimp Ravioli in Ponzu Sauce - Delicious

The next 2 courses was fish – Mara’s was much better than mine and dessert I had to send back as the creme brulee should be called soggy brulee.

The next day – Mara and I went over to the marana for lunch. A co worker recommended we go to Fajita Banana’s for lunch.  The shrimp fajitas were excellent. What made them so good is that put diced jicama in the combination that gave those fajitas a much needed crunch and before they bought out the sizzling combo that flambed it with a Jack Daniels and Tequila mixture that you could taste just a hint.

Going into night time  – Rebecca sent a car to come get me and take me to where their 1500 acre community is outside of  PV.  The car ride ended up being 45 minutes with a pass right by the Corona factory.  P1040802

After about a 1 hour car ride – I end up meeting Rebecca at the first home she wanted me to see.  They are all situated on the water and have those lovely infinitey pools.  I can’t photograph the inside of many of these homes because of privacy but here is the outside of one home she is very familiar with.  I can totally see myself parked here for a week.

P1040805

Outside one of Rebeccas Houses

Here are some more pictures from the outside.

Sunset - The Bride Would Get Married On The Beach

                                                                                                                  Sunset – The Bride Would Get Married On The Beach

 

From the yeard looking to the house

From the yeard looking to the house

This is from the second house that we visited. It was bigger and had a full deck dedicated to “event space. This upper deck had a banquet kitchen and 3 different tiers in addition he had a privacy garden in the back that guests could enter by and cocktail.

Another home that has a full deck facing the ocean that is dedicated to events and entertaining

Another home that has a full deck facing the ocean that is dedicated to events and entertaining

This is the upper deck pool that is an easy walk to the ocean.

This is the upper deck pool that is an easy walk to the ocean.

Meditation Garden area that people rent out for yoga classes and is a good entrance and area for first statement cocktail party.

Meditation Garden area that people rent out for yoga classes and is a good entrance and area for first statement cocktail party.

After looking at 3 different types of housing options and getting it real quick how lovely everything is and how much the residents of this community care about each other – we moved onto my favorite part of the meal – dinner.  To be honest Rebecca is struggling a bit with certain aspects of the restaurant that she wanted me to take a hard look at and was the primary reason why I was there.  The restaurant is located primarily outdoors and with bugs just as hungry as the diners it made for an uncomfortable situation at best.

Chef's starter of asparagus soup with clam that had a touch of a spicy flavor to it was very good

Chef's starter of asparagus soup with clam that had a touch of a spicy flavor to it was very good

Next we had 3 appetizers – the calamari with black rice was by far my favorite.  Although the chef could have done with 50% less rice..  My least favorite was a salad with a duck confit which turned out really to be a duck pate it wasn’t good at all.

Calamari with Black Rice - You can see the black rice overpowers the calamari

Calamari with Black Rice - You can see the black rice overpowers the calamari

For my entree I had a traditiona skirt steak with a delicious black mole sauce and the round disc is a traditional Mexican Cheese that is served with this dish. 
Skirt Steak with an incredible black mole

Skirt Steak with an incredible black mole

Lamb chops with a balsamic reduction ; arugula salad and polenta cake

Lamb chops with a balsamic reduction ; arugula salad and polenta cake

This had way too much reduction and the reduction wasn’t  thick enough love the salad with this – not a big fan of the polenta cake this should be creamy and I think it would have worked out better.
Moving onto everyone’s favorite part of the meal – dessert – but for this particular dessert it does need a bit of the work.  The ice cream was grainy and profiteroles is a weird choice with this banana dish.
Dessert of Profiteroles that should be just that

Dessert of Profiteroles that should be just that

This is our other dessert.
Grand Manier Souffle that was delicious but chocolate sauce wasn't appropriate.

Grand Manier Souffle that was delicious but chocolate sauce wasn't appropriate.

After what for the most part was a delicious dinner it was time to head back into town. Rebecca ended up driving me back which was nice as we could visit and discuss our evening.  One thing I can tell you is that Rebecca is one smart cookie and I really enjoyed getting to meet her and help her out with her restaurant dilema.
My last day of vacation Mara and I take the local bus into the city – about 15 minutes from our hotel to do a little shopping.  Mara and I are always team players when it comes to helping out the local economy. I found the bus ride funny because you are on these old fashioned busses that have NO A/C and are rickety.  This experience reminded me of the old tv show “The Flying Nun”. Here is a picture of the coin bin.   A ride on the city bus is 6 pesos which is about .50 USD.
Coin bin where you pay your money on a bus in Mexcio

Coin bin where you pay your money on a bus in Mexcio

I also found this funny  and very sweet. This particular bus driver is religious as he wants everyone to pass underneath “Mary” as they get on. Probably the bus is so old he wants everyone to be blessed in hoping to get them to their final destination.
A way of blessing everyone on this drivers bus.

A way of blessing everyone on this drivers bus.

Next Mara and I went to a place she had been on her last trip to PV called Pipi’s – I hope I am saying this right ,Mara, as I kept messing it up.  The food was delicious and as part of the experience they make fresh guac in front of you and the cost is you tip the guy making the guac.
Fresh guac at your table

Fresh guac at your table

Almost done

Almost done

This is vacation and Mara had a little birthday celebrating to do so of course we are going to have a jumbo sized mango marg.

Happy Birthday Mara - a little late with many happy returns.

Happy Birthday Mara - a little late with many happy returns.

After lunch the strangest thing happened we were walking to the market and I passed this restaurant – I told Mara I wanted a picture of the sign because I have a good friend named Gaby in Atlanta – and don’t you think 10 minutes after I took this picture I got an email from Gaby!

A picture for my friend Gaby.

A picture for my friend Gaby.

At the market Mara and I bought some silver and she really got some beautiful pieces. I bought some earrings and a pretty bracelet.  This T-shirt is for all you guys out there.

It's a guy thing

It's a guy thing

After spending a couple of hours shopping in the heat Mara and I went back to the condo and went down to the pool for a late afternoon swim.  We were enjoying the late afternoon so much we didn’t get out of the pool until 8:45 pm.  By then we just ran across to the marina for Italian dinner and home to bed.  Thur was my last day and I took this picture post card from the middle of the pool. It was such a pretty day.

Picture taken from the middle of the pool.

Picture taken from the middle of the pool.

Pool

Pool

This pool did a wicked ceviche my last bite before starting the trek back to Atlanta.

Ceviche

Ceviche

The above is my travel story for now and I am sticking to it – Thank you Mara, Kim, Steve and Keith for allowing me to be with you on holiday.

Claire

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