Halloween – Part Deux

Steve sent me some more pictures of that afternoon, and I think this shows a better angle of the jello shot.

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When we were walking back to the hotel to get dressed in our costumes, we passed this store again. The kitty doesn’t look much different from when we saw him in there two days ago.

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Zung liked his costume so much from two years ago that he decided to do an encore wearing of it. I present to you, Count Trancula.

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Here I am in my fallen angel costume.

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These are my fabulous wings. I loved those wings.

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We met up with Steve and Janelle on Bourbon Street. Janelle said she was a sexy skeleton princess, which I guess would make Steve a sexy skeleton prince.

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Her shoes were very cool.

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Zung and I went to have dinner at Arnaud’s. I started with a champagne cocktail.

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Here is Zung, also drinking a champagne cocktail and trying to look Dracula-ish. He kind of just looks like he forgot to put his dentures in (just kidding – he doesn’t have dentures).

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Shrimp remolaude.

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Salad!

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A bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir.

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Fish, with some brown sauce.

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Hmmmm, ?????

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Crab cakes.

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I think I am officially getting my drunk on by now.

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Zung looks like he is feeling no pain either.

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We had dessert.

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When we got finished, we texted Janelle to find out where they were. They were in a bar, nearby, called the Swamp. They were upstairs. It was so packed downstairs and we couldn’t even see how to get up there. We fought through the crowd and made our way upstairs, where it was not yet as crowded. This is where we would stay for the rest of the evening. We had a lot of fun, but in retrospect, I am sorry that we did not walk up and down Bourbon Street like we did last time. Seeing all the costumes is really half the fun of being in New Orleans for Halloween.

There was a comfy sofa to park ourselves on, and Janelle looks like she is feeling no pain.

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We hadn’t finished our wine from dinner, so Zung got some cups and we made quick work of that. If you’re counting, I’ve had how much to drink? The answer is, ALOT

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There were some very cool costumes that made their way upstairs at the Swamp.

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Janelle’s friend, Audrey, was a piñata.

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Which I thought was really original, until a bunch of other piñatas came in. If that’s how many there were at the Swamp, they must have been all over NOLA that night.

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I have no idea what Steve and I were doing here.

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We enjoyed some entertainment by these lovely ladies.

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Zung was definitely feeling no pain.

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Janelle and Zung and I were sitting there when this lovely lady came by with a tray of test tube shots.

I did several of these. They were $4 each and the first time I did 2 and Zung did 1. I gave her a $20 and said keep the change. The next time I did 1 and gave her a $20 and asked for change and never saw her again. When another girl came by with a tray of them I told her what happened and she said she wanted to give me one for free because she felt bad that happened. I probably didn’t need another one, but, what the hell.

This was the first one. Let’s just say, this elicited and “OMG” response from my son, Nicholas, when he saw it on Facebook. And it seems like a fitting.way to end this blog post.

Oh, there is a protocol that needs to be observed when partaking of a test tube shot. And this is it.

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Posted in Bars, Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Non-Mexico Trips, Restaurant | 2 Comments

Halloween – Part 1!

I found a bunch of pictures, mostly food. So you should go back and reread the first two days.

We slept pretty late, after our late night. Steve and Janelle arrived this morning and we were going to meet them for brunch buffet at the Court of Two Sisters at eleven. We got some coffee and tea to tide us over. We arrived first and waited for them to arrive and then we all sat down. It was outside and there was a covering of branches and leaves.

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We ordered a bottle of champagne and a pitcher of orange juice to make Mimosas. The buffet was okay. I haven’t been to a buffet recently that really amazed me. This one didn’t either. The bread pudding was pretty good. There were eggs Benedict, dirty rice, omelettes.

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We had a good time catching up.

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After we were finished eating we went to Bourbon Street. We talked about doing a cocktail tour, but we ended up staying at one place, Razzoo Bar and Patio. They were having three for one beers and Steve liked that.

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They asked to check my ID. I liked that.

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I got a Hurricane, that was enormous and kind of too sweet.

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We sat out on the patio. The music was loud. But it was nice and warm in the sun.

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Steve was racking up the empties.

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And as that last picture shows, I got another ginormous drink. I never finished the first Hurricane, as it was too sweet. I can’t remember what the second drink was. I want to say rum and something (coke, or gingerale). That’s the problem of not having notes and trying to remember those details from eight months ago. Especially when there was consumption of vast quantities of alcohol.

