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.

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Brunch · Burgers · Dessert · Happy Hour · Restaurants · Seafood

Cactus Club – Yelp Elite Event

I write reviews on Yelp solely to get invited to their ‘elite’ parties. Most recently, I attended a Taste of Cactus Club. Holy smokes – their management team (Elim, Jim, Curtis and Kurt) can throw down. We were so spoiled, I felt like a rock star. For this post, I think Guns N’ Roses ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ would be most appropriate.

 

When I arrived, I was handed a flute of Blue Mountain Brut that was refilled continuously throughout the night. Our two tables were on the patio section. I lucked out and sat with social Yelpers Stephanie M, Jen L, Nadia, Jen 2 and Diane. Bottles of chilled sparkling and mineral water sat in champagne buckets nearby and were used to replenish our water glasses as we feasted the night away.

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Elim gave us an orientation for the night as we opened our goodie bags. We all received a $50 gift Cactus Club certificate, a Cactus bandana, custom-made chocolates flavoured after each of their desserts and a choose your own adventure booklet that we used to for our ‘Taste of Cactus’ event.

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I opened my book to read my first food adventure. “No good story ever started with a salad, and this is going to be a great one. So, tell us, when having a cocktail, do you prefer a sophisticated slush, or is your cocktail refreshing and on the rocks?” Stephanie M influenced my choice by telling me how much she loves gin. I picked option two – a summer sipper on the rocks.

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The “Summer Smash” cocktail consisted of gin, cucumber, Thai basil, lime and soda. This is the sort of drink that goes down way too easy. Light, refreshing and herbal. I was off to a great start! The slush – a Frose- looked really good too – a blend of rose wine, strawberries, elderflower, vodka and lemon. I want to try it next time.

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For our appetizer, I was given the option of a tuna tataki or a tuna stack. I wanted something creamy so I chose the tuna stack, which consisted of ocean wise albacore, citrus vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado and wonton chips. I requested no cilantro. This was a tasty and healthy way to start off our meal. I made sure to mix the dressing and all the ingredients up well before stacking it on my crunchy wonton chips.

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For our entrees, we were asked if a) is it beer and bar foods all day every day b) If you say you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person c) Do you prefer delicious food that’s fresh and healthy? I asked myself, “Who am I”? I thought of how tight my clothes were becoming and picked c. Thankfully, it was indeed delicious. If all vegetarian food tasted like Cactus Club’s ‘Modern Bowl’, I’d become one.

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The modern bowl was a colourful array of ingredients – tabbouleh, grilled avocado, pineapple salsa, roasted cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, fancy greens, jasmine rice, and the most magically delicious ingredient – miso carrot ginger sauce. You mix up all the ingredients to get a filling and tasty dish. The pineapple salsa elevated this dish by adding a tropical, sophisticated flavour profile. You can also get salmon or chicken instead of avocado. My bowl was paired a glass of Adobe Reserva Sauvignon Blanc.

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I liked the modern bowl even more than the double-crossed pineapple hoisin short rib dish, which Jen L and Nadine gave me to try. The short rib was slow cooked for five hours, the pineapple ginger glaze and shiitake mushrooms gave it that extra edge over all other short ribs I’ve consumed.

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Cactus Club’s marketing maven – Elim – couldn’t finish her chicken tacos and fries. Even though I was so full, both Jen L and I couldn’t resist finishing of Elim’s sea salted fries. These fries put McDonald’s to shame. This was a perfect balance of crispy exterior and a soft mealy potato texture in the inside.

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My new friends and I turned to the last chapter of our food adventure. “Now for the million dollar decision… dessert. Which movie title best describes you? “Confessions of a Chocoholic” or “Life of Pi(e)?”.

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Turns out it’s a crime to have to choose between desserts, so they treated us to a little taste of both. My favourite of the two was the caramel chocolate mousse. I enjoyed the sweet, warm foam and the crunchy toffee. The key lime pie was good too, tart from their use of 25 key limes in every pie.

