Monday, November 22, 2021

MY NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER HAS BEEN PUBLISHED--Happy Thanksgiving, Exploring Puerto Vallarta, a 99¢ Book👀

Happy Thanksgiving from tropical México. I hope you will have a wonderful holiday, the best in years!

Jon and I have plans to give thanks in my favorite place, the same stunning venue we went to last year, Vallarta Botanical Garden. After a walk through the colorful tropical flowers, dancing butterflies, charming hummingbirds, and vanilla groves, we’ll spend time in the gift shop, buying Talavera knick-knacks to decorate our new condo in Puerto Vallarta. Then we’ll enjoy the same three-course turkey dinner that we had last year in the Hacienda del Oro while listening to live dinner music and viewing the mountains and river below. The hummingbirds and other tropical birds will entertain us at the feeders hanging outside the balcony. I can’t wait!

     If you’re interested in attending this event, be sure to make a reservation. And don’t forget the insect repellent—you’ll be out in nature, surrounded by the jungle.

Jon and Terry at Vallarta Botanical Garden in 2020

We love our new life in Puerto Vallarta. What a contrast it is to living in a Sayulita barrio, a Mexican neighborhood complete with chickens, sheep, and turkeys. It was the right time for us to experience a change.

     In case you missed my recent articles, click on the links below. Don't miss the 99¢ book offer at the end of this newsletter—TWO days only!

To read more, click HERE.

My books are available on Amazon worldwide. If you enjoy them, please leave a brief review on Amazon. I wish you good health and happiness.

          Cheers,
          Terry

Friday, November 12, 2021

VISITING SAN SEBASTIÁN DEL OESTE—An Old Pueblo Mágico

     Jon and I have talked for years about visiting San Sebastián del Oeste, a 400 to 500-year-old Pueblo Mágico (a Mexican Magic Town) in the Sierra Madre mountains of Jalisco state. We decided it was a good time to go now that the rains have stopped and before the weather turns too cool in the mountains. I convinced Jon to take an all-day, all-inclusive tour for our first visit to this charming town and we were glad we did.

San Sebastián del Oeste's Plaza and Cathedral's Bell Tower

     Our first stop was Panadería Carmen’s Bakery. Jon and I shared one pastry, a flaky jam-filled empanada, and it was delicious. We wished we would have shared one more! The courtyard and gardens there were beautiful and relaxing.

Jon Talking to the Birds at Panadería Carmen's Bakery

     I was amazed at the mature banana tree and its 2-foot long bunch of bananas, some of the fruit from the bottom already harvested. Jon talked to the pair of parrots for a while but they were busy building a nest inside a gourd so weren’t too interested in talking. We’d like to go back to Carmen’s bakery again.

How did this Banana Tree NOT Fall Down!

     La Quinta Mary (The Fifth Mary in the family) coffee roaster was our second rest stop. We had a tour of the edge of the plantation where our guide gave us an education on café de altura (coffee of the highlands), coffee roasting, and the family history. It was very interesting to learn that the citrus trees planted interspersed with the coffee plants provide a natural insect repellant for the coffee berries—organic farming.

Coffee Roaster at La Quinta Mary

Beautiful Macaws in the Aviary at La Quinta Mary

     The four macaws were screeching furiously when the group of tourists passed by, possibly looking for attention or hoping someone would feed them. Jon came up to their aviary and started “talking” to them in macaw language and they settled down immediately. Jon is a “bird whisperer”. As he continued to mimic them, they looked at him, stretched, and nonchalantly started to preen. One even closed her eyes and took a nap, hypnotized by Jon’s crooning.

Blue Agave Plants, Years from Maturity

     We stopped at a blue agave field for a look and education on growing the plants and making tequila, raicilla, and mezcal, distilled products of agave in the state of Jalisco. Our tour guide smilingly promised tequila tasting later in the day.

     After we arrived in the village, once a thriving silver and gold mining town established in 1605, we toured the Casa Museo Doña Conchita Encarnación museum, the beautiful cathedral which was constructed starting in 1608, and the Casa de La Cultura (House of Culture). Then we were free to wander around the plaza and along cobblestone roads to admire the old adobe and brick buildings and to shop. I enjoyed the cooler, dry mountain air in San Sebastian del Oeste while Jon admired the old architecture.

Touring Casa Museo de Doña Conchita Encarnación

Town and Family History Inside the Museum

Inside the Beautiful San Sebastian Cathedral

Casa de La Cultura Courtyard and Mural

Quaint Architecture and Cobblestone

Very Old Adobe and Stone Architecture

      The San Sebastian del Oeste plaza was beautiful and peaceful, a complete contrast to Sayulita’s, the Pueblo Mágico where we lived for six years. We wondered what it would be like on a Saturday evening with live music and lovers strolling hand in hand.

San Sebastian del Oeste's Peaceful, Pretty Plaza

     Our last stop was for lunch and tequila tasting at Hacienda Don Lalin, a small distillery and brewery. The multi-course, freshly prepared lunch was traditional Mexican food served family-style with six to eight people sharing a table. We enjoyed getting to know travelers from Britain and Michigan while we dined. Finally, it was time for tequila tasting. We loved the almond tequila and chocolate-coffee flavored tequila, which would be delicious over ice cream or ice with milk for a dessert.

