Subject: Pig roast, Baja bash, tortilla maker, and breakfast at Maria California restaurant, Wine Tasting, Mystic Grill, and Defever tour
Today is the last day of March 2016, and soon will be my last day in La Paz. The S/V INNcredible Sea Lodge, a Lagoon catamaran arrives at Costa Baja (Saturday). Plans are for me to help Skipper Brian bash back up via the clipper route. There are three routes to bash back up the Baja coast to reach any west coast US cities. The least favorite of the three routes seems to be the clipper route.
Why? Hopefully, I’ll survive long enough to tell you about it, stay tuned.
To clipper route it back, a sailboat (yes, Virginia this is the route boats like the Cutty Sark with their large telephone pole sized masts and sails used, and no Virginia power boats don’t use this route).
A sailboat essentially stays on a starboard tack looking for the northeast tradewinds; when they eventually appear, it is way more wind than needed to propel us towards what used to be called Mexico, and the locals still call “El Norte”.
The original clipper ships came in search of leather cow hides to bring back to the US east coast.
Somewhere near our chosen San Diego destination we plan on tacking. The INNcredible Sea Lodge is incredible in the fact that it is a large catamaran, that has seen far worse weather and seas. Hopefully, those large pacific ocean swells will know this and not punish us too badly.
This morning Patti wakes us in time for the 0810 shuttle and breakfast. Her current favorite, Maria California Restaurant. Patti enjoyed a wonderful first experience eating at Maria’s with Sharon, S/V Whey To Go. Today, at least for me, not so. Maria California when you first walk up to the restaurant, it looks very traditional.
Directly next door is a three-story beautiful high-end condo unit that also fits architecturally into the scene. That possibly explains the live music entertainment. Inside or outside seating? Patti chose inside. Lots of well dressed locals, plenty of seating and wait staff. For drinks she orders cinnamon coffee, the menu says it comes in a pot; I order a carrot and orange juice drink, it arrives in a large carafe filled to the brim. The juice is delicious. Patti’s cinnamon coffee after her first few sips is soon diluted with regular coffee, and like my wife, she rarely complains about anything like bad food, service, or my driving.
For breakfast I order the machaca and eggs plate and she says dos (two). A rather simple to prepare plate. Sometime later a small appetizer plate of beans and some chips on a small dish is brought to the table. Another while later we receive a small basket of mini Mexican donut treats.
This is about the time my sitting down and waiting for breakfast breakdown starts, at Maria California Restaurant. Possibly a half hour easily goes by and still no breakfast. We still continue people watching when I get my fill. I stand up and walk towards the separate seating area and open kitchen.
Three wait staff think they need to assist me in finding the men’s room. No, I throw my hands up in the air, I give up I say in Spanish; you wore me out, where is my breakfast food! Aha they quickly comprehend! The gringo is hungry.
Quickly this causes a stir among the 8, 10 or 12 servers, that now appear to surround me; with one possibly their chosen leader. I walk back and sit back down. Five minutes later we have machaka and eggs on our table. The food appears to be nicely prepared and is hot. The homemade flour tortillas soon arrive. Too late. Ambiance for me has long vaporized. Were we forgotten! You bet.
Sometime before me standing up to inquire about our breakfast six white shirt oligarchs, with their own roving 35mm camera carrying photographer arrived. Did they get served our machaka and eggs?
Breakfast at Maria California was so so, the amount of wait staff all around leads you to believe that at least someone will be in charge of your table. Not so for us. Maria California Restaurant – uneventful and forgetful at least for this gringo.
Sorry, forgot to bring the cellphone, no pictures.
My first preference for everything excellent, the food, the personalized service, the views, is Marina Costa Baja golf clubhouse. If you walk there and back I guarantee you a priceless experience!
Right after breakfast and the prompt delivery of our check we go off in search of a tortilla maker. Not just any tortilla maker but one for my beautiful daughter in law – Rini. She wants a large-sized tortilla press, called a “tortilladora” in Mexico.
Originally, the tortilla press comes in wood or metal. We don’t yet know what kind we are going to buy her. According to Patti we need to walk miles and miles to an Ace hardware store. I say what?
