Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 12/23/11 (Last Day in Cabo & Flight Home)

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Our stay in Cabo was relaxing and reinvigorating, but I love being back home. I’m excited to start cooking in my own kitchen again — there’s nothing like being stuck with dull knives, teeny-tiny two-burner electric range, and zero seasonings except salt and pepper to make you appreciate your own crap.

Admittedly, I learned that most of my kitchen gadgets are unnecessary to whip up a good meal (but don’t you dare tell Fitbomb). For example, this morning, I stir-fried up all the remaining vegetables we had in the fridge and the last of the leftovers from Patagonia.

We cooked some scrambled eggs for the kids…

…and I hard-boiled the rest for our plane ride home. I patted myself on the back for cleaning out all the food in the refrigerator ‘cause that never happens. Hey, mom! Aren’t you proud of me?

Our ride to the airport wasn’t due to arrive until 1 p.m., so we all hopped in a cab for one last meal in town. We headed to the marina and stopped at The Office, a restaurant located right on the beach.

The spot looked like a tourist trap, so I was a bit dubious about the quality of the chow. Plus, the dining area was a little gimmicky for my taste. Most of the tables at The Office are placed right on the beach, so everyone’s chairs were pitched at odd angles as the legs sunk unevenly into the sand. I could smell the diesel from the water taxis wafting from the water, which wasn’t super-appetizing. And I could hear the host at the neighboring bar anounce that anyone who could do twenty push-ups on the beach would win a free round of shots. AT TEN THIRTY IN THE MORNING. Classy.

Plus, look at all this sugar on the table. Yee-uck.

I’m happy to report that my skepticism was totally unfounded. Our breakfast fare (yes, we had two breakfasts today) was well-prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Fitbomb and I split a chorizo scramble with guacamole…

…and a lobster omelet.

Our whole table also shared a ripe and fresh tropical fruit salad in a pineapple boat.

It was a great last meal in Cabo and we were able to romp on the beach before heading to the airport.

The Los Cabos airport has absolutely no options for Paleo eaters. There’s a  Sbarro (fine purveyors of puffy cardboard pizza) and numerous kiosks that offer the same selection of Pringles and candy, but nothing that I cared to eat. I was relieved that I’d packed beef jerky, pistachios, and hard-boiled eggs to tide us over.

Our flight was uneventful, yet productive: the kids were immersed with their mobile devices while Fibomb and I worked on photos and recipes on our respective computers.

When we finally arrived back in the Bay Area, we were tired and hungry. We drove to the nearest In-N-Out for a quick, cheap dinner. I ordered my usual: protein-style triple meat burger — hold the spread — with mustard and a whole-grilled onion slice. When the lettuce-wrapped burger came, I smashed it into my face:

It’s nice to be back in our stomping grounds.

Time to wrap our kids’ gifts and pretend they came from some hirsute, metabolically-deranged home invader!

Paleo Eats: 12/22/11 (5th Day in Cabo)

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As I type this post, I can hear the waves crashing down on the beach below our room. It sure makes me cranky that we’re leaving Cabo tomorrow. Luckily, we spent the day replaying our greatest hits from earlier in the week.

For breakfast, I fried some omelets filled with leftover steak from Patagonia, sautéed onions, and baby spinach.

I swiped each forkful in a mound of guacamole before it entered my craw.

Afterwards, the boys and I did a family burpee workout out on the balcony…

…and walked up and down the hills around our resort. We had to stay active ‘cause we knew we’d being stuffing our faces for the rest of the day.

At lunchtime, we took a cab down to Big-O’s favorite restaurant in Cabo, Gordo Lele, to chow on tacos again.

This time, I was determined eat the WHOLE enchilada, er, taco –- homemade corn tortillas and all. If Melissa and Dallas say it’s okay to indulge in super-awesome corn tortillas in Mexico, I’m gonna savor a few at the best taco stand in town. This time I ordered a couple carne asada ones…

…and a chorizo taco.

It’d been a looooooong time since I ate a taco wrapped in a tortilla instead of a lettuce leaf, and lemme tell you: this was like NBA action — it’s FANTASTIC.

Fitbomb and I had no regrets — the tortillas were definitely worth the cheat. Plus, we probably won’t eat ‘em again until we come back to Mexico, which won’t be for a while because we weren’t suckered into buying a(nother) timeshare.