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They went around with a tray of jello shots and since I have NEVER done a jello shot, I did one. Those suckers are hard to get out.

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We spent all afternoon there and then we went back to our rooms to get our costumes on.  There was a whole evening to eat and drink, and drink and drink.

Posted in Bars, Food/Menu Items, Non-Mexico Trips, Restaurant | 3 Comments

Plantation Tour and Revolution

On my list of places to eat was the Ruby Slipper for breakfast. It was a few blocks walk, out of the French Quarter, and a long wait, which I always consider a good sign.

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I remember it as being a good, but not great breakfast. I had some kind of Benedict.

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Zung had an omelette. Zung loves his omelettes.

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We were going to do a plantation tour today. We went down to the Greyline tour “Lighthouse” ticket office, by Jackson Square and picked up our tickets. I had done a lot of research and this was the tour company I decided on. My biggest concern was spending a lot of time getting to and from the plantation. Zung wanted to sit in front, so we got on the bus right away. The driver seemed very grumpy. Until everyone was on the bus and we were on our way. Then, it was like someone flipped a switch and he had a big smile on his face and was a wealth of information that he shared with us during the long ride to the plantation and back. You could tell he took a lot of pride in New Orleans, and pretty much in his opinion, everything started in NOLA. He was a delight.

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This bus went to both the Laura and Oak plantations. I had chosen the Laura from my research.

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We had a great tour guide,  Reneé, who was Creole and showed a lot of Creole pride and who knew a lot about the plantation. I can’t do it justice here. It was definitely worth the long drive, and if you are considering it, DO  IT! There’s more to the NOLA area than drinking, eating and jazz.

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There was a kitty. It seems, there is always a kitty, no matter where we go.

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There was time in the gift shop both before and after the tour. A little too much time in my opinion. The tour was definitely worth it though.

Our driver gave us lots of history info on the way back.

This was from the Oaks plantation.

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And just FYI, Christmas Eve in NOLA sounds like a pretty amazing experience.

When we got back to NOLA we were hungry and headed off to Central Grocery for the most amazing muffaletta sandwiches ever. Sadly, they were closed by the time we got there.

We did get to enjoy some music as we walked down the street.

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We went back to the hotel and went to the bar and had some snacks there.

I had a Hurricane.

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We had some classic NOLA foods.

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We took a nap and then went to Revolution for our late dinner reservations.

We were the first ones there, so we waited in the bar area and ordered drinks. Dan and Anastasia and Desireé arrived. Dan brought my angel wings.

Dinner was great. I can’t tell you what these foods are. But I can tell you it was delicious.

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The food and service and wine were all very good. I ordered every dessert they had for us all to try.

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They brought out a box of confections at the end.

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Can you say YUM? Can you say STUFFED?

It is always nice to get together with family, and it was an amazing dinner. Definitely a day to remember.

Posted in Excursions, Non-Mexico Trips, Restaurant | 1 Comment

NOLA for Halloween 2014

We first went to New Orleans two years ago for a family wedding, which happened to be right after Halloween and we made the incredibly smart decision to go a few days early and experience Halloween in NOLA. And what an experience it was. We started talking about doing it again. When our friends, Steve and Janelle, who we met at the Grand, decided to go, it clinched the deal for us. We made our reservations and booked air. This time we decided to stay at the Hotel Monteleone. Zung had stayed there before and really wanted me to get to experience it.

I will be right upfront with you, my readers, the notes I took from this trip were among the ones I lost when I was cleaning up my email. This trip report will be based on my memories and the photos. I will say that Steve described it as an “epic” trip.  There were a few firsts, and probably “only’s”.

Zung and I arrived on Wednesday, two days before Halloween. We flew United, which put us in a different terminal than when we fly Frontier. Different terminal meant new restaurant options. We chose Elways for breakfast. It was pretty good. DSCN3738

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I am probably showing off, what is probably the new iPhone 6. I have become one of those people who always has to have the latest and greatest iPhone. This year was no exception. I sell my old one to Gazelle and it has worked out for me financially.

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Can you guess which plate is mine and which was Zung’s?

We did carry-on and breezed past the baggage claim and called for an Uber. Our driver was super friendly and told us he could help us get dinner reservations at some hot spots. It turned out that THE dinner reservation to have was at the very trendy Revolution, and we already had reservations there. Zung has two cousins that live in NOLA and we were all going to have dinner together Thursday night. Cousin Dan had procured said reservations.

