Cabos San Lucas · Cheap Eats · Mexican · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Los Cabos 2018 – Part Three

After breakfast on our deck, N treated me for a massage on the beach. My massage at Bety’s was better than the one L took me to. N complained that her masseuse would stop massaging her to check her phone or talk to her colleagues. For this post, let’s listen to Q-TipVivrant Thing.

N paid for the massages in US currency, but she gave 500 pesos and asked for 300 back, leaving 200 pesos for a tip. Her masseuse didn’t give her back her change until N reminded her twice. There was a long uncomfortable silence and her masseuse wouldn’t make eye contact until the manager came over and said to the masseuse with a shrug and a face, “That’s like a $3.50 tip.”

N was pissed. She told me later that 15% was a good enough tip for the massage she received. I calculated 200 pesos and that’s about $10 US, which is $5 a person. I thanked N for treating me and I said I hoped the manager’s remark did not ruin the experience. N said no it did not it just irks her when people expect more than 15% when the service wasn’t good. She said it angers her when she gets a coffee in Vancouver and the tip option is 18% and up. I told N to visit Japan, where there is no tipping.

On the way back to our condo, N bought fresh fruit from a vendor selling it from his truck. For a plate of assorted fruit, he charged $10 US. She gave him a $5 US tip.

N brought a special bottle of champagne to share with us – Belle Epoque Perrier-Jouet. I looked up the bottle and was shocked to see it sells for over $200 a bottle. I was relieved to hear that N didn’t buy the bottle herself. It was a birthday gift from her friend. I asked if she still hung out with him. She said no, not since he got a girlfriend. Dammit N. He sounds like a nice guy with very good taste. You should have given him a chance.

The bouquet was strong and a bit yeasty. The bubbles were soft and not as carbonated as I’m use to. The flavour was mellow and disappeared on the tongue with no aftertaste. To date, this is the best champagne I tried. Having said that, I would rather spend my hard-earned cash on Pol Roger, which is my new favourite splurge.

After we finished N’s champagne, we walked over to Tacos Gardenias for a late lunch. I ordered a lobster and shrimp quesadilla. The lobster meat was sweet and crunchy. The shrimp quesadilla was tasty, but nothing compared to the lobster version.

L preferred the grilled shrimp and fish over the battered version. The seafood at Gardenias is the best of the bunch we tried at other taco joints in Cabos. The pork taco was highly recommended by our server and L was impressed by it. Tacos are around 40 pesos and the shrimp quesadilla was 50 pesos.

N picked cactus and green peppers tacos and quesadillas. She raved about how much she enjoyed her lunch. L was surprised that N enjoyed Gardenias so much because she usually dines at high-end restaurants. I’ve known N since 2007. She likes fancier restaurants more than I do, but she’ll eat anywhere, as long as the food is good.

For our last dinner, N treated us to our favourite restaurant – Los Tres Gallos. The open air courtyard is beautiful. I like the lights and coloured flags hanging overhead.

N ordered Sopa Tortilla (150 Pesos * 3) – cheese and mushrooms in thick homemade tortillas. The cheese was chewy and luxuriously soft. One of the best things we ate on the trip. A must order.

For N’s main, she ordered Sopa Tortilla (150 Pesos). I ordered this two years ago and I remember not being impressed. She raved about the soup. The presentation is different from previously and it’s now a bigger portion with more ingredients. I took a sip and while it was good, it wasn’t worthy of her ecstatic compliments. I thought that perhaps because she’s a vegetarian, her expectations were lower than mine.

N enjoyed her margaritas (120 Pesos) so much, she ordered a second one. I thought this margarita was more refined and subtle than Monkey Business.

I wasn’t hungry so I ordered a Caesar Salad and shared it with L (260 Pesos). The salad is made table-side. Our server whipped up the egg with garlic and did a lot of lettuce tossing. Tasty, but I wouldn’t order it again because it tasted just like a regular Caesar salad but with more dressing.

Los Tres Gallos is known for their mole dishes. L ordered the Enchiladas de Mole Chicken (290 Pesos). L liked this even more than the mole chicken entrée he picked two years ago. The enchilada was made with shredded white breast meat. The sauce was rich and tasted of cocoa.

I’m pretty sure in 2020 when I reach my milestone birthday, N, L, Beep Beep, Veronica, Jughead and I will have dinner at Los Tres Gallos.

For our last breakfast, N and I walked over to Cabo Bakery . N ordered the grilled vegetable panini (155 Pesos) with a side salad and I ordered salmon lox on brioche bread ($130 Pesos). She loved the flavour of the salad dressing and the use of pea shoots. N could only finish half her panini and saved the rest for her dinner on the plane.

I didn’t realize my breakfast included two eggs. Had I known, I wouldn’t have ordered it because eggs over easy makes my tummy queasy. The scoop of horseradish went well with the lox and capers. I didn’t like how thick the red onion was sliced. The brioche was dry and the egg was too runny for me.

I ordered two sandwiches from Cabos Bakery to eat on the plane. The slender baguette of ham and butter was simple but good, as the quality of ham was excellent. The baguette itself was dry. The tomato, ham and avocado sandwich I ordered was soggy by the time we ate it, about 4 hours later. The bread wasn’t up to my standard – it was too light and without a nice crunch.

L has this tradition of eating at the airport before we fly home. This year was better than the last time we dined here. He ordered the deluxe guacamole – grilled cheese, pork rinds, guacamole and beans. Our neighbours hot wings and onion rings looked far better. Good to know for the next time.

