I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while. Although it’s my 5th time to Puerto Vallarta, it will be Ash’s first and I’m pretty excited about that. It’s weird to me that he’s never been here. How is it that you’ve been to Sri Lanka but never PV? (Or Santa Cruz, for that matter, which he’d never been to until our first road trip 2 years ago.) It’s always fun to see a place through someone else’s eyes for their first time. And we’ve very intentionally “not planned” this trip: outside of dinner reservations at 2 restaurants I wanted to make sure we hit, we’ve got nothing planned for the not-quite 5 days we will be on the ground.
2023 got off to a wild start with a tree on our roof from a storm (which we are still dealing with those effects) and lots of work for both of us in our respective roles. So the timing of this break is perfect, and about the same time I’ve gone in prior years. We started early Friday morning, with a drive to San Franscisco where we would fly out of. I worked all day from our home there, and Ash had lots of stuff to do, as he always does, including getting Zeus connected with friends who are keeping him at their place in Guerneville. We’ve already got pics of him frolicking in the Russian River with new dog friends, so I have a feeling he’s just fine.
Ash suggested I start the blog early and capture some of our San Francisco life so here we are. We went to Eric’s for dinner, our favorite Chinese restaurant. The first time I ate their food was Christmas Day 2020 (to go, of course), our first Christmas together.
And it is very good. I won’t include every dish but this seemed unique enough to talk about: a mango salad which is a little spicy and a lot tangy.
When we are in San Francisco, we have a standing 5:30am coffee date at the Peet’s on Market. Ash has been meeting the same group of guys there every morning for 10 years. When we conclude that ritual, we take the dog for a walk, usually ending up at Dolores Park. We had no dog but still went for the walk, which includes a walk by what’s probably the best-known Safeway in Northern California.
We decided to change our route up a little bit and made our way back up Duboce. While we were walking through the Safeway parking lot, we both commented on how neither one of us really knew the name of the church across the street. In certain circles it’s referred to as “Our Lady of Safeway” and that’s how we know it. (It’s St. Francis Lutheran.)
We had breakfast at a place in Cole Valley that Ash likes (I’d never been), got massages at Noon, and headed to the ballet for which we had 2pm tickets.
LIke opera, I’d never been to a ballet until Ash. This is my 2nd season and I’m enjoying it more than opera. Three of the shows are “festivals” of 3 acts each, each 20-35 minutes long with 20 minute intermissions so they go down easy. And this season they are all new, as the visual above suggests.
The first act was the most classic (with tutus and everything) although the style definitely had modern mixed in. It was probably my favorite. After, we had lunch there – a seafood salad for Ash and chicken cobb for me.
The last act started with a tribute to a principal dancer by the name of Tiit Helimuts. This was his last performance after 18 years with the SF Ballet Company. His ovation at the end was one of the longest and most moving I’ve seen – including all the flowers being thrown on stage.
We had dinner with our friends Greg & Karl at their house and played Cards Against Humanity. I had heard of it but never played before. The sickening laughter was welcome.
Ash took this Sunday morning from our front door as we left to get in the Lyft to the airport.
We ate breakfast at SFO (free because we are Priority Pass members through our Chase card) then walked around the airport a bit. We are both the same in that we don’t mind getting to the airport early just in case we encounter something unexpected. Between Terminals 2 and 3 there is a new art installation that plays tribute to older transgender people. It’s beautiful and worth a stop in the in the neighborhood.
Ash got a beautiful shot of the Gulf of California from the plane. That’s the Baja peninsula at the top.
We had an uneventful flight and made it out of the airport in less than an hour, which is very good for PV. Jon picked us up and we made our way to the condo we found on AirBnb. We are excited about the beautiful weather we should have while we are here.
The last 4 times I came I stayed in Centro, the neighborhood where Jon lives which is just north of Zona Romantica, which is the heart of the city. This year I wanted to stay in ZR and we are in a condo just off of Basilio Badillo if you’re familiar with the area. This is the atribum in the middle of the building.
Other than the lack of windows – there’s just one in the living room – this is a very nice place and we’re pretty happy with it. Ash has already said “we should book it for next year!” Living room above, bedroom below. There’s a 2nd bathroom to the right of the living room, too.
Jon came up to see the place and walked around with us a little bit after. it’s good to have him here: I missed him on last year’s trip because he was in LA having open heart surgery. He’s recovered well as you can see!
There’s a pool on the rooftop.
We changed clothes and went across the street for coffees, and made our way over to Blue Massage to make appointments for Monday. Jon left us at that point, we got cash at an ATM and I wanted Ash to see a bit of the town on our way to dinner. Ash was on a mission to buy a hat, and as we walked towards the beach he passed a guy selling them on the street.
Ash is a relentless haggler and got hats for each of us for the price the guy wanted for just his.
I’ve never been much of a hat person, generally not liking the way they look or feel, although I can see the value in keeping the sun out of my eyes. What do you think?
We made our way over to Trio, which is in Centro, one of the two reservations we’d made before we left. I neglected to get a photo of the outside, sorry! We were welcomed with fresh warm bread and two whipped butters.
They sat us on the balcony so we enjoyed the great weather.
We shared a lovely calamari dish to start, cooked in a rich, spicy tomato broth.
Ash had an iceberg wedge shrimp salad. I had a beef carpaccio with arugula, parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, each flavor distinct and perfectly balanced.
Ash had yellow fin tuna which was great…
…I had the rabbit, also great, despite Ash’s comments about eating Thumper.
The balcony provided an even cozier ambiance as it got dark.
Although it was still early California time (we are 2 hours ahead here) we were super tired and skipped the walk we’d had planned after dinner. We found an Oxxo on the way back to the condo (not hard since they’re on every other block it seems) and picked up some basics for the condo.
We stopped by the same place across the street where we’d gotten coffees earlier for some dessert to go: tres leches with fresh fruit. As good as it looks.
We’ve got nothing planned today but massages and pedicures at 11:30am. I’m sure we’ll come up with something.