Monthly Archives: February 2017

House Guest Number Three or: Ballenas, Jardins, Comida Excellente y Mucho Mas



She Said:


As many of you may know first-hand or gathered from reading our blog, Puerto Vallarta is a very convenient and affordable place to vacation for those living in the Continental U.S.  Of course, it becomes even more appealing.  Thus, we just hosted our friend Robin, the tail end of January into the first week of February, certainly a perfect time to come to PV weather-wise, especially when departing from Minneapolis.

I have known Robin for over 15 years.  We worked at the Star Tribune together and at Capella University.  She was also a charter member of our ten plus year running book club “Literal Hotties” (whose members were women over 40).

Robin has been gracious enough to host me much of the time when I visit the Twin Cities, not to mention storing a barrage of my stuff. So, I was more than happy to have a chance to have her visit our Mexican casa. And, we did pack a lot into a week.

I showed Robin around the immediate area, we ate some fantastic meals at places like Chez Elena, Di Vino Dante, and Mi Pueblito, to name just a few, and, of course, I had to take her whale watching. The weather and conditions on the bay were once again perfect. And though we didn’t witness any dramatic breaches, we did see whales, including a couple of them heading right for us! Ay carumba!

Dinner with Betsy at Di vino dante

The highlight of the week for me was our visit to Vallarta Botanical Gardens.  I am embarrassed to admit, after all, the years of visiting and living in PV, I had not yet been there.  Judd always thought it would be too hot, rigorous, and that the insects would eat me alive.  But, I do love plants and flowers, and I knew my house guest does too, so we slathered on the sunscreen and insect spray and hopped in a cab for 400 pesos (about $20).  The ride was beautiful and the gardens even more so.

The paths were mostly paved and very walkable, the bugs seemed nearly non-existent, and the flora, birds, and surrounding scenery were magnificent.  We had decided to have lunch there, which I expected to be muy pricey.  I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the prices were, especially when you consider the quality.

Garden bridge
Beautiful orchids at the gardens

Exit through the Gift Shop
Arachera (flank steak) nachos

Vanilla bean mojito…YUM!

We opted to take the bus back for a total of 60 pesos.  The lesson here is, don’t let someone rope you into a $50 tour or the equivalent of 900-1000 pesos.  Our total cost for admission and transportation was 380 pesos each as opposed to 1000.  You can spend some of your savings on a delicious lunch or perhaps a vanilla bean mojito…Yum!  They also have a gift shop filled with unique treasures.

Lily pads at the garden

Robin has agreed to be our guest blogger this post. She is a travel lover and a foodie, so I look forward to her comments.  Thanks for visiting Robin!


She Said Too:

I’ve known Judd and Marcia probably 15 years and they’ve hosted me many times here in Minneapolis at different gatherings, but it was really fun to go see them in PV. They know the best places to eat, the best views, the best exchange rate and the best Farmacia. Marcia and I worked together at the Star Tribune before she came to Capella University and I followed her a few years later.

My hosts

 They were kind enough to give me shelter for seven days so I would try to be absent for much of the day because as my father and Ben Franklin would say, houseguests, like fish, begin to stink after three days. We would all have breakfast together and then Marcia would go off to do her writing and I would head for the beach.

 I went to the same place each day and wound up having to take an umbrella and chair somewhere in the back of the crowd and a waiter and I would keep a sharp eye out for anyone who vacated their spot near the water. By the time I’d leave after a margarita and a little ceviche around 5 PM, I’d have been right at the water for a couple of hours straight. I’d return home and Marcia, Judd and I would go someplace fabulous for dinner with a gorgeous view of the sunsets.

The first couple of days we enjoyed some of the sights. Marcia and I took a whale watch cruise and saw some marvelous humpbacks including one pair who headed straight for the boat. You could see people cautiously beginning to lower their cameras the closer they got. It was great fun.

 The second day we went to the Botanical Gardens which are stunning with gorgeous plants and orchids. It’s become an event place complete with a small chapel. We had an exemplary lunch of steak nachos and a rustic avocado salad with honey-lime dressing that was so good I bought three jars of the honey.

I had a pretty busy schedule:

Sunday- Joe Jack’s Mahi mahi with beans and rice

Monday- Botanical Gardens rustic avocado salad with honey-lime dressing and nachos. Dinner at Cafe Bohemio (Sol’s place). Sol is a character and well worth having a chat with.

Tuesday- Whale Watch-Dinner at Chez Elena (tremendous view). Spoke with the owner, Gloria Whiting, who thrives on meeting her guests. Had osso bucco on cauliflower purée

Osso bucco at Chez Elena

Chez Elena View

Wed- Breakfast at Sorreno’s. Dinner at home: salmon cakes and Tabouleh salad from Mikey’s Deli


Di Vino dante
Coconut margarita


 Saturday- Kaiser Maximilian breakfast. Mi Pueblito for dinner

Sunday – Diablo’s Fusion Gourmet for breakfast machacas




Bird reflection
Chess on the Malecon