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A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

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Connecticut
posts: 8,809
A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

… based on our own experiences and observations, of course; starting with a review of our day at 'Puerto Marques'.

One morning during the first week of our stay, we decided to hit up Puerto Marques to check out 'Blue Water' — a new place which Truck (and others) had recommended. It was around 10 or 11 when I hailed a VW-cab in front of our hotel and inquired about a ride to PM. He asked for 150 pesos; I offered him 100 (which I felt was a fair amount); and he signaled for us to hop in. There was little traffic and I think we were there in about 20 minutes, but we were both busy taking in the sights and scenery along the way — while exchanging small talk with the driver. We'd been to PM a few times in the past — and we knew what to expect; but in January, it seemed to me that many of the small beachfront eateries were starving for business. As the cab hooked a left onto PM's main beach road, someone from almost every restaurant jumped out into the street (several with menus in hand) to try to entice us to visit with them. Our driver politely waved off one after another and slowly continued on until we reached Blue Water, about a quarter-mile or so down the road. I paid the fare, thanked the cabbie, and walked into what's probably the cleanest eatery on Playa Puerto Marques.

We liked that the staff, there, was professional but laid back — very attentive but not bothersome. A man by the name of Señor Andres (who, as it turns out, is the manager/maître-d') greeted us with a warm smile, and I indicated that we'd come to spend the day — having heard good things about Blue Water from our interenet friends. That seemed to make him happy, and he invited us to plant ourselves 'wherever you like'. We were the only ones there at the time; and once Val spotted the lounge-chairs on the upper deck, I knew that that's where we'd relax for most of the day.

I'd have to say that, for Puerto Marques, this place is exceptional; and according to Señor Andres, they've been open for just over a year. In addition to the sundeck (which overlooks the bay and has about a half-dozen loungers), they have a sizable covered open-air dining area, a full bar, an open-view streetside kitchen, and a gas-fired beehive-shaped pizza oven (which they seem to be quite proud of). There's a smallish sunken fresh-water pool (probably about 3' deep) between the dining-area and the sundeck, which (IMO) is best-suited for kids — though it's convenient for anyone who just wants to hop in and cool off. The pool, btw, was very clean; but it doesn't get much sun, which keeps the water a bit cool. The baños are, without a doubt, the cleanest we've ever seen at Puerto Marques — nicely tiled and off to the side (behind the bar area), but 'as one might expect', NO toilet seats (LOL). ¡Viva Acapulco! Beach access is via a masonry stairway next to the bar. At the top of the stairs, tethered to a long piece of driftwood, is Blue Water's mascot — a big ol' iguana, who basks in the hot sun and minds his own business, but gets pretty animated when they bring him a bowl of shredded lettuce; and half-way down the stairs is a wall-mounted showerhead, to rinse off the sand after spending time on the beach. Beach-level, in a shaded area under the sundeck, there are some plastic tables and chairs in the sand — and the water's edge is only a few yards away.

We took the iguana's advice; and after lathering up with some sunscreen, we basked in the sun for awhile — with a cold drink within easy reach. It was H-O-T! Very hot! And BW's waitstaff was very attentive when it came to keeping us hydrated. Their tropical drinks (IMO) were on the pricey side 'for Puerto Marques' ($75MXN), but no more costly than places like Vayma or Alejo. Cervezas were more reasonably priced; so I alternated between frozen margaritas, piña coladas, and cold Negra Modelos, while Val stuck with refrescas and piña coladas 'naturel'. By early afternoon, a family of vacationing Mexicanos had arrived — to do the same as us, enjoy Blue Water's hospitality for the day; and after soaking up some more rays, we were ready for a swim in the bay. Temp-wise, the water was perfect. It was clean and relatively calm; and the sandy bottom is easy on the feet. We were in and out of the bay all afternoon. At one point, after watching some teens with inner-tubes, Val asked me to see if I could get one for her. I simply motioned my request to a guy on the beach who'd walk down to a nearby vendor and pick one up. Total cost: 30 pesos, 'for as long as you like, Señor." We had fun.

