Saturday, November 11, 2017

Santa Fe, New Mexico ~ November 2017

Not exactly Southwest but...
My favorite dog artist, Jules Gissler.  Love her captions! 
Saturday 11-11-17

We had such a great time in Santa Fe, New Mexico four years ago that we have wanted to go back ever since.  This time, not on our timeshare and not an entire week.  Just five days but that should be plenty of time to hang with the locals.
Last time we barely used the rental car so this time we decided to do the airport shuttle thing.  We're staying two blocks from the "Square" so everything will be in walking distance.  If I remember correctly the City also has a shuttle that you can hop on that zips around the local area.  
The weather predictions are 60-ish during the day with a mix of sunny and partly cloudy.  Mid-30's at night.  Our Suite has a fireplace so it looks like we'll get to use it in the evenings.

We boarded the teeny tiny airplane for a quick hour and 15 minute fight into Albuquerque.  We retrieved our bags and checked in for the Sandia Shuttle.   We waited about 30 minutes for our designated departure, right on time.  Joaquin was our driver and very professional.  It was nice to sit back and relax and not have to navigate, although had we rented a car we would have stopped at the El Pinto for lunch on the way up because Paul liked it there last time.  
Our Cheriot Awaits
There were seven passengers in the fairly new 10 passenger vehicle and we were the second to be dropped off. I mention the driver was professional and the vehicle was new-ish because I read a couple of reviews to the contrary.  So far the shuttle thing was a good idea. Our room at the Inn of the Governors wasn’t ready yet so we went into the bar which was pretty noisy.  We went over to the closed in patio restaurant (right across from the bar) instead.  It was about 1:30 and we were hungry.  Neither one of us had breakfast.  I had only had a banana before we left the house.  We decided to share two appetizers because we planned on going out to dinner.  I had a Margarita and he had a beer.
Pomegranate Margarita - PDG
The alcohol arrived way before the food…I was getting :tipsy:  NOTE TO SELF: eat first, alcohol second. We got the Kobe Beef Sliders (two sliders) and Boneless Chicken Wings.  We should have just shared one appetizer instead of two, they were huge.    Both were excellent.  We were going to check out the Square but I stopped at the front desk first on the off chance the room might be ready and it was. The room is really nice (photos at the end of this trip entry). We dropped off our stuff and then ventured out.  The weather was beautiful, 63* and sunny.  Warm on the sunny side of the street, chilly on the shady side.  
Front entry
We walked through the street vendors and checked out their wares. Then we went through some of the shops in the arcade.  Back down the street and into the La Fonda to look around.  We tried walking back on the outskirts of the square hoping to find a mini-mart so Paul could get beer to take back to the suite.  No luck.  We past a huge business that had a cool gate with tons of old doors locked in on the other side. 
Click on the photo for a better view of the treasures inside
We went around the corner and about a half block down there was an entrance with really fantastic old gates and doors.  Unfortunately their was a sign that said "no photography" so I didn't take more photos. 
We wandered our way back to the Inn and they were having “Sherry and Tea Time” in the lobby.  We tried some Sherry which was pretty good.  I made some hot tea to take back to the room.  We unpacked.  He went out to the balcony for a mini-bar beer and a cigar.  Neither one of us were hungry so we skipped dinner.  He lit a fire which was really nice until the room started getting smoky.  The instructions say make sure the flue is open by pulling the the thingy inside toward you, which he did.  You could see flames reaching their way up the chimney.  We ended up spreading out the wood in the fireplace so it would burn out quicker and left the balcony door open for a little while.  I’ll let them know at the front desk so they can have maintenance staff check it out. Maybe the flue is stuck half way or something. 

Sunday 11-12-17

I woke up early as usual. 4:00 on the dot.  I forced myself to stay in bed til 5.  That’s a respectable time to be up while on vacay, right?  Showered, fluffed and puffed; bundled up with my hoodie, gloves and pashmina; grabbed my laptop, camera and coffee and headed to the balcony to download yesterday’s photos and update the blog.  Brrrrrrrrr.  Checked the weather app on my phone at it said 29* real feel 22*.  That’s a little too chilly for this desert dweller.  Back inside in the cozy comfort of the sofa and ottoman.  High today is predicted to be 58*.  The rest of the week they say low 60’s.  There is no rain in the forecast so we’re good with that. 

Not sure what’s on the agenda today.  Breakfast is included daily with our stay.  Since the food was good yesterday I have high hopes for their morning offerings.  After breakfast we’ll venture out *somewhere*. We don’t really have a plan yet but plenty of exploring will be involved.  
He just woke up and he's sick as a dog. Sniffling, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy head, ugg.  We'll have to get to a store and get some OTC meds.  
Such is life...

