Tulum Part 04 / Tulum Nights

Tulum beach after sunset (2)Well, the first night. I hadn’t made my plans to attend the wedding until it was too late to book a room at the main hotel, where 90% of the guests were staying. I am happy with my choice, a tiny adjacent property on the beach. Well, I chose the cheaper room option that wasn’t quite on the beach; maybe it was 40 feet from the beach. Anyway, I decided to venture out on my own that night, which was not the safe proposition since I don’t typically feel comfortable venturing out on my own. By venturing out, I mean I merely chose to stay at my hotel and go to a wine-tasting that my hotel restaurant was having.

Tulum beach after sunset (4)

This was my first wine-tasting. I think we sampled five or six wines. Honestly, I don’t really care to know about the grapes or the soil. But I can pretend to be interested. The key take-away (oh, man, corporate meeting lingo…take-away? really, Dave?) was that Mexico has some good wine, but doesn’t export much of it to the States. I asked our wine expert why that’s the case, and I got some hazy answer dealing with trade rules. But my mind was a bit hazy by then, so maybe I just didn’t follow. What did we have? Some other kind of blanc besides sauvignon. Chenin blanc? A fumé blanc? I think there was one of each. La Cetto? That’s the winery that made these two. Then there were two or three others wines. It doesn’t matter. All I recall is that every wine I had was obviously better than the $10 bottles of whatever I am used to drinking. And what I remember most, mostly because I took a photo to remember it by, was the last wine, which was the best wine.

Tulum wine-tasting - Monte XanicMonte Xanic Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot 2008. Only 390 pesos according to this website. I paid considerably more to buy a bottle for the table of wedding guest folk I had dinner with after the wine-tasting. (Wine-tastings apparently increase my joviality and generosity.) No need to comment about these wines if you know anything about them. I won’t understand. But I’m buying this wine if I ever see it. There’s another wine from Tulum Night 3 that was also outstanding. That wine, I think I saw at Whole Foods. It’s an Argentine Malbec.

Ah, here’s the foursome who joined me at the wine-tasting. It’s “Claire” and “Nick” from London, and “Jan” and “Trevor” from Brisbane. I’ll use pseudonyms to protect their identities. Screw it. I’ll use their real names. That’s Claire and Nick and Jan and Trevor. (I didn’t say they were good pseudonyms.) And that’s me after some wine. Yeah, I shouldn’t post such pics on the internet. I don’y care. Wine and moon-face. Great. Motivation to look better at my next wine-tasting. Anyway, I spent most of the time talking to Claire, who despite a life of privilege and globetrotting, enjoyed coaching me on all the adventures I ought to go on. It helped that I mentioned having gotten a new kidney. There’s my one and only conversation-starter. So, according to Claire, I MUST go to Rome…and as long as I’m in Europe, I must go to London and Paris and Barcelona. And I must go to Buenos Aire. And Australia. And I hate to admit it, but when Claire and Nick asked if there was anything worthwhile to see in North Carolina, I felt compelled to say, “No, not really”. I mean, c’mon. I know, I’m terrible.

Tulum wine-tasting - Claire and Nick from London and Jan and Trevor from Australia

Actually, what’s terrible is that I pretty much have no pictures of any of my friends, the people I actually know. I’ve got one group shot, and it’s with THESE people. I could post some pics that others took that are up on The Facebook, but then I’d be engaging in bad web etiquette. If you know me on Facebook, I’m tagged. And it’s horrifying, because the pics confirm what I’ve known for a long time, that I have no neck.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been verbose, hasn’t it? Not just verbose, but writing without a net.

Tulum wine-tasting - Clase Azul tequilaOh, and what’s this? The wine guy starting talking about tequila, and he brought out “the best” tequila, or at least one of the best. It can’t be that luxurious, because I got some at the duty-free shop at the Cancun Airport. Anyway, we got a free sample of the Clase Azul. Buy the tequila, and you get the fancy bottle!

And what Tulum night would be complete without a coconut tree bathed in moonlight?

Tulum at night - Coconut tree by moonlight

Chili Powder

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I think I can toss this in the trash. I’ve got a newer bottle. Oh, the Archer Farms one says best by August 2007. Time for new spices, especially if I’ll be trying to cook and all.

Succumbing to local discount fever

On a metablogging note, I’m currently in an uninhibited mood that’s probably fueled by the prednisone. I could post anything that’s on my mind. I mean, normally I would not post about a range. (Sure you would.)