If you don’t yet know Patti is now the fitbit queen and I am not. I don’t need all this extra walking. Yesterday she clocked 18,000 steps on her fitbit watch. A new personal record for her that she had to photograph and send to her daughter Kara who is expecting her first child in June 2016. I think today Patti is also trying for a new personal record. In almost record time of us walking I easily locate a Mexican original hardware store. Of course they all carry tortilla makers – we’re in Mexico I say.
Patti quickly confirms that this hardware store is the place that her friend Amy purchased her tortilla maker. We look all around. I find a rather large animal trap, numerous buckets ranging in sizes from kid to adult size. One of those outdoor hand clothes washer.
I also find a beautiful juice press and then a section on a shelf reserved for taaadahhhh! Metal tortilla makers. The large I saw could easily double as a boat anchor for my dinghy, both in size and weight. Plus, this one has the added feature that it is also zinc plated and will never rust.
Patti thinks the middle one is large enough. I say I distinctly recall Rini saying that you can make a large or small tortilla from a large press but not a large tortilla from a small press.
I can almost picture the three grandchildren now. The seven yearold redhead Alice, Clover and little toe head Geo, each munching on their very own freshly made corn or flour tortilla.
Momma Rini places the masa balls at the center of the press, applying pressure just enough to flatten it into a smooth round tortilla. The modern way to make tortillas is to buy them directly from a local tortilla factory but, my daughter in law Rini is not one to shortchange those babies.
She is the most 50’s era perfect 20+ something year old that I know. This beautiful electric tortilla maker that we purchased for a whopping 800 pesos will go a long way with her beautiful 50’s era stove, a great addition to her kitchen.
But first, this tortilla maker has to survive the clipper route. Hopefully I can find enough room onboard with the hundreds of Mexican blankets. If I recall correctly, the Mexican blankets are for Brian’s daughters wedding. The current plan is to affix said Mexican blankets to straw bales on which the guests will sit on, in a barn type outdoor wedding. Mason jars and cowboy spurs and other barn findings all about.
On the shuttle ride back to our marina we meet one of the most interesting and simple sailors yet. This old-timer is still sporting a full head of medium grey hair. We converse about living cheaply and simply on a boat. He shows me a picture of a Montana log cabin that he built. Says he built it for $2,000 US. It sits on 45 acres. His wife is presently waiting for him in the cabin.
For years he says they sailed the Sea of Cortez and ate what the locals ate. Budget for the month rarely exceeded $300. Today, and for the near future his boat will also sit at Marina Costa Baja, our perfect hurricane hole marina. This sailor is on his way back to Montana, by car. Another lost opportunity for pictures.
This afternoon the order of business is a short nap. I patiently await the splicing of my hurricane lines; the ends will be made into mooring lines. I also await a second quote on my fiberglass water tanks.
We wake up twenty minutes before shuttle time and wine tasting. This week Club Cruceros sponsors what they refer to as Bayfest. March 30 – April 3, 2016. From 5-7 at the clubhouse we try local wines. We sit at a table with our friends Sharon and Ian. Paul, Frank and Caroline from the M/V Yukon Spirit, a Defever 50. As the wine freely pours and the appetizers of fresh soughdough bread and cheese arrives, we appear to be getting tipsy. Patti says do you know all we’ve eaten today is breakfast?
Very soon dinner plans at Mystic Steak house are made. Everyone credits John (of John & Mitsy) S/V E’xxxxx of finding this place. “I have visited 80+countries, eaten steak in the US, Mexico and Canada, and at Mystic I enjoyed the finest filet, ever”. Five out of six order the filet! John – fantastic! You are truly correct. The meal is served with a full sized US type baked potatoe, fresh zucchini, tomatoe, onion vegetables, and a beautiful fresh salad. Two margaritas will do you in! Promise. Ask Patti.
We toast Caroline on her birthday night!
Order a taxi and in record Mario Andretti race time we arrive back at Marina Costa Baja. A wonderful evening!
Tomorrow I am signed up for a Baja bash seminar at 1 – 2:30 p.m. and the following day Patti has us signed up for a pig roast 6-10 p.m. We need a rest!
More to follow.