Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Take 24 - A Little Trip Down South - Cabo San Lucas way

Take 24 - A little trip down South - Cabo San Lucas way

I might have mentioned this before, but my husband David works for Google and at that company, when employees meet deadlines, reach milestones or do something extraordinary the company generously rewards them, usually per department, because of the size of the company. The rewards can be different things or events and this time, it was a three-day trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Yeah, airfare, hotel and all the bells and whistles ! And not just any hotel, an all exclusive top of the line vacation resort.

Each employee could invite a Plus One as long as this Plus One paid for her or his flight.  Well, naturally, I tagged along (who wouldn't?)  and we were given the option to add a couple of days' stay before or after the three-day event, which we did. We opted to add two days at the end of the week. Additionally, we were provided will all shuttle services. Living here in San Jose, California  and visiting Mexico is not such a  big stretch since we are surrounded by people of Mexican descent in all spheres of life. We hear people speaking Spanish every day here. Who knew there were still so many Mexicans in Mexico. We thought they all had moved to California, particularly to San Jose. :-)))

 Our hotel was the Rui Palace, an All Inclusive -24 hour type of resort. Man have all-inclusives ever changed since the last time I stayed at one ! Mine had been the cheap tourism type. Not in this case. How do I put this? So many things are  included in the package, you forget to use them all. An orgy of food and alcoholic beverages as well as all types of bottled water. What ???  Let's just say that us Paleo (ers)  had plenty of things to chose from and did not have to worry about our next meal.  Cabo, means Cape and there are two of them. Namely, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. This area of Mexico is high end tourism. Nothing cheap here. 

We had a main event on the night of our arrival with all employees (about 100) and their Plus One invited to dinner on the beach as well as a karaoke where several employees showed off their pipes.After watching and listening in pain to a few employees, we walked away and sat on the side of the pool, dangling our feet in the water and chatted while listening to the waves crashing nearby. Ahhhhh, so romantic and relaxing too.

 The rest of the week had several activities and lots of free time. We had booked an excursion called A taste of Cabo which turned out to be, an excursion on a glass bottomed boat that enabled us to observe angel fish and clown fish as well as granite rocks while seriously rocking on waves on the Sea of Cortes. During this activity we also had a visit to a Tequila factory with tasting, a visit to a Glass blowing studio, lunch in the  beautiful courtyard of a San Jose de Cabo restaurant, a visit of a Mission and a short shopping session,  all of this on  a very very hot day. In conclusion, those five days were filled with walks, great meals, restorative naps and even a visit from a beautiful cat, which had probably escaped from a nearby villa to come and beg a few morsels of fish from resort guests enjoying dinner outside. A smart cat indeed !

No recipe in this post.  In my next blog, I will tell you about the Riu Palace in greater detail.

Hasta Luego !

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Take 23 - Bunless Hamburgers .... what's not to love !

Take 23 - Bunless Hamburgers .... what's not to love !

Who does not love a hamburger ? Here in California, three providers come to mind, namely:

In n Out
Carl's Jr.
Five Guys

Although my husband and I are on a Paleo (ish) diet, we eat hamburgers with a small tweak every week or a couple of times a week. I can almost hear you gasp, OMG ..... well we have not gained any weight and are feeling great.

In-N-Out Burger is a regional chain of restaurants founded in 1948 with locations in five Western states, the first one in Baldwin Park, California. The regular menu at In-n-Out is very short. Nothing fancy. You either get a single burger or a double burger, with or without cheese. However, there is a secret and a super secret menu which is no where to be seen in the restaurants. If you are curious about those you can Google them. In this blog, I will not go down the many variations of the secret and super secret menu but will tell you about the variation we have tried. If you want to keep it Paleo, ask for Protein Style. The burger of your choice, Protein Style. If you choose to get fries, ask for well done fries. Their regular fries tend to be pale and under-cooked. Ok, if you prefer it that way.

Carl's Jr. is a chain predominantly operated in Southern and Western states. In the Eastern states, they are called Hardee's. Their menu features most hamburger variations, in large or small format and with the garnishes of your choice. Here, if you want to go Paleo, ask for Low Carb. The burger of your choice with your chosen fixings will arrive wrapped in lettuce.

 Five Guys
The Five Guys' menu is mainly composed of hamburgers available with American cheese and/or bacon, kosher style hot dogs, grilled cheese and vegetable sandwiches. All garnishes including (onions, sauteed onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) are free and you can pick your favorites to be added to your burger. Their fries are also very good and too generous to get one per person. Believe me ! To get a Paleo acceptable burger at Five Guys you either ask for a no bun burger which will come wrapped in lettuce or burger  in a bowl which will be your chosen burger and your fixings in a bowl. They also provide a fork and a knife. So your choice of burger, large or small and either in a sandwich style (the lettuce playing the role of the bun) or in the bowl. Both options are delicious !

My point here is not to tell you which one is the best burger as we think they are all great and different at the same time. The important thing for us is that they are all available in Paleo style and allow us to enjoy a quick and nourishing meal. In case you are curious about the Paleo diet, there is a gazillion number of recipe books available on Amazon or at the bookstore of your choice. If you Google the words "Paleo Diet", you will also find a number of websites providing information on the subject. I particularly recommend the following: where you will get the basic information on the Paleo Diet.

One more thing, all three chains we have visited in California have outdoor terraces where you can eat with your dog. 

Here is a Paleo recipe you can try. Switch your mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower. See what you think. This recipe was inspired from one in the Paleo Comfort Foods book written by Julie and Charles Mayfield. A wonderful book.
Enjoy !

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head fresh cauliflower
1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender and easy to mash. Add a little more stock is too dry or drain some liquid into a bowl if the mix is too wet. Pour mixture into the bowl of a food processor or use a hand blender to obtain the desired texture, either very smooth or slightly chunky.

Bon appetit !