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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

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We stayed at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach and Golf Resort (Carretera Transoeninsular, K.M. 19.5, San Jose del Caboo.

IMG_2300The hotel was a great location, in between the two towns, San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. When you get out of the terminal, and I use that word loosely, you can grab a beer for your cab ride to the hotel, but be aware that they are super expensive. Also, just head straight though to the van area outside the airport, many people inside will try to stop and talk to you – offer you deals if you book your cab and a site seeing tour…and even when you’ve said no, another person tries to sell you the same thing, just different site. They tell you that you can take a communal taxi for about $26 one way, or you can take a private one for about $50-60. All the cabs here are vans, so if you aren’t in a rush, save your money, Cabo is expensive. On the way from the airport to the hotel, there is one main highway…when going to dinner some nights, there would be detours and we would have to drive on dirt roads – so some things are built up and others are not.

IMG_2299We had to take connecting flights, Chicago on the way there and Dallas on the way back. The way there, the connection wasn’t an issue. On the way back however, we had to pass through customs in Dallas, which took a long time, and we barely made it to our next flight. Had we not been sitting in the front of the plane, I’m not sure we would have made the connection.

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The hotel was beautiful, really picturesque. Above is the breakfast patio.

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They had a very nice pool area, with palm trees and umbrellas, so there was plenty of shade if you wanted it. What was a little odd was that there were chairs in weird places, like the walkways and near trash cans….I get that they are trying to fit as many chairs in as possible, but seriously, who wants to sit next to the trash can?

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From the terrace, you can look out over the infinity pool to the ocean.

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There weren’t a lot of people out on the beach. The waves were rough and swimming would have been difficult for children or the novice swimmer. The hotel warns you about the people trying to sell you things on the beach. These people aren’t allowed to come up to the hotel area, so they lie in  wait on the beach. They offer souveniers, jewelry, and occasionally drugs.

IMG_5135I love hotels that have cute do not disturb signs.

IMG_5134The bathroom.

IMG_5133Really spacious with a shower and a separate spa tub.

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They did have bottles of water, and we did get the antibiotics from our doctors office before we came, but there really wasn’t a need for them. The hotel had its own filtration system for the water supply. And here’s the thing, you can be all fussy about brushing your teeth with bottled water, but then don’t go down to the pool and order a soda with ice or a blended drink…

IMG_5131The spa tub.

IMG_5130The view from our balcony was some dirt and the hotel next door.

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The room was spacious, with two queen beds that were pretty comfortable.

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As a Hilton member, they left us this cute welcome amenity in our room.

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We left Boston at an early hour in the morning and didn’t eat a thing, so we were starved when we arrived at the hotel. We headed over to the pool and stopped at the pool restaurant for a late lunch/snack. Madero offers authentic Mexican tacos.

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The shrimp tacos were delicious.

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We also ordered the barbacoa tacos as well with fresh pineapple.

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This was one of the passageways near our room – it just looked neat.

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Loved the architecture of the hotel.

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The hotel has a sea turtle protection program from July to November, where they patrol a 3.5 mile stretch of beach daily, looking for Olive Ridley sea turtle nests. They collect the eggs and bring them to a safe fenced off area at the hotel. Leave your name and your email/phone number with the concierge and they will contact you early evening if there will be a release that night. We were lucky enough to do one on our first day here. They  have all these little baby sea turtles in a box, ready for release, everyone has a chance to release one.

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They are pretty amazing, and wriggly little fellas, flapping ever which way trying to get out of your hand and into the ocean!

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My co-worker had suggester going to The Office on our first night (ironic). A casual bar that is on the beach, you kick off your shoes and enjoy a fun, casual night out. There is live music and entertainment all around. The cab ride there was about $50 there and back – and was about 10 minutes. As I mentioned earlier, all the taxis are vans, and there are no meters.

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Chicken enchiladas! YUMMMM!

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We ordered the chicken fajita which was tasty, and those are black beans in the tortilla shell.

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Chips, salsa and guacamole, how can you not? They had vendors at the restaurant as well, waiting outside the fenced area to sell you their goods.IMG_5167

When in Mexico right? Had a HUGE margarita, but boy was it good! The service was so so, par for the course for a casual eatery I guess – either way, it was nice to just hang out and not be rushed out. While the dinner was light and casual, the price was a little expensive – for all of the above, $85 including tip.

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As a Hilton member, you are entitled to a complimentary continental breakfast. They also have a hot buffet available, but we find that we are never that hungry for breakfast. They have a wonderful assortment of juices, both run of the mill and exotic. Ask to be seated around the edges of the restaurant to look over the infinity pool while you eat. Continental breakfast includes fruit, cereal, pastries, juice and yogurt – basically everything but the hot food. The breakfast was very tasty, the pastries change daily so you never feel like you’re having the same thing every day.