He felt a tiny bit better after he showered and had breakfast.  Speaking of breakfast the buffet did not disappoint.  They had plain scrambled eggs as well as Southwest style (with onions and tomatoes and green chilies).  There were also pancakes, bacon, sausage, ham, assorted cereals, fruit, yogurt, bread, bagels, croissants and sweet rolls. Coffee, tea and assorted juices.  What more could you want?  After breakfast we stopped at the front desk to put in a maintenance request about the fireplace and asked the front desk lady where we could get cold medicine within walking distance.  The Five and Dime right in the Square.  We also got a map for the free shuttle that goes around the local area, the Santa Fe Pickup.  We walked down to the Five and Dime and he got cold medicine, throat lozenges and pistachio nuts.  Nothing breaks up congestion like a handful of nuts!  We decided to hop on the Santa Fe Pickup and just ride around to see where it goes.  The one we were on goes to the railroad station and makes a big loop around the outskirts of the Square and then right through the middle.  There is a transfer spot at the State Capitol Building where you can take the other line that goes up to Museum Hill and Canyon Road, the really artsy area.  We hopped off on the opposite side of the Square that we have frequenting and went up and down another side streets then back to check out the street vendors de jour.  Let me tell you, this is no discount swap meet.  These people get top dollar for their jewelry and barely negotiate. They drop the price right off the bat but that's it. For example the day before I saw a pearl and turquoise necklace that I liked. Very similar to the one I liked last time. She said "its $150 but I'll let me have it for $140".  The pearls were freshwater. I thought it was too expensive.  Paul said he’d buy it for me but I decided against it.  He bought me a beautiful turquoise necklace last time we were here and I have a real pearl necklace that was his Mom's.  Today I saw a really nice bracelet. It was sliver with a lot of inlay and etchings.  It was $180 but I could have it for $170.  I said I’d think about it.  Again Paul offered to buy it for me but I’m not sure I’d wear it often enough to justify that much money.  I totally appreciate all the work that goes into these pieces, they aren't popped off an assembly line so maybe I’m just being too frugal.  Dunno.  After we walked around a while we went back to the bar at the Inn so Paul could watch the football game.  I ordered a Texas Tic.  
Southwest version of Irish Coffee
I stayed in the bar for a while before leaving him there and going up to the room.  The cleaning lady hadn’t been in yet, she was in the room across the hall.  When she saw me I told her to knock when she was ready to do our room and I would leave.  I laid down for 15 minute cat-nap before she knocked.  I went back down and sat in the bar which was quite crowded.  They do a booming business here not only with the tourists but also with the locals. I went up to the room, grabbed my laptop and out to the balcony with some snacks since we skipped lunch.
After the game was over Paul went out to the balcony for a while.  I was writing when the maintenance man knocked to clean out and set up the fireplace.  I told him about the smoke situation last night.  He looked up inside, laid down on his back and practically climbed in.  The flue was stuck so he yanked and pulled and tugged until he got it open.  When he got out his hands were completely black with soot.  He said “I’ll be right back”.  He washed up and came back and got the wood set up for tonight. Paul laid down for a little while and dozed off while watching another game.  When he got up we had about two hours until our dinner reservation at the Pink Adobe.  We wondered back down to the Square and up to the Loretto Chapel but it was almost closing time so we didn’t go in.  More wondering around the area and darting in and out of stores. 
Where's Waldo?
There was an olive oil store and Paul was amazed that there were so many varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  Row after row after row!  Finally it was time to walk down to the restaurant.  It wasn’t open yet.  The hostess told us we could wait at the bar next door.  “It’s a local neighborhood bar which is both child and pet friendly”. Of which we had neither with us so not sure why the endorsement unless she meant it as a warning.  Who knows?  We waited on the bench outside.  The restaurant was an adobe home in its past.  The rooms were cozy.  She offered us a table right in front of the fireplace but we opted for the table next to it instead because I was worried it would be too warm.  Our server was Adam.  Their menu had a strange variety of French, American, and Southwest cuisine.  We split a crab cake appetizer and it was really good.  The bread basket had two kinds of bread and they were both good.  One was a French bread and the other zucchini.  Paul ordered Tournedos Bordelaise “tender perfectly-sized steak atop a puff pastry, topped with a mushroom cap and homemade bordelaise sauce, served with spinach and a browned potato”.  
I decided on the Seafood Enchiladas “a perfect combination of lobster, shrimp and crab in rolled blue corn tortillas covered with a green chile lobster bisque and cheese”.  It came with rice, beans and posole.  
When they brought our food, his steak was cold and my enchiladas were luke warm.  They took them back and apologized.  The manager came over and said they were remaking both dishes and that dessert would be on the house.  Our server felt so bad that when Paul ordered a second glass of wine he said it was on him and asked if I wanted a drink too.  No thank you.  When they brought the food out it was perfect.  Everything was delicious. The green chile lobster bisque was amazing.  I liked it much better than the traditional red sauce they typically pour over enchiladas at home.  My only complaint would be the seafood in my enchiladas was chopped fine.  I would have preferred chunks but it still really good. 
We got Rosalea’s Legendary French Apple Pie ala Mode for dessert.  
M-M-Good.  The restaurant was packed when we left. 
I give this restaurant a good rating even though the food wasn't hot.  They more than made up for it. 
The walk back to the Inn was nice.  A little chilly but not to bad.  It was definitely closer than I thought it was.  We seemed to be back “home” in no time.  Paul started the fire and this time we did not end up with a smoke filled room. :two::thumbs::up:

Monday 11-13-17

We started off with the breakfast buffet.  This morning they had some kind of breakfast casserole instead of pancakes. Everything else was the same.  We decided to do a historical walking tour but we had about an hour to kill.  We went over to St. Francis Church. It was open yet.

Hangin with the locals
Keteri Tekakwitha, the first Indian in North America to become a Saint

La Conquistadora, Mother of Life
at the prayer gardens at St. Francis of Assisi 
Around the corner was another prayer garden, Stations of the Cross.  That one was so emotional that I didn’t take any pictures.  We walked around the other side of the Church where there were more statues, mostly bronze.