Hacienda Don Lalin Tequila Tasting

     We booked our tour with Vallarta Adventures and recommend them. Having a friendly, knowledgeable guide who is bilingual and a good driver to expertly handle those windy mountain roads made it worth the price. One note for future tours—the instructions did not mention using insect repellent against the no-see-ums, but we had itchy, red evidence of their bites the next day. We were glad we had worn long pants, socks, and shoes as our legs and feet were spared the invisible insect attacks.

     It was a worthwhile day-tour. Even Jon agreed.

     Thank you for reading my blog articles and books. As a self-published author on Amazon, I love it when readers leave a brief review of my books to help others find them. I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

     If you’d like to take a look at my recent newsletter, you can read it HERE.

     Happy reading and traveling! Stay safe and healthy. 

     Terry

Saturday, November 6, 2021

OUR 12 FAVORITE PUERTO VALLARTA RESTAURANTS--So Far! (Part 2)

 Wine Selection, Quality, and Temperature are Factors

Cheers! Many More Restaurants to Try😄

     We have three more Puerto Vallarta restaurants to add to our Favorites List. Did I mention that I don’t list our favorite restaurants in any specific order? We just like them all, but for different reasons.

     I thought Jon and I might be able to call ourselves “foodies” until I researched the definition and decided we’re not foodies because we aren’t gourmets, don’t know food pairings, and aren’t able to properly cook. But that’s why we like to dine in good restaurants and we do fit these criteria, “Always have a restaurant recommendation, eat healthy food, and have a taste for wine.”😀

     So here are three more of our restaurant recommendations with healthy food and a good wine selection. Jon leans toward Vino Espumoso (Sparkling Wine) by the glass during the hot weather or a good margarita on the rocks. My new favorite is Pinot Grigio by the glass because it’s refreshing and goes well with seafood, chicken, and most foods I choose.

Part 1 of this series can be viewed HERE.

4. La Dolce Vita


     The Malecón location of La Dolce Vita has been a favorite of ours for years, starting long before we moved to Puerto Vallarta. We often go there when we are taking a walk and want the ocean view. This is our favorite Italian restaurant. Now they have a new location on Basilio Badillo that we like just as much except it doesn’t have the ocean view. It’s close to our condo in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, so it’s a good choice when we want to walk a shorter distance to dinner.

Chicken Parmigiana with Fettucine Alfredo

     For a long time, we were stuck on pizza here—it’s so good! Recently, we tried the Pollo alla Parmigiana (Chicken breast with crusty parmesan cheese) and a side of Fettucine Alfredo. It was delicious. With a shared salad to start, this meal was plenty to share.

5. Azafrán Restaurante Bar

Pechuga de Pollo Rellena Azafrán (Stuffed Chicken Breast)

     I’ve often thought that this restaurant should be rated higher on TripAdvisor. (I gave them a 5-Star rating on that important site.) Though Azafrán is located on Olas Altas in Old Town, it’s a bit off the beaten path so it doesn’t get as much notice from walking traffic as some restaurants. We walk by it often and were enticed by the beautiful dining room and intriguing menu. Open-air dining on the terrace is nice, also, offering a great people-watching view. The European Fusion salads, main courses, and desserts offer a wonderful change from the plentiful Mexican and Italian food in Puerto Vallarta.

Jon's Ribeye Steak with Grilled Potatoes

     I highly recommend this restaurant! The food, service, and setting are wonderful. My Pechuga de Pollo Rellena Azafrán (Chicken breast stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach, served with risotto) was so good, I’ve had it on two occasions. Jon said his Ribeye Steak was great! The Apple Beignets, made here, served with Vanilla Ice Cream are a must. This is one of our new favorite dinner restaurants when we don’t want to walk too far to and from dinner but want a delicious, healthy meal. The menu changes occasionally, so we’ll have to visit again soon to see what’s new.

Outside View of the Restaurant/Bar from Our Table

6. La Cappella

     La Cappella is one we reserve for special occasions. The setting is wonderful on the upper floor of an old chapel behind the famous cathedral, Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. The food, wine list, and service are exceptionally good. It’s a little expensive, so we only go there once or twice a year. Maybe our upcoming anniversary will be a good opportunity to make a reservation for a front-row seat.

Celebrating Jon's Birthday at La Cappella Restaurant

     The restaurant’s website describes it so well, I’ll quote it. “La Cappella is an open-air restaurant that overlooks the city of Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay and serves contemporary Italian Cuisine, reveling in violin music, in an elegant but informal ambiance. A full bar and wine list are also available. House specialty cocktails take advantage of local fruits, herbs, and spices to create a uniquely enticing selection.” 

Wood-Fired Salmon with Baby Potatoes and Vegetables

     Hmmm, I notice we tend toward Italian restaurants. If only there were more good Asian restaurants… I do miss Chinese food here.

     If you missed Part 1 of this series, check it out HERE. Let me know what you think and if you have other suggestions. Especially Chinese.

     Thank you for reading my blog articles and books. As a self-published author on Amazon, I love it when readers leave a brief review of my books to help others find them. 

     I invite you to SIGN UP for my Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter, published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books. If you’d like to take a look at my recent newsletter, you can read it HERE.

     Happy reading and traveling! Stay safe and healthy.

     Terry L Turrell, Author

See My Amazon Author Page HERE