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We only went for a few days, and the purpose of this vacation was mainly to just veg out and sit by the pool….which is exactly what we ended up doing. There was a sales trip from the mid west at our hotel…a vendor took it’s salespeople and top customers on a free vacation, so the hotel was at capacity. We decided to have lunch at our pool chairs – pizza

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The weather was warm, in the 70’s, but you never felt like you were baking in the sun. In fact, it wasn’t really warm enough for me…I know, I know…

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One guys from the hotel walks around at around 4pm with house made fruit popsicles daily. Two flavors a day, every day the flavors rotate.

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For dinner we took the suggestion of my co-worker to go to Cocina del Mar at the Esperanza resort (reservations can be made at opentable.com). Again, expensive cab ride, about $50. We noticed that the resorts with the longer driveways were the more exclusive ones. At every hotel however, they have gates that you have to check in at.

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The resort was amazing to say the least. You pull up to a beautiful outdoor lobby, lit with candles, with staff members waiting to assist you. The wonderful thing is that it feels exclusive, and private, because you don’t see a guest in sight.

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We realize when we arrived, that we should have come at sunset, it would have been amazing. The restaurant is up on a brick wall cliff, overlooking the ocean and the beach, which-even in the dim light, looks like something out of a magazine.

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The guide you by flashlight to your table, and seat you as far as possible from other guests for maximum privacy. We could barely see the other guests, and we only noticed them when we saw the LED menu light up.

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We started with a lovely amuse bouche from the kitchen – creamy soup with a crouton presented in a shot glass.

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We started with the lobster medallion appetizer. The lobster was fresh, and while it wasn’t as sweet at lobster from New England, it was delicious none the less.

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We also had the seafood tortilla soup – lobster, clams, shrimp and scallop with crispy tortilla strips on top Such a simple and yet beautiful presentation. I apologize about the grainy nature of the photos, but I was literally taking them in the dark!

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For dinner, the steak with a dallop of sweet potato. The meat was cooked to perfection with a nice crust on the outside and the potatoes were creamy and delicious. There were a lot of bold flavors on the plate and they all married wonderfully.

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The seafood risotto with a parmesan crisp topped with medallions of lobster. The risotto was creamy and so flavorful, and top that with lobster and you have THE most decadent meal.

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I can’t recall the prices, but all in all, the bill came to about $170 USD, including tip. They do charge you in pesos though, so keep that in mind.

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We came back to our room to find this fun critter on our bed!

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Breakfast again at El Mason, they do have inside seating as well – I suggest getting there by about 8am if the hotel is at capacity, because the tables fill up quickly.

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We had booked a trip through our concierge to go on a snorkling trip. We had the printout to meet at the docks downtown at 9:30 outside Senor Frogs. When we arrive at 9:00, there is no one there…workers are setting up shop, but no tourists are there. 9:20 comes, still no one. At 9:25 we ask someone and they said just wait and the Cabo Rey people will come and get us. Meanwhile, 9:30 rolls around and no one seems to know anything. This (nice) guy comes along and tells us that sometimes they just cancel the trip without telling anyone because they take the boat out on private tours for the cruise ships. Thank goodness we didn’t pay ahead of time. The trip would have cost $49 each! Why the word nice is in parentheses above is because he was nice, but he was hustling us. He said that his friend had a boat, and he could take us out to see the arch – he could leave any time! Yeah…right. Well first he said $50 per person and while trying to put him off, suddenly he came down to $25 per person. We were there anyway, and we wanted to see the arch, so we agree for him to take us out on his little “glass bottom” motor boat, which really feels more like a row boat.

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The color of the water is amazing. And it is so clear! Which is why a glass bottom boat isn’t a big draw. You can look over the side and see some of the amazing fish. So he taxis us out to the arch, we see sea lions and lots of pelicans. He offers to drop us off on lovers beach and “come back for us in an hour”. We are thinking to ourselves that while the beach is nice…we didn’t think so!

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So we were out for about 20 or so minutes, we came to see what we wanted to see, so it was worth the rip off price of $20 per person (we bargained further).

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For dinner we took yet another suggestion from my coworker and ate at Agua, at the One and Only Resort. We had been to a One and Only resort when we were in the Bahamas, so we knew that  it would be a great dinner. When we arrived at the lobby of the hotel, we were taken by golf cart to the restaurant. We only saw one couple walking the grounds on our ride, and when we saw them, they immediately turned off the headlight so we didn’t disturb them.

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We arrive at dinner and my clutch is given its own stand! The ambiance was lovely. It was quiet, romantic, and there weren’t many other guests there. The only complaint I think I would have is that the people sitting at the table near us were smoking…and we are talking a half of pack chain smoking before appetizers, not just one or two.

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The service was excellent, very attentive and very knowledgeable. We had a lovely bread basket, with hummus and a red pepper spread.