Paul reading "every" plaque! 
By then it was time to head over to the meeting place for the walking tour.  Are you ready for your history lesson? 
Tour guide Josh in the black hat
The tour guide Josh started off saying its a two hour tour which he will go over the history of Santa Fe, the architecture, the food, primarily the difference between New Mexican, Mexican, and Southwest.  He also was going to tell us how instrumental the Jews were in building the St. Francis Church.  That story is in my Santa Fe TravelBlog four years ago ( Santa Fe 2013 TravelBlog ) so I won't recap it again here.  He started off talking about how when they tore down the JC Penny’s to put up the Plaza in the 50s the demo revealed an old fort on the site.  The builders and the Historic Preservation Society butted heads but it was two years prior to laws being in effect for historic preservation so the builders prevailed.  Across the plaza he pointed out the different architecture.  From Adobe to French.  When the soldiers came to Santa Fe they brought their fancy pants wives from big cities like Chicago and New York.  They we very fashionable, wore brightly colored dresses, were very social, and had afternoon tea.  He pointed out the adobe building where the balcony was recessed.  The Indian women would go outside to get some fresh air and try to stay back and anonymous.  Down the street was the French balcony where the big city women would stand outside to show off their bright dresses and would call down to people walking by inviting them up for tea.  
If you click on the picture you can really see the difference.
From there we walked across from where the street vendors are.  Josh said the prefer to be called Indians.  They don’t mind being called Native Americans but they have no need for "our" forced political correctness.  They are proud to be Indians.  They have to belong to a Pueblo in order to put their blankets down and sell on the streets.  Their work is authentic.  He said you should expect to pay $100 to $300 for their jewelry.  I guess the stuff I saw was not overpriced. He suggested talking to them and asking what Pueblo they are from and what their trademark is.  He said some of them will let you take their pictures but not pictures of their jewelry.  They are afraid you will send it to the Philippines to make cheap versions of their art like they sell in the brightly lit touristy shops for more money.  We went to 109 East Palace. 
It was the office in Santa Fe for the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.  The Manhattan Project, where they made atomic bombs during WWII.  It was a secret portal where people entered through the back alley and were whisked away to Los Alamos. 
"All the men and women who made the first atomic bomb
passed through this portal to their secret mission at Los Alamos. 
Their creation in 27 months of the weapons that ended World War II
was one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time" 
Then he explained the different Mexican food types.  New Mexican food is very simple using very few ingredients and mostly beef and pork along with whatever they grow locally. Mexican Food is more complex with up to 30 ingredients to make a dish, like Mole for example.  Southwest or Tex Mex is where you'll find burritos, nachos, fajitas, hard shell tacos. All things covered with cheese!  He said the burrito originated as a small bite, where you would take a small piece of tortilla and pick up a small amount of beef or pork and eat it very daintily.  He said leave it to the American's to turn it into a monster roll with a huge tortilla stuffed until it's about to burst when you roll it!  From there we went to the St. Francis Church.  That picture above of the statue of Kateri Tekakwitha - He said there was no press release, she appeared in the middle of the night a couple of years ago.  He thinks it was an olive branch from the Catholics to the Indians.  He also said history reveals she would have never dressed like that!   From there to the Larrado Church for a little history of the mysterious staircase.  I detailed that in my TravelBlog last time we were here ( Santa Fe 2013 TravelBlog ) so I won't recap again here.
After we left the Church we congregated outside for Q&A.  Our two hour tour lasted about 2.5.  Did you learn anything?

From there we walked to Canyon Road. 
Hangin with the locals.
Wood carvings on the way to Canyon Rd.
We walked around but I didn’t really enjoy it that much. When were were here before it was art galleries and gift shops and restaurants.   Now it’s all high end art galleries, no regular gift shops and most of the restaurants have closed.  As beautiful as the art is, it’s not my thing.  I prefer the chotzky shops.  We waited for the Santa Fe Pickup but it was taking a while so we decided to walk back.  We went back to the Square to see if the lady was there with the bracelet I liked but she wasn’t.  Maybe tomorrow.  Back to the Inn for some R&R until dinner time. 

We went down to the lobby for Sherry and Tea Time.  I might have to buy some Sherry when we get home.  I’m getting used to this 4 p.m. ritual.  Then we ventured out again and hit a couple of stores we hadn’t checked out yet.  We went into a nice men’s shop where Paul found a leather belt he liked. The owner was really nice.  They were talking about belt sizes and the man said he read an article that said October is the month that most people are the lowest weight they will be the rest of the year.  Makes sense with the holidays coming up.  We had 5:30 reservations at Café Pasqual.  Everything is fresh and organic.  I had wanted to go there last time but we never made it.  It was on a Food Network episode of Chuck Eats the Streets.  The man at the men’s store said the food is good and the portions are generous.  He said he always skips the soup, salad and/or appetizer so he can have dessert after his entrée.  I’m kind of the same way.  I’d much rather save room for dessert, but that my sugar whore talking.  We got a great table in the elevated front corner of the restaurant.  
The ambiance was nice, the food and service were both fantastic.  Sorry, I didn’t get the name of our server but she could work in my restaurant!  Paul started with the soup of the day which was Green Chile with Chicken.  I had a couple of bites before he started eating (he thinks I get his germs) and it was really good.  I had one of the specials which was Braised Balsamic Short Ribs with Sautéed Spinach and Soft Polenta.  
The plate looks messy (Anne Burrell would not approve)
but the short ribs were super tender and fell off the bone (as they should)
Paul had Yucatan Cochinita Pibil “Slow Cooked Becker Lane Organic Pork Shoulder, Orange and Lime Juices, Banana Leaf Wrap, Fried Plantains, Sautéed Squash, Habanero Onions, White Corn Tortillas”.
Inside the banana leaf is porky deliciousness 
For dessert we shared Affogato, “Espresso poured over our Coffee Ice Cream with Shaved Chocolate, Cocoa Nibs and Chantilly Cream“. Everything was super flavorful. I highly recommend this place.  They also do a big breakfast business.  
ETA - strike that about our server working in MY restaurant.  Paul said she overcharged for his wine.  He had a glass with dinner and a dessert wine after.  She charged for two of the wine he had for dinner, which was higher priced than the dessert wine.  tsk-tsk

We walked back to the Inn where I sat by the fire writing and he watched Monday Night Football.   Its almost like being home, except the writing by the fire part…