We arrived at the Monteleone about 2:30 and our room was not ready. They told us they would call us when it was. Check-in is at three o’clock, so this was reasonable.

We went to the Carosel bar for drinks and nibbles. We were starving!

We had a couple Pimm’s Cups, one of my favorite NOLA drinks. The service was not great initially. We had to wait a long time and then had to wave someone down to take our order. It seemed like it was maybe a change of shift and the waitress going off didn’t want to take a new table. The new waitress was better.

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We still had not been called by 3:15 and I was really ready to get to our room to unpack and go out exploring. We decided to go check in at the front desk and see what the deal was. We were told our room was still not ready, unless we would settle for a room with no window. I turned to Zung and asked, “Is that even legal?” She couldn’t even tell us when it would be ready. Check-in is at three o’clock. This was NOT reasonable. She said something to the effect of, hopefully it would be no more than half an hour more. I could hear people around me experiencing similar problems. I said something to the effect that apparently check-in is NOT at three o’clock. And then I told her in no uncertain terms that I found this completely unacceptable. She went in the back and then came back out and said they just had to go check if the room was ready and could I please have a seat in the lobby. About five minutes later a manager came over and said the room was ready and she didn’t know why it didn’t show up on the computer as ready and she gave us drink coupons for the bar and apologized. We went up to our room. It’s a historic hotel, which means it is old, and old usually means small rooms. The room was fine, but it was small, and the bathroom was really small.

We unpacked.

I had given a lot of thought to my costume for Halloween this time. Zung was going to be a vampire again. I decided I was going to be a fallen angel. That requires wings. I had tried on various wings and not found anything that was impressive enough and comfortable enough. I ended up ordering a pair and had them sent to cousin Dan and he was bringing them the following night, when we all met for dinner. I did bring a black evening gown that was sparkly and weighed a ton. I barely fit into it anymore, but decided it would have one last hurrah.

After we unpacked Zung took a nap and I surfed on my iPad. Next was dinner at K Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen on Chartres St. It was walking distance. That’s one of the great things about staying in the French Quarter, everything is walking distance.

We passed this as we walked to dinner.

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The food was very traditional New Orleans type food and it was good. Not amazing, but good.

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After dinner we caught a pedi-cab to Frenchman’s street and listened to some jazz.

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We had some rum and cokes.

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This place was good, but we decided to see what else there was. That was a mistake, because we wandered all over and couldn’t find anything and ended up calling the woman who had brought us over to come and get us and take us back to our hotel. We chatted on the way back and she told us she was a medical student and we had a nice chat.

Back at the hotel we stopped in the bar for a nightcap, which we took up to the room. The bar was crowded and noisy and after travel day, we were kind of over it and just wanted to go to sleep.

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Posted in Bars, Check-in/Upgrades, Non-Mexico Trips | 1 Comment

The End!

This is the dress I wear for dinner. Looking at it now, I decide it is way to short for a woman of a certain age. It;s just too young overall. I don’t want to want to ear elastic waists and baggy shirts, but I also don’t want to look like I’m trying to dress for the prom.

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Dinner is at the Italian restaurant, Venecia.

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We have brought the bottle of wine that they have put in our room, a Muga Rioja, and Luis decants it for us.

They bring the amuse bouche.

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We both have the salad.

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Zung has the calamari.

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I get the tournedos. I don’t love the cheese on it.

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Zung gets the shrimp speidini, which he always enjoys.

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And of course, I ask for some coconut ice cream for dessert.

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Zung is lower maintenance and just orders the fresh fruit that is on the menu. It is one of his favorite desserts.

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Raphael has paid us a visit and asked when we are leaving tomorrow. He very kindly tells us we can have a late check-out and stay in the room as long as we need. I really appreciate how he has made sure we have had a great experience after the poor experience we had at lunch the first day. He has done an excellent job as GM in my opinion.

After dinner we go and pick out a photo from our romantic dinner. We exchange some money so we can tip tomorrow. We go to the lobby bar. I get a cucumber martini and Zung gets an espresso martini. He’s branching out!

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We chat with the woman who we met on the beach, Lydia, and her husband, Martin. We take a picture. They are from Canada (I think – don’t bet your firstborn on it though).

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Maggie and Det arrive. Yay! We all do chocolate cake shots. We do five. They ar not as much fun as they were the night before. I swear, my liver hurts. We have also been chatting with another couple that is in the picture.