Speaking of the next time, I’m bringing my own wine in 2020. Tourists are allowed to bring up to three bottles of wine in their checked luggage. The wine selection in Mexico is limited, and wines were generally marked up a third more than in Calgary.

Highlight – Belle Epoque Perrier-Jouet. Lowlight – N won’t date a nice guy with good taste in women and champagne.

Cabos San Lucas · Cheap Eats · Restaurants

Los Cabos 2018 – Part Two

I was counting down the hours until N arrived. Unfortunately, her flight was delayed and she could only get a flight out the next day. I can only imagine the earful the customer representative received. If anyone can get compensation from an airline service, it would be N. For this post, let’s listen to Consuelo Velasquez – Besame Mucho.

On the way to our Airbnb, our driver recommended Las Guacamayas. He said locals dine there and the molten seafood cheese molcajetes are delicious. When N’s flight was delayed, I cancelled our reservations at Roasted Grill and Bar and we went to Las Guacamayas instead. The restaurant itself is pretty neat – there are two and a half levels. Throughout the evening, there was live music and dancers.

L and I shared an order of Molcajetes ($18 CAN). The lava bowl was searing hot – filled with octopus, prawns, avocado, asparagus and covered in a mushroom cheese sauce. The tortillas were too dry and cracked when we put the cheese and seafood inside it. The asparagus was overcooked. The mushroom sauce would have benefited from seasoning. I couldn’t ask our server for fresh tortillas because they were short-staffed. I didn’t mind – the ambience and music made up for it. I thought the food was fair for the price.

After dinner, we walked around and admired an art gallery with a rock formation behind the store. An artist came out and asked us if we would like to attend the party behind the gallery. The exhibition consisted of 11 new artists and to celebrate the full moon, there was live music, poetry readings, and complimentary wine. He said to walk to the back and to follow our hearts to find the party. What a romantic! The curved stairs lead us to the top of the hill.

I was surprised that I enjoyed the wine – so much that I went over to take a picture of the label. I looked up the price and it’s around $9 US. I wish pubs in Calgary would serve Nicolas Merlot for their happy hour selection. There was nothing offensive about it – fruity, light with no after taste.

We walked around and enjoyed the view of the city. When the live performances were finished, we checked out the art exhibition. Our favourite painting was created by the artist that pulled us into the studio. He refurbishes old paintings and recycles it by adding his own story. We asked him how much his painting was and he looked shocked. He quickly said $500 US then admitted to us that he just made up the number. He brought over the gallery director who told us she didn’t have a way to ship the framed painting to us. I was tipsy so I told L we should take a look at the painting the next morning.

screen shot 2019-01-03 at 8.59.25 pm

The next evening, we ate at El Peregrino . We skipped appetizers because we didn’t want to overeat. L ordered the ribs that were on special that night for only $12 US. The meat was tender, though there was one piece that was too fatty. The fries were nice – thin and crispy like Earl’s version in Canada.

I loved my octopus dish ($15 US). The sauce tasted like olive oil, garlic and butter. The octopus itself was toothsome with no chew to it. I’d order this dish again. Best octopus I’ve ever eaten. I enjoyed our meal so much, I made reservations for when N arrived on Saturday. However, the pinot grigio tasted like tart apple juice.

The selection of wines here are good for a restaurant in Mexico and well-priced. The next visit, I found a bottle by the glass of red that I enjoyed with my steak – Montepuliano d’Abruzzo.

We returned with N on Saturday. I made sure that all the restaurants we took N to were vegetarian friendly. She asked for a cheese and mushroom dish.

L and I ordered the steak special ($15) – a large Argentinian cut. I gave about a third of my steak to L as it was too much meat for me. L raved about his dish. The beef was lean, which is probably one reason L enjoyed his steak so much. My salad had a fantastic balsamic vinaigrette and the mashed potatoes were smooth, buttery and perfectly salted. I’d return again for the octopus and the octopus ceviche, which I read was just as delicious. I noticed a lot of regulars chatting with the staff and customers having birthday parties.

After dinner, we stopped by my favourite bar in Cabos – Monkey Business. The open air bar seats about 10 people. I always order the pineapple margarita because it’s not that sweet. L ordered a strawberry while N wanted a traditional margarita. I watched as our bartender painstakingly blended fresh pineapple, slice and squeezed limes, add tequila and rim the glass with spices.

Monkey Bar use to have underwear and bras hanging up all over the ceiling. N’s 2016 drawing of a pair of panties was also absent. I asked what happened. The bartender said he took it home to wear. N asked him if he was  wearing a pair now.

Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 1.38.35 PM.png

For dessert, we bought churros from a street vendor ($1 US). The pastry wasn’t hot from the fryer, resulting in a pretty tasting average pastry. N said we should have insisted on waiting for a fresh churro. Next time.

Highlights include N visiting, my octopus entree and getting a spontaneous invite to an art gallery. Lowlight was N missing a whole day and night in Cabos.

Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Restaurants · Vegetarian

Los Cabos 2018 – Part 1

Every year, L and I try to go somewhere hot to get away from the cold. I like Cabos because it is convenient, cheap and clean. If the winds are in your favour, it’s less than a four hour flight. I also like the restaurants in Cabos more than in Playa del Carmen or Puerta Vallarta. In Cabos, there seems to be more of a variety and I think the seafood is superior. The only negative is the water is really rough and not ideal for swimming due to the strong undertow.

Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 9.55.27 AM.png

L complained that the Airbnb place I rented in Cabos in 2016 was utilitarian. This time around, I rented a luxury condo. With service and cleaning fees, the apartment averaged around $250 (CAN) a night. I was pleased to see security was tight – we had to be buzzed whenever we left the complex. Drivers weren’t allowed in unless they had permission. Since we had an extra bedroom and bathroom, I invited my friend N.

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 9.55.36 am

The apartment is situated three minutes away from the beach and a 12 minute walk to town. The pool was immaculate. We never took a cab because we preferred to walk everywhere. For this post, let’s set the mood with La Bamba by Ritchie Valens.

Tourism was down, perhaps because of the negative news of the six bodies found hanged in Baja California Sur or reports of tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts and bars. Whatever the reason(s), there were noticeable changes since we visited in 2016.

I could get into any restaurant I wanted that day, and this was the week before Christmas!  Massages by the beach decreased from $30 an hour to $20 for an hour and a half. Two years ago, I used pesos without any issue. This year, some vendors insisted on American cash, such as our transportation company. When I said I wanted to use pesos instead, they would recalculate and tack on an extra $3-7 American dollars. I ended up going to the bank to get US cash. In the future, I’d bring US cash for larger purchases and pesos as backup.

The first thing L and I did was get a massage on the beach. We found a newish looking tent with all white curtains and beds. Every massage tent offered 90 minute massage for $20 US. When L paid in pesos, they increased the cost to an equivalent of $46 US.

screen shot 2019-01-03 at 8.55.37 pm

Before N arrived, L and I planned to eat at the places that I thought N wouldn’t like. I convinced L to try Taco Gus again. On our last trip, I liked the tacos but he did not. The tortillas are thin and the meats are grilled to a pleasing crispness. As with any open air eatery, you have issues with flies landing on food. Tacos range from 25-45 pesos. There’s a large carousel of toppings and vegetables that I have a feeling are probably reused for the next customer. No proof – just speculation on my part.

At Tacos Gus, we met two Americans. They both complained about how much more Americans work compared to Canadians and particularly, Europeans. They both have jobs at good companies, but only get two weeks of vacation. They said it’s an expectation to work that much in the States. We also discussed how skimpy the shot pours are in Canada compared to the States, as Americans free pour. I told them I think it is due to taxation and likely, regulations. 5.3.8 a) from Alberta Liquor License says the standard amount of spirits and liqueurs is 28.5 ml (1 oz).

L thought the tacos were tasty but he missed having pineapple with his al pastor. The next day, I suggested we check out El Pasia , an open air restaurant that is popular with the locals.

Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 10.03.41 AM.png

I saw several people who just got off their shift stop by for a light meal. I liked how El Paisa’s condiment bar was sealed up in the middle of the room, preventing flies from landing on the food.

The combination of the sweetness of the pineapple and spit-roasted pork can’t be beat. At Taco’s Guss, each taco is about $2 US. At El Paisa, it’s a little more than $3 US but the portion of meat was double that of Taco Gus and you can taste the difference in meat quality. Our lunch came up to about $25 US. L said he was happy to pay that for these tacos.

Highlights so far include massages on the beach, tasty tacos, and our apartment. The location was perfect and it was one of the nicer Airbnb’s I’ve stayed at. Lowlight was getting dinged when I tried to pay with the local currency.

 

 

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cabos San Lucas · Cheap Eats · Pubs · Restaurants

Paddy’s Barbecue + Brewery

This winter weather is getting to me. Sensing my mood, L suggested we go out for dinner. I told him to pick a place. He drove past Marda Loop, Mission, Mount Royal and then pulled in front of to Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery in Manchester Industrial Park. For this post, let’s listen to I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers.

With the heavy snowfall and the start of The Big Taste, we didn’t expect the brewery to be packed. When we entered at 6:30 p.m., there was a large private party, families with kids and people on dates. There was a lone stool available. L stood while I sat.

video.jpg

We shared a flight ($7) of beer: Alberta Smash, Stout, Azaccca Wheat, and Hopped Lager. The Cascadian was dark and bitter. I preferred the NE IPA, which was light and tasted like grapefruit. The Juniper Saison was an easy drinking floral beer. L finished the Black Lager because I found it bitter. I thought it was neat that the brew dates for each beer was shown on the black board.

sampler.jpg

The food and drink are self-serve. You go up to the bar for the beer and the kitchen for food. There was a man working there who seem to be in charge of the brewery. He kept his eye out for a table and the second a group vacated, he brought us over to sit down.

meats.jpg

We ordered the Half Feast ($30), which included half a pound of brisket, half a pound of ribs, a quarter of a chicken and three sides. You can pick between: kale Caesar, fries, potato salad, slaw, baked beans and cheesy mac. The food was so good I stopped tasting our second flight of beers.

second round.jpg

Of the three meats, the chicken was my favourite. The meat was flavourful and juicy. The ribs were tender with a hint of smoke. The brisket was moist and a good platform for the sauces. Our neighbor raved about the Peach Mango Heat. I preferred the Caroline Style BBQ because of the mustard tang. L preferred the Memphis style BBQ and the one with a hint of curry that I forgot to write down.

meats 1

The mac and cheese was cheesy with some bite left in the noodle. The fries were the real type, not frozen, so it had that waxy, firm texture. Our neighbour’s potato salad and kale salad looked so appetizing, I want to order it next.

busy.jpg

Paddy’s Barbecue & Brewery has nailed the food down. This is the sort of place you have to visit the States to find. Just good, honest BBQ at a bargain price. I hope the restaurant plans to expand, because once word gets out, it’s going to be even busier.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cabos San Lucas

Los Cabo – Day Seven

Our direct flight back to Calgary was at noon.  L walked to Starbucks for coffee and a bagel while I made another pack of ramen noodles for my breakfast. Cabo Shuttle Services picked us at 9:15 am. While our driver Macho arrived on time, he looked hung over and cranky. His mood improved when he found out that L had visited Macho’s hometown, Mexico City. I knew my place and remained silent throughout the ride to the airport. I did make one comment and Macho looked irritated that I chimed in and interrupted them.