Tuesday 11-13-17

Our last full day in Santa Fe.  Currently it’s 35*, says real feel is 26* but I think that’s wrong. It doesn’t feel THAT cold on my balcony. Its so sunny out that I have a horrible glare on my screen. High today is predicted to be 65*.  We really have had beautifully weather. They say its typically colder here this time of year.  After breakfast we plan on going to the History Museum.  Paul is sleeping in so we may miss the buffet here today and have breakfast elsewhere. TBD.  I don't want to wake him because he's still sick so rest is good.  
Last night they had to bring a space heater up because the heat was blowing in cold air.  I mentioned it when we went to breakfast and again when we went down for Sherry.  Maintenance was already gone for the day.  We got up to the room and the front desk lady was in the room plugging in the heater.  
FTM everyday at Sherry and Tea Time, they have little cookies out called Biscochito.  Yesterday I noticed they had the recipe printed out to take that also has a little history included.  It’s basically like a sugar cookie with a little crushed anise seed in the dough, rolled, shaped and dipped in cinnamon and sugar before baking.  The history says it was developed by residents of New Mexico over the centuries from the first Spanish colonists.  It is served during special celebrations, such as wedding receptions, baptisms, and religious holidays, especially during the Christmas season.  In 1989 the State of New Mexico adopted the Biscochito as its official state cookie.  This made New Mexico the first state to have an official cookie. Mini history lesson of the morning.  
BTW - the Sherry lady said not dare substitute the LARD for Crisco or butter.  They won't turn out.

We don’t have a restaurant picked out for dinner yet. We were debating about going back to one of favorites from last time or trying something different.  I think we’re leaning towards something different.  Maybe The Shed.  TBD.  Check back later for a full report! 

We got downstairs in plenty of time for breakfast. The rotating dish today was Churros which were awful.  They looked chocolate and when I broke a piece off there was cream inside and they were hard a rock. Definitely would benefit from being dipped in your morning coffee.  First bad thing we've had here.  Luckily there was plenty of food options to make up for it.  After breakfast we had about an hour before the New Mexico History Museum opened.  We checked out the street vendors to see if the bracelet lady was there but she wasn’t.  Paul said let this be a lesson that if I like something I should buy it.  I told him I don’t like to make an impulse buy when spending that much money.  I’d rather not have it than have buyers remorse.  The museum is three stories.  The upstairs exhibit changes periodically.   This time its Voices of Counterculture of the Southwest, or as Paul calls it the Hippie Era.  
We started off on the main level which captures the early years where settlers were moving in to take over the land.  I was a little obsessed with the old trunks and strongboxes.  Imagine having to put your belongings into one big box and hitting the trail to unknown parts.

Downstairs was a little more modern era when New Mexico became a State in 1912.  They had a cool exhibit about the history of cigar box art.
We went across the courtyard to the Governor’s Mansion which didn’t look like they’ve rotated any of the pieces on display.  It was exactly the same as it was four years ago.
Except this rusty relic in the courtyard:
I'm a sucker for these things!
We went back across and up to the third floor for the more modern exhibit which included a VW bus and all kinds of photos of people in the 60's totally stoned.  We left there and on the way back to the Inn I stopped at the food wagon that has been on the corner of the Square smelling good every day. I got a red chile pork tamale for two bucks.  It may have been the best tamale I’ve ever had. Seriously.  

Relaxing now for about an hour until Sherry and Tea Time.  Still no dinner plan.  We checked the menu at the Shed which looked okay but he’d rather go somewhere upscale on our last night.  Still TBD.

And the verdict is… a repeat from four years ago, The Coyote Café.  When we arrived they weren’t quite open yet. (Do you see a pattern here?) We were waiting and Paul asked me something about the last time we were there. I told him I wrote the food was excellent but the service was horrible. On a 1 to 5 star rating I gave the food a 5, the bus boy a 5 and the server a 2. I pulled up my blog from our last visit and scrolled down to the restaurant review.  He was reading it when they called our name.  I started toward the hostess but he was still reading.  I didn’t want her to think he was being rude on the phone so I said “he’s just reading the review I wrote last time we were here”.  He didn’t hear me because he was lagging behind.  When we got to the table he showed her the picture of my lobster and asked her if it still looked like it did four years ago.  She said “pretty much”.  They sat us at a small side L-shaped table that was awkward.  Paul didn’t like the seating arrangement and I didn’t like how cramped the table was.  When a man came over to ask what type of water we wanted I asked him if they had a larger table available.  He went and asked the hostess. He came back and said we could have any table we wanted.  We chose a nice booth directly across from the cramped table.  As soon as we sat down the manager came over and said “I hear you’ve been here before.  We’d like to welcome you back with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine”.  He gave us each a glass. How nice.  Our server was Kristin.  Paul ordered a glass of wine.  It took us a while to order because Paul was weighing over his options (so many good sounding choices).  He finally decided on the lamb chops.  I ordered the lobster.  I have a hard time resisting lobster, especially when I know it was good here last time. If you've read my blog before you know lobster my Happy Meal.  We decided to skip the soup or salad and save room for dessert.  After she took our order and her assistant brought us bread.  Another duo basket with hot country loaf and cornbread.  She brought little demi-mugs (think espresso cups) of their cauliflower bisque soup. “Just a little something while you're waiting.”  It was really delicious and I don’t even like cauliflower!  Our entrées were as fantastic as they were beautiful.
Mesquite Grilled Maine Lobster Tails over Pappardelle, Organic Spring Onions, Cabbage, Spicy Chile.

Colorado Lamb Chops with Rosemary Feta Mashed Potatoes, Local Vegetables, Fig Mole.
Half way through my entrée Kristin came back and said “I brought you a complementary splash of Mer Soleil Chardonnay because I think it pairs well with the lobster”.  Thank you very much.  It was really good.  Nice and crisp and light. After our entrées she brought the dessert menu.  Everything sounded good to me so I told Paul he had to decide.  He picked the banana cream pie.