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Raul comes by and says hi. He apparently is dealing with a guest who is in the music bar who is getting unruly. Daniel tells me the progression. Raul is with public relations. If that doesn’t convince the guest to behave or go back to his room to sleep it off, security gets involved. Daniel said if they have to, they call the police, but that very rarely happens. The bartenders can tell when someone has “crossed over” and they keep an eye on them.

It is time to call it a night. My liver just can’t take any more.

I say good-bye to Daniel. Isn’t he just adorable?

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We get a ride back to our room from Jorge, who is working the night shift. Pay attention. This will be relevant later.

The next morning we wake up early. Zung gets some almost sunrise pictures. a

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We are at breakfast by 7. We go to say goodbye to Olivia.

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There are chilaquilles for breakfast.

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I won’t keep you in suspense about what Zung had.

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There are a lot of choices for breakfast. I took the camera and made a photographic tour.

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Trust me, you will not go hungry here.

We go back to the room and pack and then go to the beach. I see the butler and he asks what time we need the bell boy. I say they should come at 12:30. He says we can’t do a late check out and I tell him to check with Raphael. When I see him again he tells me it is no problem.

It is hot and windy. The wind is annoying, but it makes the hot not so hot.

We walk up and down the beach in front of the Grand. IMG_1288 DSCN4230

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Jonatan brings me a couple Mimosas. He has been a super attentive beach waiter. I will be looking for him when I return in January. I am coming back and doing a solo trip. I wanted to do it in 2014 and just never got around to it, so I have decided I will do it first thing in 2015. It doesn’t take much to convince me to come back to this.

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The sad picture.

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We go back to the room, shower and finish packing. The bell boy comes and it is Jorge. The same Jorge who gave us a ride to our room late last night and was working the night shift. When I ask why he is still here he says someone didn’t show up and so he stayed to do a double. I tell him he needs to get some sleep. Having worked nights in the past, I know how hard it can be. Jorge takes our bags. We say good-bye to the concierge. We go to lunch.

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Zung does not get shrimp fajitas.

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There is the very sad walk to the lobby. I was hoping to get to see the Christmas decorations but they were still putting them up when we left.

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We check out and then go to the lobby bar to have one last Havana and coke. Raphael comes by and he tells us about the things they are going to be doing in the future. There are going to be a lot of fitness classes offered at the shopping center. yoga and boot camp type classes. This has happened and I am looking forward to the yoga classes. There is going to be a game room and possibly a bar outside by La Brisa at night. That is not for sure though.

Our ride arrives and we say good-bye.

At the airport we check in and go through security. There is no Havana Siete, so I don’t have one last chance to be a rum runner because next time relations with Cuba will have been normalized and I can bring the Cuban rum back legally. I knew Obama would do it!

I buy a silver ankle bracelet.

We eat at Bubba Gumps. I get the clam chowder.

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Zung get the fried shrimp platter.

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Across from our gate is a place where you can get one of those pedicures where you put your feet in a tank of fish and they nibble the dead skin off of your feet. Can we say GROSS!?

We board the plane. I did not sleep well last night and I am stupid tired. I nap on and off during the flight. Zung naps during most of the flight.

There is a guy sitting in our row and he tells us that he and his wife and kids had a wonderful 2 week stay. However, their kids passports expired while they were down there and when they were checking in to come home they were told the kids couldn’t fly with expired passports. He was outraged. I guess he called US Customs or Immigration and they told Frontier Airlines to go ahead and let them board. He was all indignant, “We’re US citizens!” I told him I was surprised that they let them in to Mexico actually. I had to shake my head and wonder that they didn’t think this might be an issue and check about it before the trip.

Getting home was uneventful. Other than the fact that I have decided this is not a good time of year to travel. It’s awesome getting away right before the holidays, but I had the holidays to prepare for when I got home and a major paper to write for school. Not doing this again, at least until I finish school.

I did thoroughly enjoy meeting Suzanne and John, and Janette and Ian, and Maggie and Det. It was also great to meet Sheila and George, Levy and Reba, Lydia and Martin, and Kenneth. I hope I didn’t forget anyone.

In a few days we are returning to Mexico. Spending a few days with friends at the new Secrets Playa Mujeres and then home to the Grand, to meet up with more friends. As always, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe found something that was useful. Or if not useful, then funny.

Posted in Awesome Staff, Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 8 Comments