Friday, March 26, 2010

An Apology

First, let's extend a welcome to Betsy Grierson, the newest member of the Beer Party. Welcome to the party that will make a difference. To what and to whom remains to be seen.

And now for the apology. The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I went to Daiquiri Dick's for our farewell to Puerto Vallarta dinner and to cash in the dinner-for-two that I won in their Mix Off. As a result I never got around to posting about the second half of my road trip. That will have to wait until after I return home. I will also post a bit about my dinner at Daiquiri Dick's but, to be honest, I didn't take a lot of pictures.

I do want to say that Daiquiri Dick's certainly made good on their prize. They paid for the before dinner drinks, two appetizers, both of our meals, and a dessert for the Mysterious Chinese Woman and an after-dinner flaming coffee for me. We went with another couple, Bill and Marcie, and our waiter said that they could have desserts on the house as well. Unfortunately they were too full for dessert, although Marcie did eat some of the Mysterious Chinese Woman's most delicious Key Lime Pie.

The food was delicious, from the Won Ton Shrimp and the Fried Calamari appetizers to the meals themselves and the dessert and coffee afterwards. Speaking just for myself, the Flank Steak that I had was one of the tastiest and tenderest that I have ever eaten, and done to perfection, medium rare. Everyone else said their food was delicious as well.

A heartfelt thank you to Daiquiri Dick's for the most generous prize.

Another Road Trip

The other day a bunch of us took a road trip to El Tuito with a stop at Boca for a late lunch on the way back home. El Tuito is about an hour bus ride from Puerto Valarta and costs you a whopping 20 pesos. That is about $1.60 in U.S. dollars. And the trip is well worth it.

The Gathering Of Some Of The Troops

We had a pretty good little crowd, nine of us in total, for this expedition. We all got to the bus stop with no casualties, which is always a good way to start a trip.

And Onto The Bus

El Tuito is south of Puerto Vallarta and at an elevation of about 2000 feet it is a bit cooler, particularly in the summer months. It is also most definitely not a tourist town, at least not yet. There are a couple of small hotels though, but nothing really luxurious. It is a farming and ranching town so don't expect to buy any souvenirs. If you want to buy a carrying case for your prized fighting cock, though, this is the place to do it.

Carrion Luggage, If Your Cock Lost

After getting off the bus the first thing we had to do was pose for a group picture in front of the little pavilion thing.

Smile Everyone

Of course after the long and dusty bus ride we were happy to see this place.

Ah, Cerveza On The Horizon

Needless to say the rush was on.

Hey! Wait! Just One More Picture, Hey!

Such an unruly crowd. Actually, I was the second one there. The only reason Bill beat me was because he had to use the banos.

Early Arrivals

We were planning on stopping at Boca for lunch on the way back so we just settled in here for a few beers and some snacks. It was a very charming place and the people running it were very friendly. I had been to El Tuito a few years ago and this restaurant wasn't here at that time.

A Nice Little Courtyard

A bunch of tables were pushed together and soon we were all getting seated.

Pick Your Seat

And Having Our Cervezas

A Different Angle

We got some chips with our beers and four different things to put on them. There were two sauces, one of which was really hot. Not just really hot, but that sneaky it creeps up on you kind of hot. The there were pickled carrots and jimica and also pickled jalepenos.

Pick Your Poison

We also ordered some quesadillas which were quite good and obviously made on the premises.

The Quesadilla Maker

Valerie And The Mysterious Chinese Woman Enjoying Their's

Marcie and Carol seemed to be very interested in some pictures. They will probably spend their time in Boca looking at the pictures we took here.

What Are They Looking At?

Must Be Good

In Their Own World

There was a little, I guess you would call it a store, where you could buy some assorted liquor and pickled stuff. Just what stuff was pickled, not including us, we couldn't really determine.

Mysterious Chinese Woman, Jim And Bar Man Shelf Shopping

El Tuito is known primarily for two things, cheese and racillia. Well, we had already had cheese quesadillas, so that left raicilla.

Did Someone Say Free Samples?

Sometimes referred to as 'Mexican Moonshine’, raicilla (say ‘rye-see-yah’) is a homegrown version of tequila or mezcal that has just recently begun to become ‘legitimized’ through branding. The stuff they sold here was the "legitimized" version but the one I got in Boca was more the 'Mexican Moonshine' type. The stuff here was smoother, no doubt about it, but I kind of preferred the harsher, and more potent Boca version.

Of course I had to buy a bottle anyway. I will take it up to our annual Fishing Opener. It will complement the bottle of absinthe I am bringing.

My Baby

After our beer break some of us felt like a bit of desert.

Bill Needed Chocolate

Jim Opted For Ice Cream

But for some of us, nothing says desert like deep-fried pork fat.

Now This Is Desert

Strangely enough, not everyone agreed with this. Marge and I seemed to agree, though.

Simply Yummy

And I Agree

After our deserts we wandered around the town a bit to see what the stores had to offer. I was a bit concerned about Valerie's keen interest in the machetes.

Have A Lot Of Sugar Cane, Do We?

I wouldn't mind coming here and spending a night sometime. It would be kind of interesting to see just what goes on. There was a little area with restaurants and bars just off the main square so I expect it might get kind of lively once the sun goes down.

They are building a new stage area right in the middle of the square and I would expect that this will be done by next year.

Live, For Your Entertainment

As I said, though, this is not a tourist town so there are a lot of fields and kind of dusty streets.

Of course the Mysterious Chinese Woman can find something of interest wherever she goes.

Ooh, Look, A Bull In A Truck

She Did Take A Nice Picture, Though

And then it was time for us to get back on the bus and head to Boca for lunch.

