Back Home

Four nights is too short a visit.  We’re back home, and tomorrow we both return to work.  Trip home departed right on time and arrived back in Winnipeg a few minutes early.

We would definitely stay at the Hilton in Puerto Vallarta again.  We liked the small size and friendly service, and it was nice having the same Hilton touches as at home, especially the nice soft mattress.  Many Mexican hotels seem to mistake hardness for quality, and I’ve spent weeks with hips aching from beds as hard as balsa wood.

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We never did find out where the house wine actually came from; the label only revealed that it was imported by a company based near Cancun.  I should add that we finally got around to tasting the Merlot and found it foxy and harsh.  The Shiraz and the Cabernet were better. Not award-winning better, or Robert Parker better, but drinkable.

Some other thoughts on the hotel. I thought the selection and quality of food at the Seafire, the buffet restaurant, was fine.  However, it was not busy at night, whereas La Delice, the French a la carte dining room was always pretty full.  We never got around to eating there, so I cannot say if the popularity is justified.  I used to hate buffets, but now that I am paying close attention to my diet, and particularly my carb intake, buffets work well for me.  The Seafire always had good Mexican items and good fish.  Perhaps the people that chose other places to eat were looking more for meat and potatoes, pasta or pizza type meals.  On ‘International Night’ I was disappointed in the Beef Wellington (this dish should never be kept warm on a buffet line) but delighted by the pork tenderloin in berry sauce.  The salad bar always had a dependable array of basics, plus one or two original dishes each meal.  Examples of the latter were a mustard-tinged potato salad one night and a salad of apples, bananas and walnut pieces (not positive they were walnuts) another.

Breakfast was good.  I favored Mexican dishes such as chilaquiles and sopes, but there was always at least one omelet of the day ready-made in addition to the short-order cook who would do one to order for you. Good selection of fruits, no diet yogurt. Caroline said the pancakes were rubbery.  That’s probably another dish that doesn’t tend to do well on a steam table. My biggest grumble at breakfast was that the coffee, although delicious, was seldom hot; sometimes it was very warm, sometimes it wasn’t.

The Seafire also served lunch, but we only ate that meal there a couple of times. We favored Mexican choices such as beef with nopales.  Once we went downtown for a nostalgic visit to Cafe de Olla, and once we had a burger craving and went to the beachfront cafe. Burgers were good, brick oven pizza looked great, nachos were pathetic.

There is a sushi bar (O’West) at the rooftop pool.  Caroline thought the sushi too vinegary, I was repelled by the number of smokers. Smoking in restaurants seems so last century now.  We did most of our snacking at the Seafire.  We enjoyed the service, especially from Viktor in the mornings, and Mario and Emerson in the evenings.  Luis was new to his job, still in his first week, so he will probably grow into it by next winter. Maybe we’ll see him then, we’d like to go back.

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