Some interesting tidbits I overheard, as I was not part of the conversion. Los Cabos is  pricey for locals to live, particularly when compared to other areas in Mexico, such as Puerto Vallarta or Mexico City. One reason is water. Apparently it only rains about five days a year. Water has to be imported and desalination is an expensive practice that locals pay for through municipal taxes.

Hurricanes are a cyclical issue in Cabo. Our driver pointed out a pile of rubble and said it was a run down resort that was purposely left alone, because it was common knowledge that the hurricane would eventually demolish the decrepit building. In 2014, Hurricane Odile did just that.

The current president of Mexico is heavily taxing residents, facing a series of scandals,  and is rapidly losing popularity.  I already know about the drug lord escape fiasco, but our driver also told us how he had friends that were students that were mass murdered by drug lords, and no one was happy how the president handled that crisis. Gasoline prices have sky rocketed due to crazy high taxation, which is more expensive than people pay in Texas.

We got to the airport and the whole process of checking in was  a breeze compared to my experiences at the Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Plata and Playa del Carmen airports. The duty-free store was pricey. My Don Julio was double what I paid in town. I didn’t bother buying anything. I was pleased that I already bought my souvenirs at the best price.

L has a ton of clients that we see whenever we travel. These clients get vacation the same time as L, and I can always count on bumping into them. We saw two of his clients at the duty-free shop and then they were seated right next to our table at the Corona Bar. I always have to mind my manners around them. Sigh.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.21.25 PM.png

We ordered Pacifico beers and shared some greasy fries. The ketchup was a Mexican brand and it looked like a gel. Our fries came automatically with the most disgusting cheese whiz. What annoyed me was that we never asked for cheese and it came at an extra charge.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.21.34 PM.png

On the plane I watched my new favourite show, Fresh off the Boat. I find the show hilarious though not entirely accurate. Eddie’s parents are unrealistically laid back, optimistic and there’s no talk about losing face or bringing shame to the family. The focus on grades is dead on. Also, I think these kids get way too much play time. Why aren’t they helping at the restaurant after school? It’s like they took the Brady Bunch show and incorporated aspects of it into a Chinese family.

fresh

Cabo was a pleasant escape for a week. If I can budget it, our next winter trip will be  Havana. However, right now my focus is on Japan. L and I are looking forward to our three-week trip to Kyoto and Tokyo in the spring.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cabos San Lucas · Cheap Eats · Italian · Mexican · Seafood

Los Cabo – Day Six

I woke up wanting to enjoy every second of our last full day in Cabo.  I made non-fried ramen noodles for breakfast. I usually eat Asian food for breakfast anyway, and I couldn’t stomach another Starbucks breakfast.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 8.38.07 PM.png

L and I did our usual walk by the Marina and along the beach. Around 10:30 am I was craving a margarita from Monkey Business. Naomi’s drawing of her underwear was still up on the wall.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 7.19.38 PM.png

There was a large group of American tourists from Texas that monopolized the bar. I saw a blonde lady in her late forties grab the arm of a man and suggestively say, “Too bad your wife is here…” His expression was completely blank.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.19.57 PM.png

I was peacefully sipping away at my pineapple margarita  when I looked up and noticed a really gross advertisement for Viagra. I asked L why the elderly man’s face was so nasty. L said it was to add to the creepiness factor.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.31.35 PM.png

Before we left, I had to wait in line to use the washroom. That blonde woman I saw earlier (I’ll call her Jezebel) came up behind me and told me there was a hot guy there that looked like some actor I never heard of. Jezebel said that it was too bad he was with his wife. Her friend came out of the washroom and said it took her a long time to tee tee. I asked Jezebel what tee tee meant. She said Texans say tee tee instead of pee pee because it sounds nicer. I was surprised she cared enough to use a more polite word for urinating when she was so open about being a manizer.

L and I wanted a little snack at Burrito Surf. We walked near the outer skirts of Cabo, which is about a ten minute walk from our Airbnb. Burrito Surf is known for their vegetarian friendly food, which is hard to find in Cabos.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.19.12 PM.png

I received a free tamarind drink for using my Yelp check-in. We shared a bowl of guacamole and one surf and turf burrito. The guacamole is made with olive oil. Personally, I think Burrito Surf serves up the best guacamole I tried all trip. The avocado was chunky and the tomatoes tasted like it was plucked from a garden. There was more guacamole than chips, always a winning ratio in my book.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-9-18-41-pm

I liked the balance and ratio of vegetables, sauce, rice, and proteins in the burrito. The beans were firm and not mushy, like what you get from a can. However, the flank steak and shrimp were so salty. The shrimp and beef tasted like it was grilled with soy sauce. Otherwise, the burrito would have been perfect. This entire meal cost about $17.00 (CAN).