Caramelized Bananas, Orange Sauce, Italian Meringue, Vanilla Ice Cream.
Half way through our dessert she brought us both a complementary glass of a dessert wine, again saying she thought it paired well.  Everything was fantastic.  This time I gave them 5 stars across the board.
Paul noticed other tables were not getting complimentary alcohol with their meals.  Hmmmmm, that's weird.  He thought maybe when he showed the hostess the picture from last time, they thought I was a restaurant critic! Ha! I told him "food blogger maybe". That's a popular thing these days.  Or possibly the manager overheard when I told Paul last time the food was excellent but the service was horrible.  Either way, he picks this meal as the best of this trip. Not because of the freebies, but because the food and service were both excellent.

Wednesday 11-15-17

Once again all good things must come to an end.  It’s time to leave this old city and head back to reality.
Yes, Paul is still sick.  He’s off the rest of this week and will probably spend it in bed.  Good old fashioned chicken soup is on his agenda. 
On our agenda today is to pack, have breakfast and wait for our shuttle to pick us up at 11:40 a.m.

I’ll do one last update when we get home with today's activities.  I'll also do a review of the Inn of the Governors with some photos of the room.  There may be some other random photos as well.

Although the breakfast buffet has a lot of variety, if we were staying longer we would have gone out to breakfast or skipped breakfast and had an early lunch.  That being said after we packed we went down to breakfast.  The rotation dish of the day was “chile and cheese quesadillas”.  Neither one of us ate much knowing we’d grab lunch at the airport.  After breakfast we walked around the Square one last time and spent some time in St. Francis Church. 
This is the alter of the original church before expansion.  Our tour guide said La Conquistadora has 200 outfits.  The ladies of the church change her clothes every month.  Really?!?!
Back to the room to check out and wait for the shuttle.  Our pick up time was scheduled for 11:40 a.m.  He arrived at 11:39.  There were already four passengers inside.  He drove up the block and around the corner and said we had 10 minutes to wait for the next passengers.  Two more people boarded in exactly 10 minutes and off we went, party of 8.  We arrived at the airport about two hours prior to departure time.  Checked our bags and went to the Rio Grande Brew Pub for lunch.  I had a burger which was really good.  He had a Southwest Cheesesteak.  Next time I would pass on the onion rings.  Just sayin’.
Our flight left right on time.  We arrived in Phoenix early.  Our luggage came down fairly quickly.  Jay was waiting for us at the curb.  I missed my sister and my muchkins.  A special great big thank you to my sister for staying with and taking such good care of my bowsers.  And to Jay for not only airport shuttle service but for staying at her house to take care of her FurBabyCats. 

Recap of the Inn of the Governors:
We had a suite which features a sleeping area, living room, fireplace and balcony.
Second sink with mini-bar below
(full bathroom to the right)

The pros:
The room was nice and very conveniently located to downtown (the Square).  They say its two blocks but they are very short blocks. 
The room was squeaky clean; the place is well maintained.
They include the breakfast buffet every morning; Sherry and Tea Time every afternoon.
Every afternoon a maintenance worker cleans out the fireplace and sets it up for the next fire.  There is extra wood in the room as well as stacked out in the hallway. 
We booked with them directly so unbeknownst to us we also received a $15.00 daily credit for the bar and/or restaurant.  We only took advantage of that once when Paul was watching football.
They also include free parking which a lot of places do not.  We obviously didn’t need that this time.

The cons:
Issues with the fireplace flue being stuck.  One would think they would notice the black soot on the fireplace and realize there's been smoke issues.  This picture was taken upon arrival, before we used it.  It looks to be a regular problem.  I checked the travels photos on TripA and NONE of the fireplace photos looked like this.  
The thermostat in the room didn’t work.  We put the heat on (mostly because Paul was sick) and it was blowing cold air. It would not go above 65*. I mentioned it at the front desk when we left in the morning.  Later in the day it was still blowing cold air (yes it was turned to heat).  I asked again at the front desk after Sherry and Tea Time and was told that maintenance had already left for the day.  She confirmed that it was written down in the morning.  Why was it ignored? Nobody knows. She brought up a space heater as a compromise.  The next day maintenance left a card that they checked out the thermostat and the system was operational.  At that time it was up to 70* and no longer blowing cold air.  When we got back from dinner it was back to 65* and blowing cold air again and we hadn't touched the settings.  Operational aye?
The staff was mostly nice, friendly and helpful except one cranky lady at the front desk a couple of mornings. 

Because of the fireplace and thermostat issues I give 4 out 5 stars, and yes we would stay there again.  

Random photos:
The lone flower (side-by-side)
growing out of a crack between the bricks and column
The Square early in the morning.
Street vendors start to gather up against the Museum wall

Painted columns at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
Garden at the Inn by front entry
Rooms across from the porte-cochere at the Inn

Main Alter at St Francis

Very cool door and archway at the old Library

I saved you a seat
this was in the courtyard at 109 East Palace
Thank you for traveling with us.  
Next stop ~ TBD ~ suggestions welcome!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Maui, Hawaii ~ July 2017

