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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Oh Lala! On Twitter! Like Grownups!

So, we were supposed to interview Jorge Garcia, owner, operator, and chef of Oh Lala! restaurant here in Playa, but he’s too slammed for us to conduct a formal interview … so we’re going to interview his food.  Via Twitter.

At the bottom of the right hand side of this page, you can also see the latest Tweets. We’ll post the actual review also, but this seemed like a fun way to enjoy an evening of dining like grownups.


Two Bottles, Both Alike In Drinkability …

Two bottles, both alike in drinkability. In Playa del Carmen, where we lay our scene …

This week was a special week since Michael returned from his adventures in Canada bearing gifts of wine. Also, this week was a special week since Rene decided to get into the kitchen and throw down. For me, this was an awesome week – I got to enjoy the company of friends and family without the pressures of prep-work, cooking, timing, and stressing out over outcome.  (Megan wasn’t so lucky, but someone needed to supervise.  Left to his own devices, who knows what Rene would get up to in there.)

And it must be said that Rene and Megan make a damn fine team. We were sitting down, ready to eat, at six on the dot, with no delays. Everything came together at the exact same time and at the exactly right time.  (While this was awesome, it afforded me few opportunities to make fun of or belittle anybody’s efforts.  It’s like they were TRYING to spoil my fun.  Lousy in-laws …)

On The Menu: Greek Salad, Spanakopita, Tzatziki, Chicken Kebabs, Pita Bread, Brandy Plum Pudding with Custard

The food was excellent. The chicken kebabs were done to perfection. The Greek salad was crisp and bitey. The spanakopita was freaking incredible. (And kudos to Rene for making Tzatziki from scratch!)  In short, we got spoiled. My eyes were too big for my stomach. I took two of everything and couldn’t finish anything.

Oh, and we drank some wine.

Wine: Moon Curser, Tempranillo, BC VQA, Okanagan Valley, 2009, $29 CAD
Rating: Three Bottles

This is a truly exceptional wine. Fruity – black currant, black cherry, (and other red fruits that taste good,) with soft, pleasant tannins, give this wine a drinkability that lets you feel like warm summer nights are the only things you have to worry about in the days to come. This wine makes you feel like your cares are all behind you, and you will soon be reunited with all of your dearest friends, and all you’ll be doing is laughing.
Yes, it’s that good. If you’ve not had the opportunity to try this wine, find it. Also, their website is awesome. Also, their label is awesome. In other words, this wine is pretty nifty.

There was a flavour that we hotly debated, also, which is nice. Not many wines generate conversation. After careful consideration, we determined that there was … something. We all agreed that it was … spicy.  Megan thought allspice.  I said star anise.  Michael said spicy.  Megan insisted that it was allspice.  Or nutmeg.  Or cinnamon.  Or CLOVES!  It was CLOVES!  I said star anise.  Then she went to the spice cupboard to get spices to smell, so I poisoned her glass when her back was turned.  (Come on … the night was virtually drama-free!  I had to do SOMETHING!)

Megan prepared the pudding while we opened the second bottle.

Wine: Pétales d’Osoyoos, Red Wine (Blend – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Osoyoos Larose, BC VQA, Okanagan Valley, 2008, $25 CAD
Rating: Two Bottles

Vanilla and chocolate dominate this wine.  With a lesser alcohol content than the Moon Curser, it came up a little on the lighter side for us.  Especially when paired with Brandy Plum Pudding which was too rich for this wine.

We did, however, find this to be an extremely drinkable wine.  Michael said that the employees of the store where he bought he these wines all recommended the Pétales. This does not surprise me, since it is so light as cannot be offensive.  All of us found it a little bit simple, but we also conceded that, at the end of the night, after red wine, Greek food, cigarettes, and liquor-laden sweets, our palettes may just have been a tad on the blown-out side.

All in all, we have missed the wines of our homeland.  British Columbia is such a remarkable place for producing wines of amazing quality.  In the Okanagan Valley, there is a devout and enthusiastic community of vintners, aficionados, and viticulture in general.  Driving through the mountains that hug Lake Okanagan, you see more vineyards than houses.

