Wow, what a week! Vallarta’s first knock-down, drag-out, monster tormenta hit late Sunday night. Everything unplugged, cats terrorized, easy to bail by the daylight provided by the lightening. While I was wringing out rags and towels, trying to calm my kitties (and me) I realized just how much metal is in my house…handrail on the staircase, window sills, door frames and lightening. Did I mention prayer?
Last week in this column, I wrote about seeing the last performance of “El Grito” at La Estacion, home of Ramiro Daniel’s Theatre group called Boa Viagem. Ramiro and his troupe were off to Lagos de Moreno for a state-wide competition and guess what? They won! He won! She won! The play, written and directed by Ramiro won for Best Screenplay and Best Director. Ana Karenina Nuñoz won Best Actress for her amazing portrayal of one extremely pissed off Mexican. AND, the play won Audience Choice and Best Work. Ramiro directed another play in this extremely important competition called “El Hombre Ajeno” that I saw at the Centro Cultural Cuale Theatre with my dear friend Alain Perreault. “Ajeno” starred Cesar Bravo and Beto Mora. Both were nominated for Best Actor with the prize going to Cesar (who starred in Equus and was a delish Snow White in Princesas Desesperadas; the latter also directed by Ramiro!). I urge everyone in our expanding ex-pat community to run and see any and all productions by Boa Viagem. They are in Spanish, yes (Hey! It could be Portuguese!). Good practice AND (I know I keep using the same analogy over and over but…) not knowing Italian would never keep an opera buff away from Puccini, okay? So, go, fumble along like I do and rejoice in this richness of talent that is home grown and thriving! One last thing, if Ramiro Daniel was directing movies instead of plays, he’d be picking up Academy Awards; THAT’S how good this theatre group is.
I sat down last week with Roberto Castellon in his newest/oldest restaurant on Basilio Badillo. If you have spent any time – in the past 20 or so years – in Vallarta you have seen Roberto and/or eaten in one of his restaurants. Roberto’s Original Puerto Nuevo is back: Opened in 1988 across the street from where he is now, it is evident that this new/old place is finally all about Roberto bringing the freshest seafood to Vallarta’s tourists and residents. The décor is stylish without being fussy (paintings done by ex-pat Steve Fischer) and the food is not limited to the sea – the steaks look amazing. To go along with fresh local sea bass, shrimp, lobster, calamari, and more, is handmade pasta, a kid’s menu, a special ten-item summer menu coming up with everything on it UNDER 100 pesos. This menu includes special fresh water or soda and will be available from 12:30 to 4:30; you can sit outside or be cool in the A/C. Roberto is keeping his Restaurant Week $229 peso menu going until the end of July. You can also rent the entire place that will seat 40 people comfortably on each level.
While I was enjoying a shrimp bruschetta, Roberto was telling me about recently reuniting with a couple he used to serve at his first Puerto Nuevo restaurant across the street more than 20 years ago. They saw him first standing outside, not believing their eyes, then, they saw his sign, recognized the logo and fairly flew across Basilio Badillo to chat. Not ten minutes after our conversation did Tricia and her husband from Saint Louis come in for dinner! We all enjoyed their reunion and Roberto’s superb food. Good to see an old friend not just “back in business” but doing what he does best in his adopted city of Puerto Vallarta. Stop in and say hello or hello again to Roberto, even if it’s just for a drink to cool off while you’re shopping. But stay and eat!
Both Canada and the U.S. celebrate their respective countries July 1st and the 4th. Parties are everywhere. Go, have fun, eat, party and if you drink don’t drive. Walk, bus it or take a taxi, please. That’s it From Here.