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-9-18-49-pm

We walked around for a few more hours to work up an appetite. At around 3:00pm we were off again to check out Tacos Gardenias. If you ever come to Cabo, you must come to Tacos Gardenias. This was one of best places we ate the entire week.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.20.11 PM.png

L raved about the fried fish tacos. The batter was light, crispy and not greasy. The generous piece of fish was fresh and flaky. The prices are a steal. A fish or shrimp taco is about $3.00 (CAN).

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.20.19 PM.png

The shrimp tacos were delicious, large, sweet and crunchy. The numerous condiments also tasted fresher than any other taco stand we visited.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.20.40 PM.png

I ordered the mixed seafood soup. The broth was hot and well-seasoned. Again, all the seafood tasted incredibly fresh, like it was just caught that morning. This bowl was filled with octopus, shrimp and fish. Muy bueno!

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.19.49 PM.png

We walked this meal off again and went back to our place for a siesta. I was still feeling that margarita. We watched another Netflix show and showered for our evening venture. L wanted to check out the local mall and some of the luxury shops. We spent a couple of hours walking along the marina because I knew I was going to miss the view and smell of the water.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.19.02 PM.png

Late that evening, we decided to dine at La Dolce. I had a craving for Italian food. The host took a liking to L and we got a prime spot on the patio without reservations. L ordered beer and I enjoyed a nice glass of pinot gris.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-9-20-55-pm

L ordered fettuccine with chicken and I ordered the beef ravioli. Normally I order for both of us because L doesn’t really care or forgets what he wants by the time our server takes our order. However, I noticed throughout the trip that all our male servers found it odd that I did all the ordering. They give me a look and then look at L as to say, “Dude, you okay with this?” I also notice that when I speak to the local men (cabs, taxis, transfers, etc.) , they look like they aren’t listening to me. When L spoke to them after I attempted to talk, they were animated and would joke around.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.21.02 PM.png

L loved his pasta. I thought my homemade ravioli was even better than his dish. The ravioli filling was plump and the pasta itself was al dente. The sauce was creamy and filled with goodies, like toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms. With two beers, two glasses of wine, two mains, or entire whole dinner cost about $80.00 (CAN).

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.21.16 PM.png

For dessert, we walked over to a churro stand right next to our Airbnb. L ate churros from here the previous night. I wouldn’t eat one before because I wanted to see if L got sick first. Each churro was 50 pesos, which is a bit more than $3.00 (CAN).

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 9.21.09 PM.png

For the filling, we requested a mixture of chocolate, vanilla and caramel sauce. The filling was like hot lava, particularly at the bottom. Oh yeah – buy your water at the local grocery stores, it’s cheaper than the XOXO convenience stores. We ended the night the only way we should – by watching Back to the Future III.

Highlights of Day Six include: finding a real taco gem – Tacos Gardenias, having a delicious and romantic last meal at La Dolce, dessert at the Churro Man, and reliving my late 80’s/90’s childhood through Michael J Fox.

 

Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Patio · Sushi

Los Cabo – Day Four

Well that was short-lived. I have to change Mr. Round Eyes back to boring old L. L wasn’t happy with his name change, though he got that name because he jokingly reminds me all that time that his eyes are round. I thought it would be fine to call him Mr. Round Eyes because he called himself that. L said it was racist and when I asked my boss Tread Lightly at work what he thought, he backed L up.

spinach

L and I started off our day having breakfast at Starbucks. My spinach and ricotta cheese breakfast sandwich was 69 pesos ($4 CAN) and L’s favourite breakfast – a toasted bagel with cream cheese and jam was 40 pesos ($2.66 CAN). A tall regular coffee cost 39 pesos ($2.60 CAN).

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 7.58.04 PM.pngDo you know why I loved eating breakfast here? You can flush tissue paper down the toilet. At our Airbnb, the plumbing won’t permit anything but organic material. Only a few places in Cabos had modern plumbing, such as the Puerto Parasio Mall, touristy high volume restaurants, and Wal-Mart.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.23.18 PM.png

After breakfast, L and I walked to The Office and Mango Deck. Both restaurants are located on the beach and are well advertised to tourists. I overheard several tourists ask the water taxi driver to take them to The Office or the Mango Deck because they thought that was the only way to get there. L figured out there are two ways – walk around Puerto Parasio Mall or stroll along the beach. Walking around the mall was a little faster (10 minutes), but I preferred to walk on the soft sand. The water is clean and refreshing as it laps up around your calves.

I didn’t bother to take L to Mango Deck, as the restaurant hosts rowdy contests for tourists and he doesn’t have any tolerance for that sort of stuff. We went to The Office instead asked for a table on the beach. A server looked around and couldn’t find an empty spot. He told us to go up the stairs. We went up to the bar and saw  a table. We asked a server if we could sit there and he informed we would get a table soon. About 10 minutes when by and L started to poke around. He found out we were suppose to put our name on the list at the back of the restaurant. He went to speak to the host who was really rude and yelled at L because his name was difficult to spell. L got pissed off and told me we were leaving.  That was fine with me. The food and drinks didn’t look appealing.

Instead, we hopped on a bus to Wal-Mart so I could buy more tequila to bring home. At the bus stop, we met a loud, know-it-all  woman and her husband. She told me her husband booked a tour for every single day of their trip and each excursion was expensive and awful. She told us she was from Edmonton. I told L that I think she’s from somewhere far worse.