I arrived at 4:30 p.m. and I left around 8:00 p.m. I was having such a good time I didn’t even realize how long I was there. I dig the energy and vibe at Cactus. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I’m looking forward to using my gift certificate to try their other lifestyle dishes, like the rain coast greens, the ceviche and the modern bowl again because it was that good. Hitting the Sauce gives Cactus Club Cafe two fat thumbs up.

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Happy Hour · Steakhouse

Hy’s Steakhouse – Happy Hour

My colleagues wanted to get together after work for the holiday season. I suggested Hy’s as I’ve been wanting to try their happy hour menu for months. What’s the big dealio? Bubbles are 40% off, select wines for $8.00 and featured cocktails are 50% off. There’s also a tasty list of specially priced food, including one of the best steak sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Also note that now until Christmas, you can drop off a Christmas toy for The Magic of Christmas, a charity that gives toys to children in need.

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I started with a Manhattan (2.5 oz, hh $7.50, regular $15.00). I savoured each chilled sip. This was a perfectly balanced martini, a blend of Jim Beam Black bourbon, Cinzano rosso, and Angostura bitters.

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I also indulged in two flutes of Domaine Chandon, Blanc de Noir,
Champagne Blend California NV (hh $8.00, regular $16.00). Oh my goodness. I loved these bubbles, which went straight to my head. My co-worker Patricia agreed, preferring the Domaine Chandon over the prosecco offered by the glass.

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Marvelous Mary ordered the fish tacos (hh, $13). She thought the tacos were juicy, spicy and conveniently bite-sized.

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Our legal representative that night opted for the Beef Sliders (hh, $5.oo each) plus a side of fries. Legal thought the sliders had lots of flavor and she loved the dressing on the bun.

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My friend Cindy loves a good burger, so she opted for the Prime Beef Burger (hh, $13.99). She added bacon, mushrooms, and chose a Caesar salad for her side. Everyone at our office except for me is sick, otherwise I would have tried to snag a bite of her burger. She said she was in burger heaven.

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I wished I order the fries myself. These were soft and pillowy on the inside, and crunchy munchy golden brown on the outside. Lightly salted, steaming hot, I could eat a huge pile of fries. I sneaked a few whenever Legal wasn’t looking. She’s skinny, so I figured I was doing her a favour, doing my part to keep her slim.

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Here’s what I ordered – a New York Steak Sandwich (hh $20, regular $29). I ordered my steak medium rare and it came as requested. The steak was so tender, I barely needed to use a knife. The flavor was phenomenal, my steak was squirting with the richness of its own juices. I ordered the baked potato, which was massive and generously topped with scoops of sour cream, bacon and chives. This was the best steak I’ve eaten. I want to come back to try the featured steaks for dinner (e.g. Neptune, Filet Mignon, Oscar).

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My colleagues each brought a kid’s gift for each other to open and then donate to The Magic of Christmas at Hy’s. Some gifts were ethnically charged. Jen, always one to get politically incorrect, bought Asian Persuasion Hello Kitty themed gifts. I bought Marvelous Mary a Monopoly game because I could picture her and her family playing the game (I stalk her family on Facebook). I didn’t get a gift to open because co-worker Meagan who picked my name didn’t show up. This happens to me every year I participate in Secret Santa. It’s okay, I’m use to the disappointment.

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When the bill came, I realized I left my wallet at work. Yikes, I ain’t no scrub! Enter appropriate music here. I booted it back to my office via CTrain and returned in time to pay and get a group photo in front of Hy’s Christmas tree. In my happy stupor, I lost my winter boot somewhere, somehow between the restaurant, Foreign Concept’s grand opening and my time on the Ctrain. I don’t know what I’m going to do with only one boot! Door stopper?

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Hy’s awesome happy hour is no secret. The entire lounge was filled with customers popping bottles and chomping on those delicious sliders, steak sandwiches and oysters. I like this place so much, I’m giving Hy’s two fat thumbs up and putting it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. I can see why Hy’s gets such high ratings on Yelp. Service was excellent and the food was superb.  I’m keen to come again, perhaps on my birthday in January. If you want an experience and are willing to splurge, you need to check out Hy’s Steakhouse now. If you’re frugal (like me) but still want to see what the big dealio is about Hy’s, come by for happy hour. You won’t be disappointed.

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Hy's Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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