By mid-afternoon, growing hungry, we sat at a table in the dining-area, scanned the menu, and ordered some light fare — fish tacos for me, and some pico de gallo with totopos for Val. Very good, very fresh, and fairly priced. We had decided, by then, that we wouldn't have a big dinner there; and neither of us was in the mood for pizza. They do have a rather extensive menu (primarily seafood) and a variety of pizzas; but the dinners (IMO) aren't cheap. That's not to say that we wouldn't stay for dinner on another visit, but there were still other restaurants in the city which we wanted to get to.

After lunch, back on the sundeck, I decided I'd take a walk around to see if I could find a public internet; and Señor Andres gladly pointed me toward a small hotel just a stone's throw up the street. About 10 pesos for an hour, he said; but I was just looking to use it for a few minutes (to check out the TA forum). After a few steps, I heard him calling me back. "Señor, you can use the internet right here!". There was a teenager (a son of one of the employees, I believe) who was playing around on his laptop; and Andres, I guess, had asked him if a customer could use it for little while. I hesitated at first (not wanting to impose on the kid), but he nodded his approval; and Andres followed up with "You see, Señor — no problema. We have everything here at Blue Water. Whatever our customers need.". The offer was genuine, and I couldn't say 'no'. It was an impressive gesture on their part. They plugged it in, brought me a chair, I surfed for about 10 minutes — and left 10 pesos on the mouse-pad when I was done. How can anyone 'not' love Acapulco — and its people? Much as I love the U.S. of A., I'm not so sure I'd get that kind of treatment while vacationing here at home.

We wrapped up the day by 6:00ish, after more sunning and more swimming in the bay — waterlogged (LOL), but very rested and quite content. It had been worth the ride, for sure. I think our tab came to about 650 pesos +/- (if I'm remembering right), and we left a well-deserved tip. I thought we'd catch one of those rickety ol' buses back to town (as we've done in the past), but Andres told me that they rarely service PM anymore — and he offered to hail a 'colectivo' cab, which would get us back to the boulevard (at the PM turn-off). No problem. Two minutes and we were on our way; the cost was 10 pesos apiece. Got off at the main road, crossed the street, and hopped an a/c bus headed back to town. It was effortless.

What a great day! We really would have liked to get there again, but didn't. As many, here, know — Puerto Marques has its own character and flavor. Every part of the city is different. It doesn't compare to PDLC, and some don't like it at all; but as Andres said to me, they're doing their best to make some noticeable changes at PM — to clean things up and make it a bit more attractive, with Blue Water leading the way. We wish them every success.

BTW: Blue Water is doing some remodeling. They were in the process (when we were there) of finishing off an upper-floor, the roof-top area above the restaurant — where they intend to have additional dining and perhaps some live entertainment. Andres didn't mention any 'projected completion date', but I'm sure it'll get finished 'eventually'. ;o)

Thanks for the recommendation, Charlie. Who found this place, anyway

More to follow, when I get the chance.

Edited: 2:33 pm, February 10, 2013
Louisiana
posts: 1,914
reviews: 14
11. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Ron, thanks for the great report. Sounds like it was a very nice day out there, I haven't been to Blue Water yet. Puerto Marquez is unique and a great place to go for a swim. The air seems a bit hotter and the sun a bit more intense there, probably because of the hills preventing some of the ocean breeze?

Connecticut
posts: 8,809
12. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Yes, it does seem to be 'hotter than normal' out there, but I can deal with that. :O)

Funny thing about Puerto Marques — is that, like anyplace else in Greater Acapulco, it has a certain charm of its own. It's still sort of dumpy (if that's the right word), and I know that there are travelers as well as 'locals' who avoid going there; but it sort of grows on you. Friends of ours (now deceased) went there once — and never again. I remember, before our first trip to ACA, that they 'warned us' to stay away from PM; but I ignored their advice. Maybe it's the Puerto Marques people. I've never felt bothered or put off by anyone. IMO, most are very humble and gracious — and appreciative. Even the beach vendors 'seem to be' different than those in the main-bay area; IMO, they're not pushy or antagonistic — just tryin' to make a living. Best of all, as many have said, is that the bay is so swimmable and enjoyable. Maybe we'll go back next weekend ;o/ (Still waiting for our street to be plowed. The National Guard arrived in town last night with heavy-duty equipment — to help dig us out. Our snowplows keep getting stuck in the snow. LOL.)