The bus drivers don’t always give you back your change. It’s suppose to be 27 pesos for tourists. A local overhead me say to L that the driver wouldn’t give me my change. He said to me, “You want your change?” I nodded and he shouted at the driver to give me my money. What a nice guy.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.24.05 PM.png

At the strip mall, there’s a few random stores like Radio Shack, a BBQ store, an open air food court, a Japanese restaurant, Wal-Mart and my favourite store, La Europa. I couldn’t find Naomi’s tequila, but I did get Don Julio 70 for only 530 pesos. So cheap. An employee recommended an even better bottle for 1000 pesos, but I declined. Don Julio is good enough for my level of appreciation of tequila and budget.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.23.40 PM.png

I read good things about Koi Sushi and I wanted to eat there for lunch. The restaurant has two floors and comfortable seats. When I came in, all the servers, managers and chefs would look over and giggle at me. I was the only Asian there and I think they thought it was funny or novel. I didn’t see too many Asian tourists in Cabo. Each time I did see one, I wanted to high-five them or nod my head in recognition. I didn’t of course, because that would be weird.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.27.48 PM.png

L and I shared the tuna bowl and sushi combo set. The tuna tasted clean, cut into paper-thin slices. The rice was good, sticky with a nice balance of vinegar and sugar. The small bowl of rice and tuna was about $7 CAN.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.23.56 PM.png

The sushi combo was more substantial. The knife skills weren’t the best but the raw fish was good. The combo was only about $12 CAN. I noticed everyone else at the restaurant was ordering fantastic looking rolls. The cost for this lunch was about $20 CAN. I would have been happy to come to Koi again but L said he didn’t come to Cabo to eat sushi.

Screen Shot 2017-01-09 at 9.23.48 PM.png

For dinner, L wanted street tacos. I took him to El Gran Pastor, a taco stand open late at night. He ordered two al pastor tacos for 50 pesos. He had a couple of beers before and when he was eating them, he told me the tacos were awesome. When I asked him the next day, he said the tacos were good but not the best he’s ever had.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 8.39.56 PM.png

I saw a crowd of tourists and locals eating at El Gran Pastor. There’s only one guy cooking and two other individuals taking money (cash only). There’s freshly grilled onions and a whole whack of condiments.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 8.40.08 PM.png

If locals get tired of tourists, I can see why. When we were standing around eating, it seem every drunk tourist had to come over and command another customer (a local) to help them order. Some tipsy guy from the next door bar started shouting, “These are the best tacos of my life”. I thought that was funny.

Screen Shot 2017-01-10 at 8.40.02 PM.png

On the way home, I noticed there is a chain of strip clubs called Show Girls. An employee hollered at L to come inside. L pointed to me, made a face,  and shook his head. The guy laughed and each subsequent night we would walk past to get to our studio room, the employee would recognize L and heckle him.

Highlights of Day Four: Walking on the beach, finding cheap Don Julio 70, and watching Back to the Future II at the end of the night.

 

Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Patio · Seafood

Los Cabo – Day Three

L was in the mood for some Mexican food for breakfast. We picked Mamas Royal Cafe based on Yelp reviews. The restaurant looked like it would be a good place for breakfast. The interior was charming – particularly the wall of ivy plants and the colourful table and decorations. I noticed there was a picture of a gorilla sipping coffee on the wall. There was a cartoon bubble that showed the gorilla thinking “barbarians” and the image of tourists in the background. Mama, tell me what you really think!

Mama Royale.jpg

We ordered coffee (40 pesos), which came in tiny little cups. After I drank my thimble of coffee I politely asked for a refill. The server looked me up and down and reluctantly refilled my cup. No offense, but this liquid was not so precious that I should be begrudged a refill.

ivy-wall

L ordered the breakfast fajita filled with scrambled eggs and sausage and I ordered Huevos Divorciados. I liked L’s dish more than my own.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-9-12-18-pm

My eggs were runny. I asked for medium and the egg yolk came out undercooked. The beans weren’t anything special and the flavour of everything was bland. Each dish was around 120 pesos and our entire meal with tip was under $24.00 CAD. I got a bad tummy ache after eating here. I didn’t get d as a result, just a queasiness in my stomach.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 9.12.09 PM.png

We walked around the city after breakfast. The downtown core consists of maybe 6 blocks. We covered the entire area in less than three hours, including visits to the art galleries and checking out the menus of all the restaurants I recognized from my online stalking.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 9.28.56 PM.png

What I found most interesting was observing lots in prime locations with unfinished developments. One looked looked like it ran out of money after building the foundation and another that looked like it was destroyed by the hurricane and neglected ever since.Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 9.29.08 PM.png

By lunch time, L and I were feeling peckish. We decided to walk back to the Marina to Captain Tony’s. With a name like that, I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised.

making-guacWe ordered guacamole and two ice-cold Pacificos. The guacamole was better than Anejo in Calgary, and cheaper too. This filling snack plus gorgeous view cost $15.00 Canadian, including tip.

guac

We people-watched while the tourists strolling by would in turn watch us. I wanted to lightly heckle them or at least tell them to come in for beers, but I knew L would be displeased. He hates it when I  make random conversation with strangers when I’m drinking. For the record, at this point I only had one beer (on an empty stomach).