Sunday July 16, 2017
Vacation off to a slow start. 
Diane, Jay and I were up early and off to the airport for our long awaited trip to Hawaii. We boarded the plane and got all settled in with our pre-departure cocktails. 
Mamosa Time
Mechanical problems with the plane had us sitting on the plane for an hour and a half until they finally found another plane but we had to wait for it. American Airlines was very accommodating and gave us sandwhiches, chips, cookies and beverages. 5 hour delay was cut down to 4.5 because they were able to turn the plane quickly and everyone boarded without issues. Pre-Departure cocktail # 2
Vodka Cranberry, be kind to your kidneys!
And away we go! 
We had coordinated flights with Janet who was flying in from LAX, scheduled to arrive 10 minutes before us. Her flight was about 15 minutes early so she had almost 5 hours to wait for us.  Bummer way to start off our trip.
Our luggage came down quickly so off to the rental car place.  Jay had called from Phoenix to let them know we had a 5 hour delay and they said “no problem, your vehicle will be waiting”.  Not so fast.  Our vehicle was GONE.  Ugg.  He had upgraded to a large SUV.  They had a SUV for us but said they couldn’t do anything about the rate because it was pre-paid.  DUDE – it’s called a refund!  Anyhow they said if we didn’t like this one they would deliver the vehicle he paid for to wherever we wanted on Monday.  This vehicle is fine so Jay will call Budget and have them refund the difference between the rates.  SO FINALLY – off we go!.
We made our way to the condo at 7 p.m. and the office was closed.  There was a lock box but we don’t have a code. Hmmmmm.  There was a phone box that said #30 for the on-site property manager.  I called, no answer.  Two minutes later a woman came up and said “did you try to call me?”  She opened the box and gave us the envelope with the keys.  NOW we can start our vacay.  Yay!  The condo is BEAUTIFUL and the ocean view is amazing.
View from standing in the living room
We were all hungry after a day of airport/airplane food so we ventured out but first stop was to walk down to the beach and put our feet in the water.  Heavenly.  We ended up going to Leilanie’s at Whaler’s Village for dinner.
Maui rainbow

1st Sunset
Janet and I with the obligatory "first" Mai-Tai. *So*De*Lish*

The ladies decided on appetizers, no entrees. 
Diane and I split a tomato/mozzarella salad and an order of crab cakes
Janet had coconut shrimp appetizer and a wedge salad.  Jay had seafood pasta.  Everything was excellent.  We wandered our way back through the shopping center and stopped at the ABC Store for flip flops, bottled water and snacks.  Ventured back to the condo and unpacked.  By then it was 10 p.m. Hawaii time (1 a.m. California/Arizona time) so we were all pretty tired. Off to bed. 

Monday July 17, 2017
Wide awake at 5 a.m.  Who needs sleep?  I figured I’d SF&P (shower, fluff and puff) and go out to he lanai to blog.  
Beautiful morning in Paradise from the lanai
As I got downstairs Diane was walking out of her bedroom with her phone in hand.  Dennis called so she thought something had happened back home.  He thought we were three hours later, not earlier.  There was a bad monsoon last night which left behind lots of damage and took out one of the marinas.  I called Paul and he said everything was fine at home, random trees down on his way to work.  All is well.

No idea what we are going to do today but I can guarantee a good time will be had.  
Jay went up to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and brought back some cooked sausage that we shared. Linguica, Hawaii’s version of Portuguese Sausage.  It was kind of like a sweet chorizo. Plus some pineapple sausage. Both were very good. We headed north and drove around the top of the island.  It’s a long and windy road with some really narrow passages and hairpin turns that can make your stomach do flips but so incredibly beautiful. 

Old cemetery along the way  
We went for lunch at Kahului Ale House.  I ordered an Asian Chicken Salad and Diane ordered Fish ‘ N Chips so we shared a little.  Janet and Jay had wraps.  Back in the car and continuing north then down the island to Kula Botanical Gardens.  That was really nice.  There weren’t many people there.  We meandered around there for a while taking pictures at the gorgeous Koi Pond and lots be pretty flowers. 

Nene in the bird sanctuary
Poisonous AND Toxic! Let's not venture into the Tabu Gardens! 
We supported the gift shop!  I bought some earrings and Janet bought a bracelet for herself and a couple of souvenirs.  Back in the vehicle and down to Lahaina.  We stopped at Banyan Treats for an ice cream. 
I had Pa'uwela Sunset: orange dreamsicle with pineapple tidbits that was super good and very refreshing.  We walked down to where the tour boats sail from.  We had planned on taking a dinner cruise Thursday night but ruled it out after getting more info. Then we checked out some more shops.
I never pass up on a scooter op!
We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to the condo. Coffee, water, fruit and apparently we needed more snacks! None of us felt like going back out so we decided it would be a Pizza and Pajamas Nite.  We ordered in from Dolly’s which was highly recommended by Donna (Diane’s friend since Jr. High and like our sister from another mister).  

FTM I woke up Itchy McScratchy and when I went to shower I discovered a bug bite the size of a tennis ball.  I put on After Bite, Sting Ease and Magical Healing Salve (not all at the same time).  The itching stopped but the redness was lingering.  Diane wanted to stop and get benadryl but I remembered I had an allergy pill with me so I took that.  A few hours later the redness and heat had calmed down.

Tuesday July 18, 2017
Up early, SF&P and down stairs.  Diane was up and Jay got up shortly thereafter.  It was about 5:30 by then and the sun was almost up.  There was a nice ocean breeze.  I told her this is the time I like to go for a walk on the beach.  She said “lets go” so we left Janet a note and off the three of us went.  We walked the stretch of beach in front of our condo from one end to the other.
Then we walked through the property and out to the main road and walked a bit passing a mixture of McMansions and a homeless camping spot on the beach.  

Ocean Princess,
guardian of the homeless camp
When we got back to the condo Jay went up to get his keys and we took a little drive to check out the local area.  Shhhhhh, don’t wake Janet.

