Sunday, April 08, 2007

From Scottsdale Fast Cars to Sushi in Loreto …

What a whirlwind week! It is Semana Santa or Holy Week in Mexico and there is almost no business conducted outside of the hospitality industry. Yolanda, Edgar and Julio worked diligently throughout the holiday to ensure everyone had a great time at Nellie’s Place. All hotels were full and the beaches and campsites were wall-to-wall packed with families enjoying the largest holiday outside of Christmas. Since I now try to act Mexican, I thoroughly enjoyed my week off away from the office.

My short trip to Scottsdale was heaven. I stayed with my friend Jessie in her new custom home, complete with pool, wine cellar, and built-in Miele Coffee Dispenser which was like having a personal barista on call 24x7. My chariot of choice was a Lincoln Aviator or BMW M3. I was thrilled to see my little Mercedes C240 in Jessie’s garage waiting patiently for the day I would return to take her away. The way Loreto is growing, it may be sooner than I think when a Mercedes will no longer be ostentatious and unusual for this little town.

I packed an empty suitcase, filled only with my dry cleaning. My friends joke that I went to Phoenix just to have my laundry done. I spent 6 hours power shopping and had to buy another suitcase just to pack the goodies I bought for my staffs’ kids, office, and new Loreto wardrobe. Wandering around Kierland Commons, I realized how much I appreciated Valet Parking at the Mall. When I lived in Scottsdale, I thought this was frivolous … but after living in the Wild Wild West for 8 months … it is a wonderful well deserved luxury.

I met with many friends and visited all my favorite restaurants at DC Ranch. First stop was Oysters on the half shell and Martinis at Eddie V’s; then fine wine samplers at Hermitage with an exotic cheese platter; and finally Maestros for the best steak in town. It is truly an adult Disneyland sitting outside, sipping wine in 75 degree weather with a parade of luxury cars continually driving past slowly through the marketplace. It is very sad that what impressed me the most was not the Ferraris, Porsches, or Lamborghinis … it was the fact that they were all immaculately clean and dust free. I am sure all these people would be horrified if they saw the way I drive my Baja car off the dirt lot after it has been detailed at the local car wash. It stays beautiful all of one minute, but what a proud minute it is!

It was especially nice to catch up with my good friend Catherine Swinscoe, who is back working in Mexico with Paul Moran Architects. The new resort spa they are creating is for one of the wealthiest men in Mexico, located in Northern Acapulco. It will be a 4 acre destination spa based on Chinese medicine. Part of the project is an 800 room hotel and conference center for 6000 people which will make it the largest in Mexico. Catherine and Paul have done incredibly well since leaving Loreto Bay and I am so happy for their successes. I will keep you up to date as I am sure their work will be receiving international acclaim soon. Halfway through our first bottle of wine, we had the outline of our future book: Life in Loreto Bay – The True Story. It was an experience of a lifetime and true that fact is stranger than fiction. I had forgotten more than most people ever dream of living!

My new friends Bruce and Roberta, who have a beautiful home on the beach in Loreto, brought me more than 150 lbs of yellow tail. Their partner Rod is known in Loreto as the Premier Fisherman and regularly stalked whenever he is on the water as his reputation for finding fish is infamous. You can tell that Bruce is accustomed to hauling the big fish, which looks almost as big as Julio!

Sushi Chef Edgar San Pancho was so excited that they gave us the whole fish intact. He expertly filleted the fish and there was nothing wasted. Another one of our long time residents Juan from the Punto Nopolo Condos gave Edgar an authentic new sushi knife as a gift. The look of joy on Edgar’s face was as good as children’s on an Easter Egg Hunt. I am constantly impressed at the generosity of the people of Loreto who I now call friends.

Bruce’s son David wanted to give one of the fish to his Mexican friend at the marina, so they plopped it in his ATV basket and away he drove down the street. It was quite a sight and all the guys at the marina offered to take the fish off his hands and “give” it to his friend. David was too smart to fall for that old trick and cruised around until he found the rightful recipient.

Edgar made the most amazing dishes with the fish gills. They were lightly battered with tempura and a soya sesame sauce, and amazingly tender. He created a dish of fried fish eggs which I have never tasted before. It was not like caviar, but more like a delicate tofu texture and very tasty. Another first for me was the fish ribs. I never knew fish had ribs, but there was a bone that was about 6 inches long and strong enough you could pick up with your fingers and nibble the meat around it. It was lightly battered and fried with a cilantro sauce and actually looked like a plate of ribs!

Many LBC homeowners were here for Easter and visited Nellie’s Place as the buzz is all over town that we serve the best sushi anywhere! Mark and Allison of FN308 were enjoying the fresh fish and sushi with their friends all evening long. The weather was warm, the company great, reasonable drinks, and delicious food. What more is there to want in life?

Tom Webber, the Golf Architect at Loreto Bay, is now a regular customer. He has been here four times this week and loves the sushi and atmosphere with his friends. Soon he will have a complimentary BajaBOSS cap as soon as we can order more to keep up with the demand.

We also look forward to seeing Tom Woodard as another regular customer with his friends, who all rave that the sushi is as good as in California. Tom is involved in several real estate projects on the Baja and will be renting my VIP suite for six months. Sorry to disappoint all those looking forward to enjoying the luxurious suite with private oceanfront balcony, but it’s business. We are keeping our introductory rate of $60.00 USD per night for our newly renovated cabana rooms as we enjoy having our friends come back time and time again. Reserve early as Nellie’s Place Hotel is often full and we must turn away travelers who regularly stop in.

We send the overflow to my friends, Debora Simmons and Gerardo Lieras, at La Damiana Inn close by. It is a charming hotel with reasonable rates and a nice alternative when Nellie’s Place is full. Many of the local business people are dropping by to relax, have the sushi and most importantly, remember why they came to Loreto by enjoying the view. I am happy to recommend and support other local businesses as I truly believe that What Goes Around, Comes Around. You can check out Debora’s place at www.ladamianainn.com

Ed Tait and Jackie Ross, who are friends from Victoria and previous LBC employees dropped by to say hello. We basked in the sun, having cocktails and they asked how I enjoyed life in Loreto. I have now been here full time for nine months and can honestly say that I have not had a bad day. Challenging, exciting, tiring, and many a blur for various reasons … but not a negative moment where I have had second thoughts that my decision was not the best one for me. We are all different, but I am pleased to offer any assistance to others who want to take the leap and follow their dream.

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