Saturday, February 1, 2014

the honeymoon, in brief

We got to Las Brisas around 3:30, checked in to our hotel, checked out the grounds and the new additions ~ the gorgeous dining main sala has been somewhat rearranged but NOT to any advantage. 

View from #15

Across to Las Hadas in Santiago

View down to the pool
 What the management should have done is invest in some new towels and bed linens, pillows (I didn't want to touch them much less lay my head on them), and generally spiff up the rooms.  We'll find a new hotel for our next trip.  Dinner was at Los Gauchos and was not, I must admit, very good.  Even though the menu says "Res Argentinian" it was tough and tasteless.  We decided that the next time we want to have good beef we'll go to El Vaquero, well-known as THE best place for steaks and grill.  So next time. . .
Wednesday morning we drove up to Santiago, about 10 miles up the road, to Primavera, the Mexiccan craft market we've patronized over the years.   for all sorts of things; plates, glassware, table linens, but this time there were NO clay light fixtures to be found. 

My favorite Mexican pottery;I have plates, bowls, casseroles, platters
I have always wanted one of these little piggy b-b-q's
We walked across the street to a big indoor market with probably 100 stalls selling food, clothing, fabrics, souvenir, and piles and piles of plasticware for every usage imaginable, and cosmetics.

A rainbow of nail polish colors

Hand-wound soft spools of yarn

There are several fruit and vegetable stalls along with the meat, fish and chicken areas.  That is, the fish wing, the meat wing and the (ahem) chicken wing, this one presided over by a young woman wielding a wicked cleaver to chop whole birds into nice neat piles of various parts, including feet and beaks.

Mr. C is not a big one for wandering through meat/fish stalls but I find them fascinating.

Next stop was the old Hotel Playa de Santiago, the first hotel we ever stayed in on our first trip to Manzanillo in 1982.

We had just bought a house in the Valley, had not two dimes to spend on a vacation, but I was in Mexico City on business for the Big U and we decided we'd just do it anyway.  We had heard about this place from friends who encouraged us to try it and to ask for one of the bungalows up on the hill.  We did, and we fell in love with it right away.  Even though it was about 100 stairs from the parking lot up to the bungalows, it was worth it.  Each one had two individual bedrooms, a single patio, and cooking facilities at the end of the patio; a 'fridge, a 4-burner stove top, a sink and cabinets with dishware and pots and pans.  The first one we stayed in was Numero Uno with a view to forever!  But it was clear at the time that the small 2-story hotel directly across the street was getting ready to expand upwards, so the next time we went, in 1985, we got bungalows 12 and 13; we had Alex and Cait with us for a 10-day stay.  Indeed there was a tall tower blocking #1 but our view was perfect.  The next time we stayed there was in 1990.  By then the entire hotel had fallen on evil days and needed a gigantic infusion to capital and, as a result, the bungalows, too, were in bad shape.  But we took #17, further up the hill, for a week's stay.  At the end of the week our friend Peggy drove up from Cuyutlan to get us and introduced us to this seedy little town and, as they say, the rest is history.

We went down to the lovely dining room and sat looking out at the bay . . .

and enjoyed a mid-morning refresher, always a good idea after strenuous shopping.

We decided to risk lunch here, so had fish tacos and all its trimmings.

Lots of good memories of our times here.  Fifty years will do that.

Back to the hotel for reading, siesta, and then dinner at Toscana's. First we celebrated with a margarita.  It was probably the best one we'd ever had in a restaurant.  Mr. C makes THE BEST margaritas ever and I am always reluctant to order one at a bar.  Dago's are terrible; ditto Fernando's.  But these were superb.  For dinner  I had a lovely grouper fish on a bed of leeks with a white wine and grape sauce. Mr. C had a fish gratinĂ©e which he had ordered on a previous visit.  Those delicious kplatos plus, a little salad caprese made for a splendid meal.  To top it off, a stunning Anniversary Sunset.

We're good to go for another 50 years.


DAK said...

You're sure you really want to give up this place? I can see buying a ton of big terra cotta flower pots at that market.

The Fevered Brain said...

Been there, done that, ready to let someone else do more of the same.

Liz said...

What a lovely synopsis of your trip, and just loved the flashbacks to your earlier visits.

Yes, indeed, Mr. C's Margaritas are definitely the best I've ever had!!!

Can you please email me the recipe ASAP? Here in Palm Springs & desperate w/out it... Thank you VERY MUCH!!!

By the way, that tomato tart sounds/looks heavenly.

mary ann said...

your post is glorious - words and photos!