Next week is a little up in the air, as we have a hurricane bearing down on us, and I’m sorry about the pun.  We may just be doing our next post from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.  But hey, what’s life without a little “Wizard of Oz”-like impending doom?

Until then,


Canadian Thanksgiving: Redux

So, I just have to say that I love my family.  Most people, almost all people, actually, if they were off traipsing in Montreal and read my pseudo-tragic posts about poor Mojo would say to each other, “That sucks.  Computers … what are ya gonna do?” and go about their day.  What did my family do?  They read my post, then went straight to the Apple Store and bought me a replacement.  (Actually, they went to the first store that sold Apple products, only to be told that, unless you live in Montreal, you can’t buy a computer from them.  THEN they went to the Apple Store.)  AND … Cara gave me a new set of pots and pans, and Megan had a shirt made for me that reads “My Other Shirt Is A Pants” which I told her I wanted made for me, but never expected anyone to actually do it.  In short, best birthday EVER.

We’re getting caught up here, and next week, this week, we’ll be back on track, but without further ado, here is the Canadian Thanksgiving TSB, brought to you by Megan and Rene.

One thing you learn, living abroad, is that the holidays are not only yours but belong to all orphans everywhere.  You generally celebrate a holiday, whether it’s yours or not, with every ex-pat that you know.  They may not come to your house, but you will be aware of the various satellite parties going on around you within your little friend circle.  When you do have them over to share in your festivities, they will generally show up on time(ish), bring something to compliment the meal (booze), and will keep their religious and political views to themselves (barring an initiation of such topics by their hosts, i.e. you).  Your fellow orphans become like an extended family that you never fight with because you don’t really know them that well.  Basically, they are the perfect holiday guests.

This year, we had a mix of both.  Cara’s mom is still visiting, so we had actual family, which, all joking aside, is always nice, and we had our friends Carlos and Michael.  Michael has been a member of our family since Cara and Rene were kids.  They grew up together.  Carlos is Caia’s swimming instructor, and Cara’s friend, and since his husband is Canadian, we figured he would be a fabulous addition, in every sense of the word.

Since Megan and Rene are away in Montreal on vacation, the cooking was left to me.  In true Patik form, Cara told me Sunday morning that we were to have guests for dinner.  I had not anticipated a big group for dinner, since our numbers were down to three, so I had done no prep.  Like, say, buying a turkey, for instance.

After consulting the oracle (Facebook) it was decided that, while turkey is favourable for the holidays, chicken would be easier, last minute.  This is what I came up with.

On The Menu: Assorted Cheeses and Prosciutto with Fig and Black Currant Compote (Respectively), Roast Chicken with an Asian Pear Gravy, Roast Chicken with White Gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Parmesan Steamed Carrots, Broccoli in a Sharp Cheddar Sauce, Poached Asian Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream

Who brought it?  Craig brought it.

If you want recipes, please let me know, and I will send them to you.  I highly recommend trying the Roast Chicken with Asian Pear Gravy.  It’s a lot softer than a typical apple stuffing and it will cause your guests to ask, “What is that?” to which you get to reply, “Asian Pear …” to which they will, dumfounded and amazed, secretly worship you like a GOD.  Then, when they are eating the dessert, ALSO with Asian Pears, their heads will explode with delight.  A little more clean up in the morning, but worth it in my opinion.

Wine: Osborne Ybarra (a.k.a., OY!!), Vendimia Seleccionada, Roble, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2009, $180 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

I really like this wine.  I especially like the label (picture not shown) because as you walk past it in the store, all you see are the letters O and Y together, like the winemaker is getting all British youth on you.  “Oy!  You!  Try this wine … guv …”  (I should’ve probably researched what British youth sounds like before referencing them.)

This is a classy tasting wine.  Softer tannins allow for the cassis to come through, leaving a hint of dandelion root on your tongue as it settles.  OY! tastes like a business dinner with your boss.  You feel dressed-up when you drink this wine, like you are trying to impress AND look cool at the same time.  Although it is missing a certain je ne sais quoi that would make it remarkable, for the price, this is an excellent wine and one that we will be drinking again soon.

