Trip report 5-12 Jan

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Escrito por Kim desde ( el día lunes, 14 de enero, 2008 a las 10:41:38 horas :

This was our fourth trip to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and our first stay in the La Ropa area.

Accommodations: Vista del Mar condo in the Casa Que Ve al Mar complex. Beautiful view and a very, very nice condo. Great mattresses. Very clean, very quiet at night (you can hear the trucks on the street below during the day). Never quite got the hang of the mini pool heater (despite being shown by Jose twice – not sure the heater was actually working). Condo complex was spotless. For those who count, it is 295 steps from the condo to the road below (without using the elevator). About 8 minutes walk to the beach. 10 minutes back (if you are in good shape). Do it after 10 a.m. or so and you will be sweating profusely.

Meals – (I don’t recall most of the prices as we used cash from atms this trip rather than credit cards). General impressions: “upscale” Zihua restaurants have really good service and the wait staffs are particularly friendly and even more so if you speak a bit of Spanish to them. Food is generally very good and prices cheap in the “local” places and on par with America in the “upscale” places. Wine is way overpriced. Particulars:

Puerta (or Puesta depending on which sign you look at) del Sol. We shared a very good caesar salad and an excellent beef tenderloin. Both cooked at the table. We were early (first day of the trip) and the service was excellent. Owner/tableside chef was very engaging and shared recipe tips with us. Too bad that the view is disappearing. Surprisingly good Mexican Cabernet (190 pesos for the bottle).

Paty’s. We went down for the day on the beach. Chicken enchiladas were tasty. For some reason the chicken in one serving was very tough. Friendly service and reasonably priced. The busier they got during the day, the longer the wait for a beer and the bill.

Kau Kan. Roof top view was very nice and the service was excellent. My Dorado (Mahi Mahi – which I have eaten lots of in my 4 years in Hawaii) seemed to be a bit old or overcooked. Wife’s beef was excellent. We had a Spanish tempranillo for 330 pesos. It was not worth the price (I also lived in Spain for two years).

Mama Normas – went over to Ixtapa for her chili rellenos. I like the simple cheese filled ones better than those with seafood etc. The ranchero sauce topping is especially wonderful. Excellent as always.

La Sirena Gorda – a return visit also. The serenitas (I think that’s what the small fish tacos with the plain grilled fish are called) are still wonderful. If you are adventurous try just a bit of the habanero sauce on a chip. Very picante but with a wonderful taste. Attentive service at our lunch.

La Gula – We had chosen this restaurant based on the reviews on the “We Love Zihua” site and read some info we found in the condo which indicated that at least one previous visitor thought it was so good they went three times. Here’s my take. Service was excellent. My wife had the tenderloin and I had the stuffed chicken breast. We had a vegetable salad (for some reason called “many leaves) which had eggplant with a skin so tough we had to saw on it with our knives to cut it. The beef had almost no flavor and had had a strange texture to it and was covered in what tasted like plain brown gravy. The chicken was way over cooked. We had another bottle of 300 peso wine (cabernet from Argentina) that was at best, passable.

Coconuts – coconut shrimp for both of us the first time and chile relleno/red snapper the second visit. Great service. Shrimp were very good. Rellenos were good but a bit too much for me (the breading was very heavy and lots of potatoes inside hid the flavor of the seafood in there). Snapper was great. House white wine was not very good.

Pozole alley – we went down at lunch to try RicoMar (only open for dinner) and wound up eating at the only place that was open. I had red pozole and my wife had white. Both were excellent and inexpensive.

Il Mare – great service, outstanding view if you are at the edge of the balcony and great food. I had the pasta with the homemade sausage and peas and my wife had the four cheeses pasta. Same wine we had at Puerta del Sol (but 70 pesos more).

Los Braseros – went for lunch to have tacos al Pastor. These small tacos were excellent and three of them cost 13 pesos. Very cold beer and good service (although we were the only ones there for an early lunch)

Caprichos – last dinner, I had the beef kabobs and my wife had the lobster. Both were very good. Service was slow (even though only three tables were being served) and the waiters had trouble with the orders. My wife had a malbec from Agrentina which was good but at 75 pesos per glass, over priced.

Misc – stopped in for drinks at Bandidos and Ricks a couple of time each. Liked the music at both (better at Ricks). Ricks house brand tequila is quite good. One waiter at Bandidos was pretty friendly and one was kinda grouchy (despite my order for a 170 peso tequila). I have decided, despite my best efforts, that I like good Scotch better than good tequila.

Other thoughts -
- If you take a taxi in the morning it is likely that they may not be able to make change for you
- La Ropa beach was a clean as most beaches I have seen in my travels
- We liked staying on the Zihua side better than Ixtapa. More lively. Lots of birds to be seen from our balcony.
- Our first trip to the central market was very interesting.
- If one of you sews, be sure to visit the fabric shop across the street from the central market. Nice wares, great prices.
- One cruise ship in the bay is bad, can’t imagine what three would be like
- Trash – same as Spain/southern Italy in the old days. People take good care of what they own, but have little respect for other areas. Look anywhere in the uncared for vegetated areas or street sides and there is trash everywhere. I saw the same dirty discarded diaper across the narrow street in front of the tides on three trips to the beach. Each time there was a Tides worker busy sweeping the driveway not 15 feet away. Odd, but I guess that’s the way it is.

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