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I started with the lobster and corn bisque. The lobster and corn were on the plate, and they poured the bisque over it table side. Really excellent flavor, creamy and delicious.

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We ordered the tuna steak, grilled medium.

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And the fettuccine, with roasted Italian sausage and a tomato basil sauce. The pasta was good, there wasn’t anything wrong with it per se, but it just didn’t overwhelm me.

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I ordered the apple crostada which was delicious. The apples were cooked but still on the firm side, and the crumbles on top gave the dessert just enough texture.

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But the highlight of the night was the butter cake. I’m pretty sure that upon first bite I died and went to heaven, that’s how good the cake was. It was melt in your mouth, sweet but not too sweet, buttery deliciousness. I could have ordered 5 of these!

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And just when we thought that we couldn’t stuff another bite in, the complimentary sweets arrive. Truffles, macarons, and cake pops. They were delicious. All in all, $190 for dinner, service included. A hefty price tag, but worth the experience and ambiance.

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And just a look at the restaurant on the way out.

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And when we returned to our hotel, another towel friend on the bed!

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Another light breakfast and then we were off to have an adventure!

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We decided to go on a camel ride! For $99 a person, you too can ride a camel with Cabo Adventures.. And since we weren’t going to be in the middle east any time soon, we decided, why not? You come to a camp where you take a nature walk – it is best if you have sneakers rather than flip flops. There are tons of cacti, lots of spiders – and they don’t want to break their webs so you have to crawl under and around the webs.

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Cabo Adventures picks you up at your hotel and brings you downtown to the office (which is also the dolphin center). The take you on a ride in one of their yellow vehicles to a basecamp. Then you take  the walk to the beach where you meet the camels and are paired up. You take a stroll along the water for about 15-20 minutes on the camel while the guide walks next to you holding the harness.

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They have a photographer there in case you forget your camera. At the end they charge you $50 for a full cd of photos and you can choose 2 photos to be printed. You think it’s a rip off, but its hard to turn and twist while taking a ride on top o f the camel to take your own photos. You felt much more secure than if you were just riding a horse. Afterwards they bring you into the shady place and let you drink some green tea. The guy in the white outfit was actually from Boston, he was telling us that year ago, he and his ex lived on Bay State Road. Small world.

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This isn’t us, but one of the other couples that we had on our group. Pretty cool looking huh?

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After we rode camels for about 20 minutes, and had tea, we were brought over to have lunch. A clearing that had lots of agave plants.

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A woman was there making us an authentic Mexican lunch, beans, rice with carrots, corn and cheese, chicken mole.

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She was hand pressing the tortillas in a little press and then heating them up on the large black stone. Probably one of the tastiest meals we have had.

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We should have taken a fourth recommendation from my co worker but we went this last dinner alone.  I went on Opentable.com and found us Sunset Da Mona Lisa. The food sounded good and the restaurant looked nice on the website. Our cabdriver was taking us down these long windy dark roads where I was pretty sure he was going to stop and chop us up into small bits after pulling us our of his van that had tinted windows and blinds on the inside….it was just that freaky of a ride. So after we pass by an abandoned office park, we finally arrive at our destination. There is a bus that has a stop right outside the hotel, that is about $2. They don’t have a schedule when the bus comes, and they just pack people on when you don’t think another person could possibly fit. It’s just me, but on the way home, I wouldn’t want to be standing alone on the side of  a dark road in a foreign  country waiting for the bus (I’m pretty sure I just sounded like mu mother right there).

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This also would have been a nice place to eat at at sunset. The tables are staggered and they have extra blankets for the ladies in case it gets cool, which on most nights it does.

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We start with an amuse bouche that they call bruschetta.

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We order the sampler plate ($320)  and are a little disappointed at the portion size. I would have to say that this was our least favorite place to eat while we were here. The food was only so so and the service was about that, so so.

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I order the pasta that comes with those crispy noodles you find in Chinese chicken salads, which I thought made the texture odd.

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For dessert we had a deconstructed tiramisu, the sugar flourish was a little odd, as well as the cookie – but I guess they were going for something less traditional. Dinner was $63, very casual and in some ways a little too touristy. Hey, live and learn.

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One last breakfast before we go. We wanted to get to the airport about an hour ahead of our scheduled departure.

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Little do we know when we get there that we would LITERALLY be the only ones there. Good news is security was a breeze. They have some nice shops in the airport terminal – jewelry, souvenirs, and some other fun stuff. Since we are stopping in Dallas on the way home, no duty free booze coming home with us 😦 While we were waiting for our plane there were people coming around the airport doing surveys about the airport – which you should avoid doing, it’s long.

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And that’s it, our vacation had come to a close. Back to reality. Good trip, relaxing, but I think we both agree there are warm places that are closer to the East Coast.

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