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-7-24-19-pm

For our New Year’s Eve dinner, I suggested we get off the touristy area and get some real Mexican food. I picked Mariscos Las Tres Islas. I ordered a margarita, which was pretty bad. The flavour was one-dimensional and it lacked a freshness to it.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-7-52-12-pm

I ordered based on what I saw the locals eating: fresh oysters, ceviche and fried shrimp. The oysters were large, warm and briny. I prefer my oysters chilled.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-7-52-00-pm

I meant to order ceviche but I accidentally ordered the mixed seafood cocktail. The sauce was sweet and heavy. There was plenty of octopus, marlin, shrimp and sweet scallops.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-7-51-53-pm

My fried shrimp was delicious. Large, crunchy and sweet. The batter was fine, like breadcrumbs. The rice didn’t look like it would taste good, but it was flavourful.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-8-03-44-pm

L, who I will hereby call Mr. Round Eyes, thought his fish tacos were greasy and flavourless. He also didn’t like that there were no condiments to dress his fish tacos. He was disappointed with this restaurant. The total cost for this supper was about $55.00 Canadian.

After dinner, we walked around some more. I didn’t feel like drinking so we came home early to watch Back to the Future. What a classic. Marty and Doc are so likeable, even though their characters are underdeveloped.

bttf

Highlights of Day Three: Theorizing on the urban ruins in downtown Cabo, changing L’s name to Mr. Round Eyes, and watching Back to the Future.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Cabos San Lucas · Mexican · Pizza · Seafood

Los Cabo – Day Two

upstairs patio.jpg

L and I woke up not wanting a heavy breakfast. We opted for breakfast at Starbucks by the Marina. The second floor is much more tranquil  on the first floor, which is packed with tourists. The outdoor patio affords a view of El Squid Roe. L didn’t want to venture inside any of the clubs. I didn’t push him because the music blaring from each bar was too obnoxious for even me to enjoy.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 7.50.07 PM.png

My friend Asian Persuasion told me that her friends almost got shot at El Squid Roe. I asked her what happened when I return to work. She said that some of her friends look and act gangsta. I asked her to elaborate. “You know, some are Asian and Spanish with tattoos and they walk around like are like ‘Brap, brap'”. Asian Persuasion gestured her arms in a short jerky wave. I asked her what “Brap brap” meant.  She said that’s the sound of guns going off and her arm gestures were that of pumping a gun in each hand. Apparently her friends were loud and a local man gave them a dirty look and her friend said, “What the fuck you looking at man?” The guy pulled his shirt back to show a gun. Asian Persuasion screamed at her friends that they were going to get shot and they ran out to the bar next door. She has the best stories.

marina.jpg

L and I walked over to the Marina after breakfast. Every few steps someone would try to sell us a tour, jewelry or Romeo and Juliet cigars (most likely fake). The guy would always start off by saying, “Cigars?” Then when L would shake his head, the guy would whisper, “Weed? Blow?”. I can’t believe how easy it is to get drugs in Cabo.

dips

For lunch, we picked Los Claros. The restaurant was filled with tourists and locals. The place was very clean and the staff were friendly and efficient. We sat in the outdoor section.

On Yelp, reviewers commented on the freshness of the seafood tacos and ceviche. The ceviche was awesome, the vegetables of cucumber, tomatoes and onions were crisp and the seafood medley of shrimp and octopus was fresh and light. I would order this again. This dish cost about six bucks (CAN).

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 7.40.33 PM.png

Man, there are a lot of condiments and toppings for our tacos. There was a tray full of fried onions and hot peppers too. I counted about 15 choices.

dip tray.jpg

I ordered one grilled fish, one scallop and one grilled shrimp taco. The scallop taco was the most disappointing, the tiny sized scallops were rubbery. L ordered a fried fish, fried shrimp and one meat taco.  Each taco was between $2.50-$3.00 Canadian.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 7.40.20 PM.png

L and I enjoyed the food here. We planned to come again but there were so many options we didn’t end up eating anywhere twice.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 7.40.11 PM.png

After lunch L and I headed back for a siesta. Naomi and her sister wanted to meet us at the Rooftop At the Cape, Thompson Hotel. Whoot! I was game. We ended up paying 20 US to take a cab to the hotel, which I thought was a major rip off. I asked three taxis and they all quoted the same price. I found out later that my friend Naomi only paid $14 Canadian.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 7.41.06 PM.png

L and I arrived at 7:00 pm and we had to sit in the lounge area because when I went to the rooftop, the hostess said we couldn’t stay there unless we had reservations for the pre New Year’s Eve party. L and I sat downstairs and waited for Naomi and her sister to show up. L drank Pacificos ($10 US) while I drank a wicked cocktail ($16 US) and some average bubbles ($10 US).

view patio.jpg

Naomi and her sister arrived and went upstairs to talk to the hostess. She told Naomi the same thing but then changed her mind and said maybe we could sit there for an hour. We came upstairs and I overheard the supervisor tell her to give us seats. The entire upstairs was dead until 9:30pm.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 8.50.54 PM.png

There was a band playing that L hated. He said it was soft rock at its worst. I didn’t mind – the music just blended into the background. Naomi was more impressed with the Rooftop At the Cape in Playa del Carmen than the one in Cabos. L didn’t enjoy this place so much but he doesn’t like pretentious places. I do and I enjoyed the experience. The cocktails were top-notch and the view of the sunset was gorgeous. We also saw the actor from the 70’s Show, Danny Masterson with his wife.

losers

We wanted to get a bite to eat so we all headed back to the downtown core. Naomi insisted on treating us to dinner. I picked Da Vinci because 1) prices were reasonable 2) vegetarian friendly 3) no one would get sick 4) Naomi could get a cab easily after dinner.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 8.59.04 PM.png

