He bought a ticket and showed up for a long weekend that he tacked onto the end of a business trip. I decided to dock at the infamous gator-slide marina to pick him up from the airport and we spent the first day in the lap of luxury, enjoying tropical drinks and lounging around the pool. We hadn't seen each other since graduation, so it was great to catch up and hear about what he had been doing. It's sad how easy it is to fall out of touch with friends as the years march by.
We wandered around town for a couple of hours and decided to pick up a roadside roasted chicken to complement the collection of ice cold beers we had on the boat. This, naturally put us into a coma until that evening.
John had to fly out the following day, and my brother was slated to arrive that morning, so we hopped on a bus for the airport and met up with Porter just as he popped out of customs. John hadn't gotten to explore downtown Puerto Vallarta yet, so we decided to boogie down there for breakfast. During our perambulations, we ran across a street taco stand that was emanating the delicious smell of barbecued goat and we had to stop for a few tacos. They were absolutely scrumptious and just the right thing to cut the edge off of our hunger.
Port and I hopped on a bus and, despite our best intentions, slowly started winding up into the hills in the wrong direction. We eventually got off after a couple miles of misdirection, and caught another bus back down towards La Cruz. When we finally got back out to the anchorage, both Porter and I were fired up for a few friendly rounds of cribbage, and I don't know if Porter was too drunk to operate effectively or what, but I trounced him with a tremendous skunking. His wretched game-play was embarrassing for the both of us.
Eventually we got our laundry, a final bag of ice, and a final case of beer and decided to set sail southward. Porter picked this moment to reveal a present he had bought for me. Its called a capsac - which is, of course, a fanny pack, in the form of a visor, that you wear on your head. With a brave salute to the citizens of La Cruz, we pulled anchor and started the overnight sail towards Perula.
After such a stressful morning, we decided to calm our nerves with some micheladas and some very buttery, garlicy, cheesy shrimp. Just what the doctor ordered!
Let me take a second to explain the glorious cut of steak that is arrachera. I was first introduced to this buttery, tender, flavorful cut in the form of tacos in La Paz. I immediately fell in love and I've been ordering it frequently ever since. It isn't a cut that is commonly served or sold in the states and I think its American analog would be the skirt steak. Its common in Mexico as the upscale alternative to Carne Asada which can be pretty much any cut of steak, but is commonly something of a lower quality that gets cut into small pieces and charred on a flat top. Arrachera, by comparison, is always exceptionally juicy, flavorful, and tender. I've never had a plate of arrachera that has let me down.
The arrachera from this french culinary maverick, however, took things to the next level. It was everything I've ever wanted in a steak and more. Not only was the steak superb, but it came with a mixed green salad with homemade dressing, an assortment of rolls with compound butter, and a baked potato smothered in herbed butter sauce. All of this for typical Mexican prices. Porter's relleno (which is a pepper stuffed with cheese) was also quite delectable. Even the atmosphere of the restaurant was super. It wasn't because of the other clientele, however. In fact, there was only one other couple in the place. The proprietor's young son had decided that their family cat might like a swing in the hammock, and was swinging her in big circles while the cat howled bloody murder. The proprietor had been concentrated on the food and the cat's plight had gone unnoticed until the other couple mentioned it to him. He let out a couple of fierce sounding French curses in the direction of his son, and the kid stopped until his dad's back turned again, and then continued with his swinging session.
We spent the next day in a very similar manner, with lots of time by the pool drinking pina coladas, reading our books, and playing cribbage. Porter wanted to catch the pats game, so we took another trip over to Barra to see if we could find a bar that had it on. We managed to find one and were delighted to find that their nachos and arrachera were both first-class. We made it an early night in anticipation of an early departure the next day for Manzanillo.