Connecticut
posts: 8,809
13. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

A Few 'Restaurant' Notes …

> Flor

We've been frequenting this little local place for the last several trips, and last month was no exception. We stopped in for a mid-afternoon bite to eat. I don't know if it has changed hands (?), or just different family members running it. Maybe my memory's slipping, but I don't recall seeing the same faces this time. I think I mentioned this to Acasun when we spoke, but she hadn't heard that anything's changed there. They did modify the name of the place (La Flor de La Puerto, or something like that), and they do have new signage on the building (since we were last there). Who knows …

I'm not sure, now, but I think I ordered an enchilada dish — and I specifically asked for 'frijoles negros'. IMO, this place has always had the best black beans in the city; but to my surprise, they said that they no longer serve them (just refried beans). Anyway, my lunch was 'okay'; but Val ordered a carne asada, and it was tough (actually she didn't eat much of it at all). She also ordered a 'té helado'; and when they asked 'what size?' she said 'large'. "¿Grande, Señora?". "Si". Well, their version of 'grande' was a whole pitcher of iced tea — LOL. I just smiled.

All in all, I wasn't as happy with Flor as I've been in the past. Not to say that we wouldn't give it another shot (and maybe try other dishes). Their arrachera has always outstanding; but we didn't have any this trip. I can say that the place was busy, though — with several tables occupied. And for whatever reason, it's 'the lunch spot' for all the policia vial and policia turisticas. They kept coming in 3 and 4 at a time — must have been close to 2 dozen of them, all having lunch at the same time. They must have a special dining room way in the back somwhere, because that's where they all disappeared to; and then we saw a waitress headed back there with a huge tray of soup bowls. Just a 'very different' sight. No problema.

> Pesca'o (in Costa Azul)

Really wanted to try this place, and did stop in. We were just walking around the area, exploring, and decided to grab some lunch. It's a small restaurant, but they were fairly busy. Plenty of table waiters. Very pleasant and welcoming — including the owner, who makes it a point to interact with his customers. As I said, we were just lookin' for some light fare; but (IMO) most of the menu items were 'dinners', and pricey for what we'd normally spend on lunch. I didn't want to walk out — so we ordered a couple of cold beverages and I opted to get a tostada camarones, and Val just wanted a dish of rice. They do put some totopos with a few salsas on the table for your enjoyment, gratis. Anyway — we weren't there for any length of time; but I have to say that the tostada camarones was 'sabrosa'. The only criticism — no a/c. It's an open-front eatery (like Tortuga), and I think they had a few ceiling-fans, but sitting there at the table (mid-afternoon) we were sweating. I wouldn't cross this one off our list, just wouldn't go for lunch again.

> El Cabrito (original location)

What can I say — we like this one; always have. El Cabrito is very consistent. We ended up there twice, for dinner; and the food is always very good (one of the best mole sauces in town). The frozen margaritas and piña coladas are excellent, too. We always sit outside in the front-patio area — and love to watch whatever's going on along the Costera. Can't remember everything we had; but one time, I did have the 'enchiladas pollo con mole' (my usual); and, at my request, they always serve the mole sauce 'separado' (I like to spoon it over each bite as I eat). We had the 'queso fundido' with camarones, as an appetizer one time; and I do recall that Val ordered their 'fresh fruit platter' once — which was h-u-g-e and very fresh (well worth the money). As for staff and service — we've never had any issue. First visit, our waiter (who's been there quite some time) was very professional, friendly, and polite; and there's a guy (I think he's 'family', maybe the manager/host/owner) who's always VERY welcoming and conversational. On our second visit, we got stuck with the gal who (IMO) could use a lesson or two in hospitality. I think she's 'family', too — but definitely has an attitude problem, or some serious PMS. She did seem to get along well with the Mexicano patrons; but for whatever reason, she isn't as 'warm' with gringos. Simple requests seem to irritate her — another drink, por favor; extra napkins; whatever. All in all, El Cabrito will likely stay on our list for a long time. Looking up at their sign, I noticed that they're celebrating their 50th anniversary this year (1963-2013). Had some good conversation with the host, and he told me that they'd been in the same location, there, for 40 years. (I think he said the used to be further down toward Papagayo, before that.) Cheers. They're obviously doing something right; and their prices are always more-than-reasonable.