We shared two pizzas (180-240 pesos), which was plenty of food for the four of us. The pizza wasn’t anything special. If you ever check this place out, pick the pastas which looked much better.  I ordered a glass of red which tasted off to me. I asked for a glass of pinot gris instead. I could tell the server didn’t think the wine was bad,  he started to protest, then stopped and walked over to the bartender to get me another glass.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 8.58.49 PM.png

Unfortunately, this was Naomi’s last night. She was already in Cabos for a week and stayed at RIU Sante Fe ($2,100 all-inclusive). Naomi mentioned she went on a tour and it was awful and a complete rip-off. She and her sister spent $100 US each to get shuttled to stores to taste tequila, watch glass being blown, and went for a short water taxi ride. She told me she bought Espada Azteca Tequila for $100 on the tour. I bet her that I could find it for cheaper. She told me to not bother and to visit her soon in Vancouver, so we could try it.

tequila.jpg

Highlights of Day Two include: Enjoying the view and killer cocktails at The Cape, hanging out with Naomi and ceviche at Los Claros.

 

Cabos San Lucas · Mexican

Los Cabo – Day One

My husband L and I usually go somewhere hot and cheap for a week in the winter. Since we can only travel in the high season, I try to save wherever I can. I have a Westjet credit card, which meant my husband’s airfare, using my companion pass, was only $299 plus taxes. I booked a room through Airbnb, a one bedroom in the heart of downtown Cabo for about $70 a night including taxes and the service fees. For transportation, I paid about $160 CAN roundtrip with Cabo Shuttle Service, which included a drop-off to a grocery store.

don-julio-anejo

We landed and ignored the timeshare people as instructed by Cabo Shuttle Company. We found our driver easily, as he was carrying the sign of his company. We guzzled down two cold Coronas each in our Suburban ride, making a pit stop at Walmart for limes and water, then to La Europa for tequila and beers. I saw online that La Europa sold my favourite champagne, Piper-Heidsieck for only 550 pesos, which is roughly $35 Canadian, a steal considering it costs me about $60 in Calgary. Unfortunately, there was no Piper-Heidsieck in stock. Instead I bought ice-cold Pacificos for about $1.10 Canadian and Don Julio Anejo for $33, which goes for about $68 at my local Highlander.

free toppings.jpg

After we settled into our new digs, we went searching for tacos. A popular place near our accommodations is Tacos Guss. Yelpers raved about the homemade tortillas and the large selection of fresh toppings.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 5.30.34 PM.png

I could really taste the difference eating homemade corn tortillas, which were hot, crisper and thinner than the store-bought ones. We ordered two al pastor (pork) two arrachera (skirt steak) and one asada (beef). The skirt steak tacos were my favourite. Mouth-watering, the delicious tender meat was smoky and flavourful. I didn’t get to try the asada because L accidentally ate it.

Guss.jpgL didn’t care for Tacos Gus pastor (pork) tacos, as he found the meat dry. There was only one server and he forgot to bring us our beers (twice), as well as our tray of condiments and napkins. When I went to pay, I had to ask for the cashier to take our beers off our bill, as we never received them. I would come back for the steak skirt tacos. Tacos cost between $2.00 – 3.00 Canadian.

tacos-guss-3

We met my friend Naomi and her sister at Monkey Business. Monkey Business is a small open air bar, located next to a shopping centre full of kiosks. It’s not fancy but the quality in the booze here shines. Free wi-fi is available.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 5.31.01 PM.png

I would estimate about two full shots of tequila are put in each margarita. Monkey Business uses fresh fruit juices and herbs for their drinks. You can watch and see how much time and care is put into each drink. My favourite drink was pineapple on the rocks, with a request of “less sweet, more booze than juice”. The margaritas are about $9.00 Canadian.

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-5-30-44-pm

Our bartender gave me some coloured felts and a pin. I didn’t understand why we were given these until L snickered and pointed up to the ceiling. L said, “He wants you to put your underwear on the ceiling”. I responded to our bartender, “But I’m not wearing any!” I could feel L cringe with embarrassment (for the record, I was wearing an undergarment).

underwear.jpg

Naomi asked for a napkin and provided her contribution. I made a dirty joke (quietly of course) and her sister thought I said, “I wonder if the underwear will fall on your head.” Naomi shook her head and said, “I don’t know what HittingtheSauce said, but I know it wasn’t that. She would say something much more gross.” Naomi knows me well.

underwear

At this time, we were all ready to eat. I asked our bartender Christian where we should go to eat. He drew L a map and wrote “Four free margaritas” on it. He said the prices were reasonable, locals ate there and there would be options for vegetarians.

lights

Misiones De Kino is a nice restaurant, with an open air patio. We got our free margaritas too, and there was plenty of tequila in it. Naomi and her sister shared the vegetarian fajitas and guacamole. The selection of vegetables for her fajitas looked limited.

meal.jpgL thought his fish tacos were fine. I thought it was interesting that the salsa and guacamole were served in empty avocado shells. The beans were placed in a potato shaped tin foil.

fish tacos.jpgI I ordered the Fettucine with Scallops (230 pesos) in Misiones de Kino’s special cream sauce. The scallops were plentiful, plump and perfectly cooked. I could not believe the number of fat scallops that were on my plate. The pasta itself could have been a bit more al dente.

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 5.30.54 PM.png

Day one in Los Cabo done. Highlights included finding  Don Julio tequila for cheap and seeing my buddy Naomi, and making a dirty joke in public.

misones-kino