Agenda today is breakfast and then we’ll see where the road leads.  Stay tuned.
I don't typically do the "toes in the sand" pics but...
all this colorfullness on the lanai had to make its way into the blog! 
We had breakfast at Jazzy Java which was pretty good.  Diane and I had Bagel fwith Lox and Cream Cheese.  Jay and Janet had the traditional breakfast with eggs, potatoes, breakfast meat (one with bacon, one with Portuguese Sausage), toast.  Its an adorable eclectic place.
Then off to the Maui Winery but first a stop at a fruit stand on the side of the road for pineapple and some little cake breads for tomorrow morning. 

What do you feed your Dragon?  Mine likes fruit!
Another long car ride on a twisty windy road but when we arrived the view was amazing.  Gorgeous property but the wine was meh.  They give you a choice of three different tastings.  I had my three plus a sip of one of Jay’s, one of Diane’s and one of Janet’s.  There wasn’t one wine I would go through the trouble of taking home.   I would still recommend going up there to wander around their beautiful property.
Fig Tree

We ate pineapple in the parking lot before leaving
We left there and ventured down to Kehei.  I wanted to go to Moose McGillycuddy’s to get a tank top for Paul. His 30 year old one finally wore out! They’ve closed the one in Lahaina so we had to go to Kehei. No tank tops, just t-shirts so t-shirt it is.  While we were there we had a beverage.  They may have been alcohol involved!
Lahaina Lemonade on the left; Mai-Tai on the right.
Then we stopped at an open marketplace and meandered through the shops.  We supported the local vendors. ;-)
Back in the car and headed towards the condo but not without a stop at the local ABC Store.  This one had a regular deli counter with hot foods, etc.  Chey had told Diane that we HAD to try the Musubi. Cedar said it was good too. When we were waiting at the airport Diane and I were talking about it and the lady behind us said "that's SOOO good". It’s a square of rice about the size of a Twinkie with a wrap of seaweed around the center.  It looks like sushi but it has spam on top instead of fish. It did not sound or look appealing but we took one for the team. 
It wasn't horrible but I won't be having another! 
Diane, Janet and I walked down to the beach to put our feet in the ocean while strolling up and down the stretch in front of the condo.  Then we stopped at the foot shower to wash off the sand before putting our feet in the pool. 
We had decided earlier in the day that dinner would be LOBSTER!  We asked Mr. Google for a few recommendations and ended up at the Lahaina Fish Company on front street.  We had a cocktail at the bar while waiting for our table.  The quoted 20 minute wait was about 7 minutes.  We had a corner table upstairs that was just perfect. 
Diane and I both had the Twin Tails, Janet had the Prime Rib/Lobster Combo, Jay had Prime Rib.  The prime rib was marketed as “award winning”.   Jay thought it was under seasoned but Janet said it excellent.  The entrees were all delicious. The lobster was cooked to perfection. The bread was yummy and I especially liked the soft butter sprinkled with pink sea salt.  Everything came with mashed potatoes (no choices).  The mashed could have stayed in the pot.  
My Happy Meal
We skipped dessert and walked down to Banyan Treats for an ice cream. 

Wednesday July 19, 2017

Today we’re going to the BEACH.  We’ll have some morning snacks, go to the beach, have fish tacos for lunch at a place we discovered before we left, go to the Mai-Tai Party on the property and then back to Kehei to hook up with my friends Doug and Tony.  BusyBusyDay.  Making the most of every minute.  

Hangin' with the locals.
Jay took this picture across the street from the Maui Winery the other day.
Paul said it looks like he's been replaced.  
As planned, Jay went to the store and bought sausages, some kind of scrambled eggs, coffee cake and juice.  We had casual breakfast on the lanai. Then we loaded up the cooler, lounge chairs, boogie boards and towels and headed to the beach.
Shleping our stuff to the beach
Aloha from my little slice of Paradise
Jay, our Sherpa, went back to the car to get pineapple, water, chips.  He's a trooper
Around noon we packed up and went to The Fish Market for Baja Fish Tacos.  It was the first place we put on our to-do list when we planned this trip. Rated as the Best Fish Tacos in Maui.  They were super good.  The fish was crispy on the out side, tender on the inside, the cabbage was crunchy, the salsa was fresh and a little bite to it but not too much, the crema was just the right amount. Perfection in a tortilla.
We each had one taco and split one order of fries.  Plenty-o-Food
We decided to head back to the condo and go relax at the pool for a while.
My sister, the bag lady, carrying ALL of our bags back to the condo
I stopped into the office with one of our chairs.  My friend Doug works for a property management company and this is one of his properties. Who knew? He had emailed Vicky, the manager, as soon as he found out we were staying here.  She was very welcoming when I walked in and took one look at the chair and immediately got up to take it from me and grab another.  I told her (joking not sassy) “instead of four Tommy Bahama Beach Chairs, we had three plus a random chair which would have been fine except when you sit in it, it collapses and you fall into the ocean”.  I’m not telling which one us did THAT but I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t Jay!  She gave me a TB chair and said “this is the one that belongs in your unit”.  Hmm, was this a test?  Diane said someone probably left it somewhere and thought they lost it so replaced it with a cheesy one.  Dunno. 
We went to the pool.
We had this beautiful pool all to ourselves 
Then back to the condo to SF&P and get ready for the Mai-Tai Party.  We’ve been singing
“Oh we’re goin’ to a hukilau”
“Oh we’re goin’ to a hukilau”
“Everybody loves a hukilau”.
With a little hula dance added in to get in the mood.
It was nice but I’m not sure why everyone says don’t miss it.  They had Mai-Tia’s, pineapple, some snacks like chips and chex mix.  There was also entertainment and a drawing for logo items.  Jay won a shirt.
We left there and went back down to Kehei to meet Doug and Tony at the Tiki Lounge.  It was so good to see them.  I’ve known Doug for 29 years.  He’s lived on Maui for 13. I saw them last when Paul and I were here 9 years ago.
There is a possibility there was some ass pinching going on!
Doug on YOUR left, Tony is on MY left.
Love these two guys!
By the time we got back it was almost 10.  Jay went to bed.  Diane was reading and Janet was on her tablet so I took that as a sign that it was time for me to go to bed too. 