As the food settled, and we waited for the dessert to be ready, we got to chatting.  We’ll leave out the details of the conversation that Cara, Carlos, and I had in the kitchen except to say that who a person loves is nobody’s business but their own.  This was sparked by an interesting stat that has been circulating this week on FB: there are more states in the U.S.A. that allow first cousins to marry than there are states that allow same-sex couples to marry.  While I have not seen this stat independently verified, I would like to believe it, because it is both infuriating and hilarious at the same time.

The stat that I would really like to see is how many states allow gay first cousins to marry.  THAT would be the state to live in!  Libertarianism at its finest.

The topic of general conversation was that sales industries, especially the timeshare industry, tend to promote mediocrity in its staff as opposed to excellence.  Which … is … crazy.  My pet theory: as sales is the world’s oldest profession, in one form or another, there is a trickle down effect to the industries that it services.  As one person gets screwed by inefficient sales practices, he or she passes on the screwing to the next person they meet and do business with.  Those things we learn, we pay forward.  Instead of promoting an environment of excellence through leadership, incentives, and support, we have all seen our respective sales industries get lazier and lazier, cutting more and more corners.  Instead of getting tighter, it has become more slack.  In timeshares, we are moving towards a time when there is an implosion of our industry – a falling in on itself due to its own hollowness – or the emergence of a newer, better, vacation industry that makes the sales person less relevant.  Like McDonald’s and its ilk makes the Maître d’ obsolete, so too could a Big Box-style timeshare company make the sales professional a thing of the past.  Simply see what’s on the menu and go from there …

The last topic of the evening?  Incest.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd scene.


R.I.P. Mojo

Well, sadly, Mojo is no more.

Steve, the computer man, did all that he could, then passed it on to his friend, Dexter, the Apple man.  I guess I should have known that ANYONE, working in ANY industry, with the name “Dexter,” will kill ANYTHING he comes in contact with.  This “job” was done over the phone.  He’s THAT good.

Mojo’s motherboard was fried by purified water.

He will be missed.

Lucky, his brains were salvaged and will be saved, virtually, for generations to come.

It’s what Mojo would have wanted.

R.I.P. Mojo

December 25, 2010 – October 11, 2011







Don’t You Die On Me Mojo … Not Today!! Not You!!

So Mojo didn’t turn on and I am updating you via iPad. We are taking Mojo to a specialist downtown and we are told he is very good. Failing that, we will be seeking help from alternative medicine.

There is a faint green light from the AC adapter, and it both fills be with hope and sickens me at the same time. It feels like the beep of a heart monito when someone is on life support.

I have been told that, if nothing else, the data will be salvageable, but I feel like people are telling me that I’ll be ready to play next season. Then they take my parents into the next room. I can see them talking, and my mother is crying, but I just can’t wait to be scoring touchdowns next year! I’ll be a SENIOR then! Girls will all want to be with me, and I’ll be the quaterback and …

Please: pray for Mojo.


Pray … for … Mojo …

Today’s post will be delayed inevitably due to my computer taking a bath.

It is amazing to me that, in these technologically advanced days, something as simple as a plastic ring on a reusable water bottle can completely destroy a life’s work.  (That’ll teach me for trying to be Green.)

We’ll see if the computer can be saved.  Failing that, we’ll see if I can salvage the hard drive.  Failing THAT, I will lose the following:

  • The final edit of the novel I’ve been writing for twelve years.
  • The directory for Cara’s company tallying over five-thousand properties and over four years worth of work.
  • Countless photos from years of family vacations, get-togethers, and outings.

But … there is no sense worrying about what hasn’t happened for sure yet

In the meantime: Pray for Mojo.


Happy Thanksgiving, You Canucks!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian readers!  Whether you live in Canada or live abroad (like us), we wish you all a very happy start to the holiday season.






P.S. Yes, we did Thanksgiving.  Yes, there will be a Thanksgiving TSB.  No, there won’t be pictures.  Yes, Megan is away again.

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