Anyway, as I had gone through my company’s corporate perks site to make my range purchase at homedepot.com (this will probably net me about $15), I decided to check out the local restaurant deals.

Now, I had looked at these before and didn’t fall for the restaurant.com-provided deals of $25 gift certificates for $2. The catch is always something akin to making a minimum purchase of double the gift certificate amount or ordering two entrees. So, for example, you can get a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant for $4, but you have to spend $100, so you’re saving $46 on a $100+ dinner that you probably would never have had otherwise. However, if it’s a restaurant you’ve really wanted to try, it is still a good deal. Also, you’re only investing $2 or $4, so if you decide to never use it, you’re not out a whole lot of coin.

I am fairly certain I have never used the word “coin” in the context that I just did. It’s the prednisone.

Anyway, so I’ve got what are essentially coupons for Tonali (Mexican), The Palace International (African), and Blu (seafood). I know Blu is great. Did I choose wisely with the other two?

Range

I bought a range. I was just thinking, I should buy a range. Went to homedepot.com. Click. Click. Done. No returns.

Well, it didn’t exactly go down like that. I’ve wanted a new range ever since I moved in here, since the crusty, old one has been, well, crusty and old. It doesn’t self-clean. I myself don’t clean. The heating elements keep breaking, miraculously healing themselves, but then taking forever to get going, nonetheless. I suppose the crusty, old range is a metaphor, and, thus, it needs to go.

Yeah, but you don’t cook.

Point taken.

I also bought a bike, and I don’t exercise.

And, over the summer (Things I Did On My Summer Vacation #?), I bought a NOOK, and I don’t read.

And, maybe, someday, I’ll do more than just aspire to read more, exercise more, and cook more.

As for the range, I did go a little overboard. Do I really need five burners? Well, hell, yeah, if I’m going to throw that big party and cook for 20 people like I’m always talking about doing.

When have you been talking about doing that?

Well, never.

Tipping point at the Broad Street Whole Foods

Everyday, some manager at the Broad Street Whole Foods in Durham must ask, “How many more displays can we add, and how much can we expand the endcaps today?”

You cannot walk from Point A to Point B without bumping into something or someone.

I remember, years ago, you’d walk into Whole Foods and smell flowers and other pleasant aromas. It was a relaxing experience to shop at Whole Foods, even the small Broad Street location.

Now, it’s like a crowded subway station. You can’t stop anywhere. You’ll hear “excuse me” non-stop. The shopping experience, from beginning to end, is one of constant stress.

If you want some pasta salad from the salad bar, good luck…

I wish there was a convenient alternative. I can’t say I’m going to boycott the store. But I’d certainly buy more there if I weren’t constantly trying to get exactly what I came for and get the hell out of there. And then there have been plenty of times when I have walked in, seen the madness, and walked right out.

It’s clear I’m in the minority here, because business appears to be booming. I don’t know how people can stand it.

P.S. – And now they’ve got the Thanksgiving order table, too, just smack in the middle of everything.

Toastie Crockpot Surprise #6

After an 11-month hiatus, I shall be using my Crock-Pot® again in the morning, for what I believe will be the sixth time in just over two years.

I have no idea what I’m going to attempt.

Past attempts:

#1, November 2006. Some variation on German potato salad that turned out quite well. I was pleasantly surprised with my ability to make something edible.

#2, January 2007. Mahi Mahi chowder. While it made a mess in my car, it was tasty.

#3, February 2007. Queso dip? I don’t remember.

#4, May 2007. Some sort of chicken with way too much vinegar and garlic. I think it was a variation on a Filipino recipe. It was actually ok, but I felt sick afterwards.

#5, January 2008. A variation on a Tuscan bean soup or stew. I made it for people who are true foodies, and they genuinely liked it, so I must have done something right.

So I almost never cook…and I when I cook for myself, I make some horrible things. But if I’m cooking for someone else, I somehow manage.

Simply The Best Beverage Ever

Simply Limeade
slade.jpg

Well, perhaps it’s not so great, as its utter refreshing wonderfulness compels me to consume all 59 ounces within 12 hours after purchase, which makes it quite horrific for its caloric implications.

Moderation is impossible with this stuff. Once I start gulping it down, I can’t stop.

One unfortunate fact I have learned in hunting for an image…Simply is a Coca-Cola brand. Oh, well, I suppose that would explain why Simply juice products are ubiquitous, from Target to Whole Foods and all supermarkets in between.