There’s a chilly north wind blowing right now making it much more comfy to be down below than out and about so this seemed like an excellent day to get the blog brought up to date. The prediction is that the wind will continue to blow and actually increase in strength until it reaches the 20-25 knot range on Monday and Tuesday so the next few days will probably be more about reading and eating than doing any kind of boat work or touring around town.
Motor mount update: I think the last time I wrote about the broken motor mount I’d mentioned that I was having a new one built but that it wasn’t ready when originally promised. Well, I waited until after the weekend and went back to Marco’s shop. This time Marco was there but still wasn’t quite finished with the mount.
Once he was done, he gave the mount a quick paint job and here it sits alongside the original.
The new mount is definitely beefier. Marco did a great job. The mount fit perfectly. The whole job cost me $350 pesos or about $27.50 USD. Still haven’t heard back from the Westerbeke dealer so I have no idea how much I saved but I bet it was a bundle considering a can of red spray paint with a Westerbeke part number cost $8.00 four years ago. Thanks Marco.
I installed the motor mount and, after a bunch of struggling and cussing I think I finally got the transmission/propshaft aligned correctly. Had a little mini scare when I went to start the engine. It wouldn’t start. Again. But this time, it didn’t do anything. No click, no crank, no movement on the ammeter. Clearly there was just a wire disconnected somewhere. Sure enough, I found a wire running to the starter that had backed out of its connector, probably due to me laying on it on top of the engine while trying to reach the right-front vibration isolator. Reconnected it and the engine started right up.
Comida: We finally had a couple of evenings when the wind died down enough so that it wasn’t too cold to venture away from the boat. We’d been wanting to visit Rico’s Tacos. It’s an open front taquería just down the road that’s only open in the evenings, starting at about 5:00 PM. But, being open, it would be kind of uncomfortable if it was cold out. We’d heard about Rico’s from Glenn, Anca, and Ava of s/v Ava Skye while we were still in San Carlos. Also, Jay (s/v Wind Raven) had e-mailed us about the best tacos he’s ever eaten which just happened to be at Rico’s. Toby from s/v Pear-D right here in the marina also recommended them highly. What could we do?
On our first visit, I forgot to bring my camera along. Too bad as the puerco al pastor was much fuller the first time and therefore, more photogenic. No more delicious, though.
Pretty sure I’ve written about tacos al pastor before but just in case you missed it, the mass of meat is made up of layer after layer of relatively thin pork “steaks” that have been marinated in a spicy sauce and are then built up on a vertical spit until you have a hunk of meat maybe 15-18″ high by 12″ or so across at the middle. The mound is usually topped off with a pineapple but sometimes, as here, with an onion or two. A cook in La Paz told me the topknot had more to do with tradition than flavor. Anyway, the spitted meat is rotated slowly in front of some sort of vertical burner, in this case a propane burner. As the outside gets done, someone slices the outer layer off and puts it on a tortilla. They use a really tasty picante sauce at Rico’s. This is far and away the best pastor I’ve had so far. What seems to separate it from the rest of the herd is the sauce and the fact that they let it cook enough to get nice little crispy pieces on the ends. I had a couple pieces on one taco that were almost like bacon. SO GOOD! In most of the other taquerías we’ve eaten at, you get basically meat on a tortilla, sometimes with a few grilled vegetables and then you just add various salsas at the table or at a walk-up salsa bar. At Rico’s they dress them up for you. You get a very generous helping of meat on a tortilla along with the picante salsa, some chopped onions and topped off with guacamole. At the table you can add grilled onions and lime and also nosh on cucumber slices and radishes. We each had 3 tacos on the first visit. On our second visit, I had 4 tacos but Lulu opted for a papa rellena (stuffed potato). Although I took a photo of my taco, I’m not going to include it because, frankly, it doesn’t look that appetizing. The tortilla is so overflowing with stuff that it just looks like a mess. I’ll try to get a better photo on our next visit. And, yes, there will be more visits. Here’s a photo of Lulu’s papa rellena with a bite or two missing.
So what is a papa rellena? Well, here at Rico’s (they’re different in different parts of the country) they start with chunked-up baked potatoes which are then topped with corn, cilantro, cheese, probably some crema, chopped onions, and your meat of choice (Lulu chose puerco al pastor, por supuesto*) and then topped off with guacamole. The whole thing is assembled on a piece of foil and then warmed up directly on the griddle. In La Paz, they started with mashed potatoes and also added lots of butter and mushrooms but omitted the guacamole. However, they provided a tray with 3 different salsas as well as grilled and pickled onions so you could customize your spud at the table. So what did these delicacies cost us? The tacos are $15 each (~$1.15USD) and the papa rellena was $70 (~$5.50USD). The first visit we each had 3 tacos and a drink (bottled water, Coca-cola) and the bill came to $112 (~$8.75USD) plus tip. The second visit was $152 (~$11.90USD). Rico’s reaffirmed our belief that the simpler the facility and the lower the prices, the more flavorful the food.
Buzzard palms: We’ve seen a lot of different kinds of palm trees since we’ve been in Mexico but this is the first place that we’ve seen so many buzzard palms. What the heck are buzzard palms you’re probably asking. Well, on our walks down to Rico’s in the evening, long about sunset, we often look up at the palm trees that are near the malecón. And here’s what we see:
See all those black things in the trees? Those are all full-size turkey vultures, each one weighing probably 10 lbs or so.
The more we looked, the more we saw in the trees around the area. Just after sunset, you can watch hundreds of them come flying in to roost. You do not want to walk underneath these trees when the vultures are roosting as a look at the ground around the base of the trees will attest. Matter of fact, the really nice thing about the north winds is that they blow the smell away from the marina. Summertime, with its predominantly south winds along with elevated temperatures, must make the old marina a bit less pleasant to be around.
OK, that should catch you up on the highlights. Hope the wind dies down pretty soon as I can hear Rico’s calling my name. ¡Esteban! ¡Easteban!