Our meal ended on a high note when Javier serenaded the restaurant with some Beatles tunes – complete with props and wigs.

Big-O is convinced that Javier is in fact the fifth Beatle (how could the Gordo Lele menu cover be wrong?), and he kept asking us how he ended up in Cabo San Lucas. 

We took a cab back to the resort and spent the rest of the afternoon splashing around in the pool with the kids.

Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my boys…

…except for eating a great meal with them.

For dinner, we headed to La Fonda again. I like that their menu reminds me to stay Paleo.

The maguey worms were an exciting treat last time, but we opted for a little less Fear Factor on this outing. Tonight, we started with roasted bone marrow (tuetanos tut tut) – which came five(!) to a plate AND with a side of guacamole instead of toast points…

…octopus sautéed in butter with dried chiles (pulpos careyes)…

…and the “Country Starter for 2 people” (entremes Campirano) which included marinated pork meat sautéed with cactus leaf, two types of chorizo, cheese, guacamole, and chicharrones.

By the time we finished eating the appetizers, we were already pretty full. I guess eating lots of fat and meat can do that.

Still, the main dishes didn’t disappoint. We had cochinita pibil (pork braised with achiote and sour orange)…

…and braised lamb shank.

Both entrees were piled high with meat, and we struggled to finish everything despite the deliciousness.

From our two visits to La Fonda, I’ve picked out a few favorites: the bone marrow, country starter for two, and braised short ribs. Definitely check out La Fonda and Gordo Lele if you’re ever in Cabo.

Okay folks, it’s time to split because we need to cram all our smelly clothes into our luggage. The next time I post, we’ll be back home in the chilly Bay Area.

Buenos noches!

Paleo Eats: 12/21/11 (4th Day in Cabo)

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Our vacation’s almost over, so we made sure to maximize our pool time today. Before we hit the water this morning, we noshed on scrambled eggs, leftover sausages from last night’s meat orgy at Patagonia, and sautéed onions.

Once the dishes were done, we made a beeline to the pool.

We swam for a couple of hours before heading back to our room to make lunch. For our midday meal, I stir-fried some mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and cilantro…

…and reheated some more leftover meat. 

We also added some nutrient-lean iceberg lettuce to our plates for a bit of crunch. 

My in-laws came over for lunch, and all six of us ate the steak, but we still have more in the fridge. I’m hoping to finish off our doggie bag from Patagonia at some point in the coming decade. I still can’t understand how four people not named Joey Chestnut or Takeru Kobayashi could possibly finish the mixed grill combo we ordered last night in just one sitting.

After we packed our bellies with meat, we headed back to the pool to splash around some more.

For our boys, thrashing around in chlorinated water never gets old.

By the time we reluctantly climbed out of the pool — with incredibly pruny fingers and toes — it was getting close to dinnertime.

At sunset, we finally left the resort for the first time today, and took a cab downtown for a traditional Mexican supper at Maria Corona.

The food was tasty, but the constant upselling by our waiter ("A side of guacamole? Then why don’t you get an order of shrimp or fish ceviche to go with it?" "No margaritas? How about wine? Beer? We have Pacifico!" "I can tell that this lady wants chocolate cake, right? No? How about flan?") was exhausting. My reaction to his pushiness was to actually under-order — a first for me.

We started our meal with guacamole prepared tableside with a mortar and pestle (I know it’s touristy hokum, but I love mashed avocados)…

…and the hubby and I split the grilled whole red snapper…

…and Yucateco pork shank. 

The meal we had at La Fonda the other night was pricier, but I preferred its food, service, and ambience.

Still, it was nice to eat outdoors tonight in the warm night air. We gave a toast to my mother-in-law’s good health, and chatted about the ups and downs (mostly downs, unfortunately) of the past year. Even on vacation in a beautiful corner of the world, it’s tough to truly leave your worries and sorrows behind. And tonight, as we raised our glasses to salute my mother-in-law’s year-long fight against breast cancer, we were especially mindful of how lucky we are to be able to spend time with our loved ones.

Tomorrow’s our last full day in Cabo, and I need the energy to make the most of it, so I’m gonna get some shuteye. Smell ya later.

