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Cooking While on Vacation


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3 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

And the best part is that it is small enough to stuff in among the cast iron pans and sharp knives that are in the suitcase when I fly  to my vacation airbnb in North Carolina. 

 

I think you have family there?  Why not gift them some cast iron and sharp knives, that way you don't have to schlep it?

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Close friends own a house in a small development on 9 miles of deserted beach (really!) along the coast of Nayarit in México. It's a 7-hour drive from our house but it's worth it. There is no restaurant where we can drop in for a meal, unless we want to swim across the estuary, climb up over a headland and down the other side, and walk to a small bay with a line of beach restaurants that all serve pretty much the same seafood. Shrimp in many variations, fish filets, oysters, octopus, guacamole, and perhaps a hamburger for kids of any age. Nothing very fancy, but the seafood is impeccably fresh. One specialty of this area of the coast that I haven't seen elsewhere is huachinango (red snapper) Sarandeado, which is butterflied whole fish spread with each restaurant's special seasonings and slowly grilled over a wood fire. Comes with beans, tortillas (of course) and salad, and copious beer (this beach is not a wine-crowd kinda place). Great for a group and absolutely delicious.

 

The house is at the end of 9km of road that's bad at the best of times but truly dreadful after the rainy season, and Puerto Vallarta and Costco, etc., are 2-1/2 hours away. We do a major shopping trip to stock the pantry, including wine, beer, tequila and other beverages that folks want, pack the cooler, load up the car and the dog and hit the road. We are big fans of audiobooks, though we turn it off when we drive through Guadalajara to avoid distractions.

 

As for cooking, there is a gas grill that gets heavy use and a fairly well-equipped kitchen. Decent pots and pans, very nice dishes (one of the owners is a production potter) and sufficient glassware for civilized drinking. Gas range. However, I always bring a chefs knife, paring knife and a heavy cutting board, plus whatever ingredients for what I want to cook. Fresh vegetables and fruit get a little thin after about a week, but the maids, who come in 6 mornings a week, can bring in simple things like tomatoes or eggs. If we're desperate we drive about 45 minutes to a small town with fairly well-stocked produce markets, fresh shrimp and fish, and booze. 

 

We've done Thanksgiving twice at that house, and each time it has been a blast. The turkey is spathcocked on the grill, I bring the makings for dressing, and any other other side dishes are put together by others (we bring the ingredients).

 

For those of you who are cooking breakfast for a crowd, consider making pancakes in a sheet pan. Served with fruit and bacon, bloody marys optional. There are recipes out there on the internet--basically it's just a mix poured into a greased half-sheet pan and baked until puffed and golden. Sprinkle with fruit or chocolate chips if desired. Any leftovers reheat well. I wonder if something like that, only savory, could be figured out. Zucchini? Asparagus with smoked salmon? Hmm.

 

The only thing wrong with the house is that it's internet equipped, so it requires determination to keep it turned off. If you want to make a call, you have to take your phone out to the beach to get a signal, so that's something.

 

 

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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2 minutes ago, heidih said:

@Nancy in Pátzcuaro up here when we think of Nyarit we think our local Coni's   https://coniseafood.com/#home-section  esp the 

Pescado Zarandeado / 30 minutes*

Grilled snook w/ salt & house sauce, served w/ caramelized onion & tortillas (sourced from Nayarit)

 

Your Mexico adventures sound like a lot of fun :)  Axt rentals I just challenge myself to use what is there and local stuff.

 

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

 

I think you have family there?  Why not gift them some cast iron and sharp knives, that way you don't have to schlep it?

The truth is that when I'm on vacation, like you,  I really like to NOT cook, since I cook almost every day when at home in CA. This last visit to Asheville / Atlanta provided a new unexpected twist in that my husband and I caught lousy colds from the grand babies in Atlanta and we felt so lousy when we were back in Asheville that we didn't really even want to go out.

 

When in Atlanta we stay at my daughter's house. That's another problem entirely: their kitchen is weirdly stocked and poorly organized and they are too busy to care; they both work and with twins they are very grateful if we to cook a few meals when we are there. Cooking for four people in a cramped kitchen with a lack of good tools and half the counter space being taken up with sterilizing equipment is a definite challenge. We did have some stuff shipped from Amazon to them to fill in some of the gaps, but it was a drop in the bucket. Not only do they need lots better kitchen equipment, but my daughter is stubborn and doesn't see the need! Honestly they are doing great when it comes to the big picture and the twins, who just turned one yr old, are a source of constant hilarity. Both girls are good natured, love to eat everything, and are incredibly happy to hang out at a local brewery and chow down on pub food.  Any glass of beer within reach is seriously threatened. 

 

Vacations that are driving distance from home are typically at the family beach house. The kitchen is fairly well stocked, but the flip side is that we do have to do most of our own cooking since restaurants are not close by. That's a shopping and planning problem, which is a whole 'nuther mind set in figuring out how to make meals easy, since it is still a vacation and I still don't want to cook. Thanks to me there's a good oyster knife.

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Actually I can understand being freaked out by a house on a deserted beach, reached only via a lousy 9km road. Our friend, who often rent out the house, told us of a couple who took one look at the road and bailed. They told the taxi to take them back to Puerto Vallarta because the sight of the road, surrounded by mango groves and cattle pastures and heading off into a strange landscape, was too scary. They forfeited their prepaid rent but didn't care. Personally for us the remoteness of the place really accelerates relaxation. We pull in, unload the car, grab an adult beverage and head to the beach to watch the sun go down. Bliss. But YMMV.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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9 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

What about this spooks you?   It sounds fabulous to me!  

 

See ⬇︎.  

 

8 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

Actually I can understand being freaked out by a house on a deserted beach, reached only via a lousy 9km road. Our friend, who often rent out the house, told us of a couple who took one look at the road and bailed. They told the taxi to take them back to Puerto Vallarta because the sight of the road, surrounded by mango groves and cattle pastures and heading off into a strange landscape, was too scary. They forfeited their prepaid rent but didn't care. Personally for us the remoteness of the place really accelerates relaxation. We pull in, unload the car, grab an adult beverage and head to the beach to watch the sun go down. Bliss. But YMMV.

 

Exactly.  And I get remote by choosing the last seat at the bar.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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