Trip report- Part 1-Food and hotels

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Posted by cat from ( on domingo, junio 15, 2003 at 20:26:27 :

I can't do a day by day but I will give my overall impressions in parts. First I will get the negatives and positives about eating out of the way. The food is not cheap. I guess I was expecting the food to be more reasonably priced than it is here in Portland, occasionally it was, but overall we did not notice much difference. Also, food was sometimes really good but just as often mediocre or bad. Our selection of restaurants was limited due to a lot of places being closed for the season, but even some of the places that have been reccommended on this board that were open were not very good. As far as prices go the drinks were cheap. And as for why the food prices are so high, I was told that it is greatly due to Americans over tipping when the food prices were lower. If a meal was $8, they would tip $8 and the restaurant owners assumed if tourists could afford to tip the price of the meal than the prices were too low, so they put the prices up. Best meals we had were at Tamales y Any ( this place IS very reasonable with prices and huge, delicious portions). If you miss pozole night on thursday at all the other places, Tamales y Any has pozole all the time. The Catalina hotel- good breakfasts- chiliquillas and rancheros, and dinners. I had the best Chile Rellenos here- special request- not on the menu. If they have them ( for the employee meal for instance) they were happy to make them for us, twice. Dinner at Brisas Del Mar. Not cheap, but the best tuna we had, good shrimp, appetizers, desserts and excellant service. We stayed at this hotel for our first 5 nights and Raul and Mario (waiter and bartender) were so sweet, very patient with my Spanish. Porto Mio- spendy but soo worth it. the most spectacular setting right by the water which rushes into the cove dramatically and is a beautiful colour. The food was really superb and we were the only ones there until our dessert. For $100 we had 4 margs, 2 starters, 2 entrees, (get the mahi mahi with chipotle peanut sauce), 2 desserts (get the chocolate souffle-you must!), and 2 coffees with kahlua and brandy.This was by far one of the best deals of the trip. Tuna tacos at Gaviota were good but expensive-$19 for ten tiny (yet delicious tacos). They had cheaper things on the menu but we were on a taco bender. Tacos at La Perla were very good but on our second visit there a waiter overcharged us intentionally so we did not return. Had a nice meal at Daniel's with wonderful service and hospitality. To end the food review I must emphasize my plugs for the restaurant at Porto Mio- from what I have heard in comparing it to some of the other spendy restaurants- this is the one, go there, you will not regret it. Brisa del mar bistro- excellant food and service. Why do I never hear about the Catalina? The restaurant is really good- and the view is so gorgeous. Granted it was kind of nice having the whole place to ourselves but this place should be getting more business so I am here to plug it. We stayed at both the Brisas del mar and the Catalina. I would reccommend both but prefer the Catalina . You can not beat the setting and view coupled with all the ammenities offered. Eva the owner was so nice as were the guys in reception, particularly Selso who encouraged me to speak Spanish and was very patient. Raymundo who was usually down by the palapas- I think he was some kind of manager- was super sweet. We went on an adventurous hike with him and Eva's young friend Simone from Germany- more on that later. Juan, the bartender with short hair, was also very nice. Juan, the bartender with the mullet was a bit aloof. Very unusual actually, practically everyone we encountered everywhere in Z was so nice. Laundry was not such a good deal at the Catalina as it was at the Brisa. However Selso said we could drop it off at a laundry in town and they would deliver it to us when it was done. In retrospect we should have done it cus it took the Catalina over a day and a half to get it back to us. I would advise all to shake out there clothes and keep bags closed in their rooms as Simone did find a scorpion in her purse. Luckily she was not bitten. Our room was clean and airy- two fans and screened windows kept us from suffering with the heat at night. Our patio was fantastic- gorgeous view. Beautiful flowering shrubs, palms, butterflies, birds. We did not mind the stairs too much, what with traipsing up and down those everyday, walks to town, and swimming, I came back in better shape than I left in. Oh.. almost This was something that very nearly prevented me from staying on La Ropa at all before we actually got to Z and saw it for ourselves. Well it is in full swing but I never heard it from our room or patio- strangely I did hear the construction from Casa Que Canta when we stayed at Brisa Del Mar. I think that might be done by now though. Anyway, the construction by Sotovento was never so obtrusive as to bother us to the point that we would have stayed somewhere else. Sure you can see the crane from the water when out swimming in front of Catalina, but I always found myself looking the other direction anyway.I was so worried about the construction beforehand but realyy, it was no biggy. And finally (for now)- I got sick a day and a half after we got home and now, 8 days later, seem to be getting back to normal. Did the pepto thing but probably missed a few before meals. Only had one dicey day while I was actually in Mexico. We had ice in our drinks and ate a couple of salads. Next time I will stick to micheladas sans ice and NO raw veggies. Warning to anyone who has had tummy troubles from travel- take precautions. It is a bummer of a way to end a vacation- 11 days of fun followed by 8 days of extreme discomfort. Enough about that! Part two to come later....

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