More later …

Edited: 11:01 am, February 11, 2013
Floral Park, New...
Destination Expert
for Acapulco
posts: 6,099
reviews: 115
14. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Ron

Nice reviews. I felt the same way about Cabrito in either 2010 or 11 that we were being ignored. It was the only time I had felt that way so I blew it off but I was pretty steamed at the time.

Those enchiladas are terrific that's always my dish.

Connecticut
posts: 8,809
15. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

A Few 'Restaurant' Notes (continued) …

> Forza Italia

Forza has never disappointed us; and we went twice. Always the same faces; same set-up; same menu; and 'Franco', of course. Though I wouldn't say that Forza's the best Italian restaurant we've ever been to, it offers some of the best Italian fare in the main-bay area (IMO). We noticed that the prices have gone up a bit since we were last there; but comparatively speaking, it's reasonable 'for what you get'. On most of my past visits to this restaurant, I've ordered the Fetuccine Carbonara; and that's what I stuck with last month (both times) — about $10US, if I'm remembering right. Again, I also enjoyed their Ensalada Caprese both times — fresh tomato slices topped with fresh mozarella, capers, a few olives, and some basil — to which I add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and some freshly-grated parmesan. [I had the same salad at Carmenere and, IMO, Franco's is much better.] I can't recall offhand what Val ordered on our first visit; but on the second, I know that she opted to try one of their pizzas. She was craving a pepperoni pie; but, in all the times we've eaten there, it was the first (and only) diappointment. Pizza preferences, as we all know, are somewhat 'personal' — even here in the States. There are countless versions; but unfortunately, Forza's pizza just didn't cut it. We know, now, to wait until we get to Vayma for that. All in all, though — no complaints. Service was excellent; our food arrived in a timely manner; it was very relaxing; and it's only a short walk from our hotel. The place wasn't 'full' on either night; but business was steady. We'll be back.

> Carmenere

Carmenere wasn't on my short list for this trip; but after mulling it over, we decided to give it a shot one night. Our friend, Angelo, had arrived from Italy during the second week of our stay — though we didn't know if he was still vacationing in Acapulco. He's been there every January; so we weren't surprised when he appeared at the pool one morning. A number of years ago, we had pointed him to Forza Italia — and I think he's dined there every other night since. Anyway, after some conversation at the pool one day, we made plans to do dinner at Carmenere. Hopped a bus and we were there in no time at all. We started off with a glass of wine; and on a recommendation from the people sitting at the next table, we asked for an order of the fried calamari (to share / 'just to try it'). Honest 'opinion': it was 'okay', but nothing to write home about. All three of us thought the same thing — flavor was good, but the calamari was way too chewy/rubbery. We've had much better than that, elsewhere. For dinner, Angelo and I ordered the filet mignon while Val opted for the chicken parm. All three dinners were 'very good'. Nice presentation and 'adequate' portions — but again, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. Not sure what I was expecting, but nothing moved me enough to say 'WoW! This place is great!". The filet, I felt, was comparable to what you'd get at a similar type restaurant in Acapulco; but the cost was more reasonable (just under $200MXN, I believe). Angelo, on the other hand, didn't care for it all that much, and had some difficulty with chewing it (although I think it may have been a dentures issue, for him). As I mentioned in my Forza comments above, I also had a Caprese Salad (here) — which, sorry to say, didn't impress me at all. After dinner, we chose to 'sample' their tiramisu for dessert: one order, three spoons. We were all fairly content, but wanted to feel that we tried a little bit of everything. It was their own version; and I felt that they did a nice job with it. Very good. The tab (for three) came to somewhere between $900-$950; we left them $1100 total. Cost-wise, not bad at all (but we didn't drink all that much — maybe 4 wines, a soda, and 3 coffees). The owner, IMO, was very welcoming and friendly; and the waiters were as professional and attentive as one would expect in a restaurant like this. Actually, it wasn't very busy that night, and there were 'too many' waiters on hand. We got that 'hovering' feeling, which neither of us cares for — where you feel like they're watching-&-waiting for you to take your last bite, so that they can scoop up the empty plate. It's not a super-fancy 'Scenic Highway' style restaurant; but I'd say it's comparable to a place like Linda Vista (without the view). We should probably give it another shot someday (and we may); but our own 'comfort zone' has changed over the years — and the type of restaurant we most enjoy is much more 'casual' than Carmenere (places like Tortuga or Forza or El Cabrito). To each his own; but I'm glad we tried it. [I miss Terra Luna.]