Back On The Bus

Tomorrow, and it is hard to believe, I head back home to Brooklyn. Although I have been here for eight weeks there is still a lot I didn't get to do. Oh well, that is what keeps me looking forward to returning every year. That, and reuniting with all my friends down here.

Before I leave, though, I will post about our lunch at Boca. It would have just been too much if I posted about everything we did on this trip all at once. Actually, it was almost too much to have done it all at once.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daiquiri Dick's Mix Off

Yesterday was Daiquiri Dick's first Mix Off and the featured coctail was to be, no surprise, a daiquiri. They said if this one went well they would have more Mix Offs in the future featuring different drinks.

The sign-up said entrants should be at Daiquiri Dick's by 4:30 PM and I wanted to make sure I was there early.

Ready With My Game Face

I guess that meant 4:30 PM Mexican time, because the place was pretty empty when I showed up.

Where Is Everybody?

Now, when I say Mexican time, I am not being insulting. In Mexico showing up on time for a social engagement is considered to be a bit rude. Generally you are expected to show up about an hour late. This even holds true for business appointments where being about a half-an-hour late is considered being on time.

Anyway, when I asked where I should sign-in nobody seemed to know anything about this Mix Off.

Mix Off, Or Mix Up?

I was begining to wonder if I had gotten my dates mixed up.

A Bit Confused

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to try a couple of the drinks off their menu. I ordered an Apple Daiquiri and didn't think it was very good. The over-powering taste was that of DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker. It did have fresh apple in it, but this just served to clog up the straw. It just wasn't my cup of tea, so to speak.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman ordered a Pina Colada, primarily to make sure they had the coconut cream that I needed for my daiquiri recipe. I was happy to see that they did, unless they used some pre-made Pina Colada mix.

Doing Due Diligence

Pretty soon, though, there was a bit of activity amongst the waiters and a lady in blue showed up to take charge.

Something Is Going On

Eventually a blender and some liquor appeared so I began to relax a bit. Still, though, I was the only one there and it was now approaching 5:00 PM.

Checking Things Out

I saw that they had a bottle of Appleton Jamaican Rum and I figured they must have gotten my ingredients list because I didn't think too many others would use it.

Eventually more and more ingredients began to show up so I started to relax a bit. Or maybe it was the Apple Daiquiri that was relaxing me.

More Ingredients



And then the people started to pour in.

The Crowd Begins To Form

I did my part by trying to bribe the judges who looked suspiciously like they had just stepped out of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Just A Step To The Left

Many of my friends showed up to support me and, let's be honest, without their support I wouldn't have won the popular vote. Not that they were the only ones voting for me, but they were probably the loudest.

My Support Group

Well, Marcie isn't in the picture because she took it. But more about Marcie later.

The contest was being covered quite extensively. Of course everyone seemed to have a camera, but there was also someone, and I forgot her name, filming the event. She said it would be posted on Daiquiri Dick's website and maybe a few other places as well. When I find out more I will be sure to post links.

A Well Covered Event

Ready For Your Close-Up

Basically, two people at a time, starting with the professionals, made their drinks. You had to make a fair amount of them too. Enough for the judges, of course, and then enough to pass around to the crowd. I ended up making to batches each of which filled a blender. And that was before shaking with the ice. I had just enough bananas.

Because I was in the amateur I had a chance to sample some of the professional offerings before I had to do my stuff.

Not All Were To My Liking

If you are ever going to make a daiquiri using kiwi, be sure you strain the drink. All the seeds kind of get stuck in your teeth. At least the ones that don't settle to the bottom of the glass giving the drink a somewhat unattractive appearance.

And then it was my turn to show off my stuff. I was right about the Appleton Jamaican Rum, nobody else was using it.

Cracking The Bottle

Careful Measurement Is The Key

Nothing But Fresh Lime Juice

Pouring The Final Result

Tasting The Result

Well, it tasted fine to me, but then I was a bit biased. My friends did their share of testing as well.

This Is The Fun Part


Oh, yes, let's not forget Marcie.

Marcie, My Publicist

Marcie felt that the fact that I was, after all, the Bar Man, would be of interest so she went out of her way to inform the person doing the filming of my exploits. I didn't think this was too big a deal but Marcie hit the nail on the head. Next thing you knew she had me wired for sound and came back twice for an on-camera interview.

Ready For My Close-Up

Let's Get Some Perspective

What would I do without Marcie?

And then the judging took place. As I mentioned, I didn't win the judges award but I was an overwhelming crowd favorite.

And The Winner Is...

The Mysterious Chinese Woman shared my joy.

I Thought She Might Poof

And then the obligatory pictures of the judges, winners, and also-rans.

Say Queso

Daiquiri Dick's did a very nice job with this, in my opinion. Especially given that it was their first attempt. Being an entrant I didn't have to pay anything, but the 100 peso admission for everyone else was, in my opinion, a real bargain.

First of all you got fairly generous portions of nine different daiquiris. And then they passed out some really good little snacks.

Little Treats



Bill was a little suspicious of the cerviche.

Will It Bite?

Surprisingly, he actually liked it. Will wonders never cease.

And then it was time to head home. And we had a lovely sunset to end a lovely day.

A Perfect Ending

Oh yes, and as promised, my recipe:

Bar Man's Banana Coconut Cream Daiquiri

2 oz Barcardi Silver
1 oz Appleton Jamaican Rum
2 oz Coconut Cream
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1 Inch Long Piece Of Ripe Banana

Blend all of the ingredients in, well, this should be obvious, a blender until smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into a cocktail shaker half-full of ice and shake vigorously.

Strain into a glass.

Feel free to play with the recipe until you get a drink that you like. Everyone's tastes are a bit different. This is the recipe that I used, though. It has a bit of a kick to it, so be careful and only give the kids a little bit.