Paleo Eats: 12/20/11 (3rd Day in Cabo)

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Just like the past two days, I did nothing but relax, chill with the family, and indulge in good eats.

For breakfast, I sautéed some peppers, onions, and mushrooms in butter and topped it all off with a big spoonful of guacamole.

With full bellies, we wandered around our resort and practiced owling in different spots.

At 11:00 a.m., we took a cab downtown and grabbed brunch at Mama’s Royal Café.

Although this place definitely caters to tourists — including one-eyed, one-armed pirates named “Captain Fork”…

…their omelets are pretty yummy. Fitbomb and I shared two omelets: a shrimp Florentine stuffed with butter-sauteed shrimp, spinach, and mushrooms…

…and one packed with bacon, avocado, and mushroom.

The breakfast items all come with potatoes and toast, so if you happen to be eating here, ask the server to sub extra fruit in their place. We also ordered a plate of watermelon, but it wasn’t super ripe and/or sweet.

And now for the Mexican Viagra ad of the day. Is it just me or is the picture on the left particularly disturbing?

After lunch, we took a cab down to the Walmart Super Center and stocked up on groceries. I’m usually not down with Walmart, but this one literally blew our minds. Lil-O demonstrates:

Without a doubt, this is the place to go to buy fruits, veggies, AND underwear when you’re down in Cabo.

For the past two days, we’ve been scouring the streets of downtown Cabo San Lucas for a place to buy a variety of fresh produce and came up empty-handed — until today. Our Walmart haul included a large container of eggs, peppers, baby carrots, baby spinach, onions, ‘shrooms, a Lindt 85% cacao bar, Paleo-compliant beef jerky…

…dried fruit…

…and nuts.

We headed back to the resort, put away our groceries, and spent time at the beach until dinnertime.

Bear crawls!

For dinner, we headed back to downtown and dined at Patagonia, where we devoured mass quantities of grilled grass fed beef and veggies. You can read all about it here.

Our short trip in Baja California is already half over. We’ve all been enjoying each other’s company and it’s been fun bonding with our kids and my in-laws. I can’t believe it was a year ago that my mother-in-law was first was diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s wonderful hanging out with her this week in Cabo; she’s got a cute, Audrey Hepburn-esque new hairdo, and we’re so delighted that she’s happy and healthy. Life is good.

Dining Out Paleo: Patagonia (Cabo San Lucas)

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Patagonia is a Paleo diner’s dream come true. What’s more appealing to a modern day cave guy or gal than a pile of grilled grass fed beef and veggies? 

Patagonia is an Argentinian steak house located a few blocks up from the heart of downtown Cabo San Lucas. The ambience is that of a cheery jail dotted with Christmas lights: it’s a non-descript, bare bones place with brick-colored paint, a corrugated tin roof, and bars in the pane-less windows.

However, the stellar grilled meats make up for what the restaurant lacks in décor. The menu features a bunch of appetizers and salads, but the main attraction is the grilled grass fed beef sourced from Sonora and Chihuahua.

We started with a bowl of rich beef broth, which was — SURPRISE! — chock full of beef.

We garnished the soup with diced onion, chopped cilantro, jalapenos, and lime juice. But enough about the broth — let’s get to the main event, shall we?

Since we weren’t sure which cuts of beef to pick, we ordered the large grilled combo platter for four people (short ribs, filet, New York steak, vacio, Argentinian sausage, and chistorra) and a large platter of grilled vegetables.

There’s an open wood-burning grill at the front of the restaurant, so we were able to watch the chef prepare our meal over red-hot coals.

After the food was properly charred, the chef seasoned everything with a fine shower of salt and brushed chimichurri sauce on the grilled vegetables.

Everything was placed on portable grills filled with hot coals, and our chow was brought to the table. All the beef was grilled to a perfect medium rare, and the simple seasonings ensured that the beefy flavor was front-and-center.

We were given a gravy boat filled with fresh chimichurri sauce to pour on our meat and veggies, but I actually ate most of my meal unadorned because it was so flavorful.

I’m not sure how this mountain of meat is supposed to feed four people – we definitely had enough protein to feed eight hungry carnivores.

Our party waddled out of Patagonia with full bellies and a take-out container stuffed with leftover meaty goodness. We’re gonna be eating well for the next few meals…