> Tallerines (in Costa Azul)

First off, we never got around to having dinner here; but I wanted to insert a few brief comments about this place. While walking around in Costa Azul, we found ourselves on Cristobal Colon and decided to look for this restaurant. It's easy to find — just a short distance up from the glorieta, on the lefthand side of the street, in a small plaza (Plaza Caracol). There's not much signage, so you do have to be on the lookout for it — and Val's the one who spotted it. So we stopped in for a few minutes; it was sometime early in the afternoon; and the owner greeted us at the door. Nice guy — and very conversational. I told him that we weren't there to eat (just then); so he invited us to sit and look over his menu, to see what Tallarines was all about. In addition to a variety of pizzas, Tallarines offers a number of homemade pasta entrees — which the man appeared to be proud of. Everything's from scratch, he said. The only thing, if I'm remembering correctly, is that he only serves 'one' type of pasta — and I'm thinking it was a noodle (maybe fettucine?) — as opposed to having three or four choices. But the dinners, themselves, are varied. Prices are very affordable, and he gave us a menu to take with us; but back at the hotel, we handed it off to our friend, Angelo, and we never did get the chance to go back for dinner. For the record, it's a VERY small place — maybe six or eight tables (?); but they do have a/c. I think it's one of SJC's favorites. We'll keep it on our list for 'next time'.

> Raquel's (at the zócalo)

What can be said about this place? It's a great little spot, but I wish it were closer to where we stay. We'd never been there before; and it became our go-to spot when meeting up with Snork. I'd walked by it many-a-time in the past, but never stopped; and we're glad to have had a chance to try someplace new. It's nothing more than a hole-in-the-wall eatery off the zócalo, but a rather 'special' hole-in-the-wall at that. We found it to be one of those friendly, familiar places where you go to sit outside at one of the dozen or so tables on a wide walkway — to enjoy VERY inexpensive breakfast-, lunch-, or dinner-fare, or just a cup o' coffee or a cold beverage, and some casual conversation. Raquel's definitely has its own following (quite a few from here at the forum) — and we took a liking to it right away. We ended up there four or five times (I think we had breakfast three times) and I'd say that the food and the service was right-on-the-money. Of course, we'd sit down and look around — and Val would say to me 'same people every day'. LOL. That's part of its charm. And it's apparent that everyone knows everyone there, many of whom are longtime visitors to Acapulco — or local snowbirds — and then you see some of those same faces later in the day at La Cabaña. Thanks, Snork; I'm glad you suggested this place as our meeting-spot — and also glad to have had the chance to meet Sylvester and Elsie. We really wanted to get back there for dinner one night, but we never did. Still have to try some of their German food — and their ribs. It's at the top of our list for 'next trip'. My kind of place …

Las Vegas, Nevada
posts: 412
reviews: 92
16. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Great report I really wanted to check this place out it will be top of the list next time

Ontario
posts: 3,255
reviews: 9
17. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Things were disrupted there in February, Paul. Should return to "normal" when the construction subsides...and the demonstrations? :)

Acapulco
posts: 2,011
reviews: 5
18. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Paul, it is an amazing place and definately should not be missed. As Ron said, the food is excellent and the prices are astoundingly cheap for what you get. Service is great and everyone is friendly, a very comfortable place.

Las Vegas, Nevada
posts: 412
reviews: 92
19. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

The food in all of Acapulco is allot cheaper than Playa del Carmen, PV, or Ixtapa and much better selections of restaurants there was over 40 with in walking distance of the FA this is a very good destination for food

Floral Park, New...
Destination Expert
for Acapulco
posts: 6,099
reviews: 115
20. Re: A Few Miscellaneous Trip Notes …

Takes years to get to them all too. I've tried to do 1-2 new every year but didn't succeed this year.

Wish I got to Prime this year. Will get it out of the way quick next time.