Thursday July 20, 2017
Today we are going to breakfast, going to the Ritz to walk their beautiful cliff walking path, going to the BEACH and then back to SF&P and go somewhere nice for dinner.  At least that’s the plan…

All things subject to change.  We were going to go to the Gazebo for breakfast but it was at least an hour wait. There is no "name taking list", you just stand in line where there isn't any shade. We went to Slappy Cakes instead. The wait there was 40 minutes. Slappy Cakes is a pancake house with grills in the middle of each table so you can make your own pancakes.  We all opted for ordering off the menu.  
I had Banana Bread French Toast

Diane had Avocado Benedict
Janet got a Mushroom Scramble and Jay had Buttermilk Pancakes. 
Everything was good.  Instead of a walk at the Ritz we went to the Maui Tropical Plantation.  We did the tram ride tour which was nice. 

Tram driver demo of how to husk and crack open a coconut  

Feeding the fish and the ducks
We went to the Maui Dive Shop. There was a dress shop next door.  Support your local businesses! 
We went back to the Fish Market for one more Baja Fish Taco.  So yummy. 
Then we drove down to the Ritz Carlton and took a walk around their property.
Puttin' on the Ritz
Hammock aka Sister Swing
Back to the condo so for some pool time.  This time we didn’t have the pool to ourselves but there weren’t many people there. 
Janet in the Pastor's Mom's pool float
Did I mention Janet’s Pastor is here?  Same week, same condo complex.  What were the odds? They come here every year and usually stay in the same unit. He’s traveling with his Mom and Dad, brother and niece.  His Mom and Dad were at the pool when we got there.  He arrived shortly thereafter so we chit-chatted with them for a while. 
Back to the condo to SF&P to get ready for dinner.
Dinner at Kimo's.  We had a nice table overlooking the ocean.  We started with cocktails.  
How about a Wicked Wahini?
The ladies did appetizers, no entrees again.  Diane and I had Beet Salad with Pears and Goat Cheese; Janet had the Caesar.  The three of us had Shrimp Cocktail.  Janet also had Seafood Chowder and Diane had Coconut Shrimp.  
This was not my favorite.  The salad was boring and the dressing was not very flavorful. The arugula didn't seem as fresh as it should be. The shrimp cocktail was good but zero presentation appeal for a nice restaurant.  Typically they hang them off the edge of a martini glass with ice.  These were lazily just tossed on a plate.
Diane's Coconut Shrimp at top of the photo
Jay had Parmesan Crusted Opa. Janet had been wanting for Hula Pie all week so FINALLY... 
Janet in her Happy Place
I would recommend going there for the dessert after having dinner elsewhere. After dinner we walked up Front Street for a bit before heading back to the condo.

I probably won't be able to updated tomorrow's activities/photos until I get home.  I'm sure there will be time at the airport but I'm going to assume I won't have internet access.  Here's the plan:
Check out time is 11 so we'll probably leave around 10:30 because Janet has an appointment for a tattoo at 11. When she’s done we’ll have lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Then do some last minute shopping and then to the Aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center.  Our flight leaves at 9 p.m.; Janet’s at 9:55 so I image we should be at the car rental place around 7.  

Friday, July 21, 2017
I do have time for two quick photos.
Our last dawn on the lanai:
Our last Maui morning walk on the beach:
Bed Hair ~ Don't Care
First things first, Jay went up to the store and brought some breakfast meats (a variety of sausages and some bacon).  We had that out on the lanai with our cake breads and fresh pineapple.  
We packed up all our leftover snacks, coffee, etc and took them to the Pastor and his family.  We talked to him for a bit before saying Aloha.  As planned we checked out around 10:30 and dropped Janet off at the tattoo place.  Diane, Jay and I went to the Harley shop for t-shirts.  Then we mowsied through the stores and took some pictures at the Banyan Tree.

We continued down Front Street and, once again, supported the local businesses!  As we got close to Cheeseburger in Paradise, Janet text'd me that she was done.  Perfect timing.  
Cheeseburger ~ in Paradise

Diane had Fish n Chips.
Who knew a cheeseburger place would have such beautiful fish?
We did a little more last minute shopping before heading out to the Aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center.
The aquarium was very nice and and in such a beautiful setting.

Jelly's are my favorite

Don't be Jelly!

Ginormous Stingray
And now it's time to say aloha to this beautiful island.  Off to the airport.  This time our flight was right on time.  TYJ.

Quick recap:
The weather could not have been better.  We had a few sprinkles of rain here and there but they never lasted more than a few minutes.  It was about 80* everyday with fantastic trade-winds that Maui is famous for.  The humidity wasn't bad.  It was not crowded as I expected it to be in the middle of summer vacation time.
The Kahana Village was very nice.  The unit looked exactly like the pictures (which is not always the case). These condos are individually owned and rented out by the on-site property management company.  Because they are individually owned they are all decorated differently, as opposed to a hotel or resort where every unit is exactly the same. That's nice because you can look at the units (furnishings and views) before making your reservation instead of a unit randomly selected for you at a regular resort or condo. The view from our lanai was perfect. The only complaint about the furnishings in our unit was that the futon should be replaced. The futon is how our unit "sleeps 5".  We didn't need it so it wasn't a problem for us.  The property was beautiful and well maintained.  Part of the beach in front of the complex was rocky, especially in the morning when the tide was out. There was still enough sandy beach, although we would have liked more for our morning walks.  That being said larger beaches were just up the road.  We all said we would stay there again.

We did a lot of sightseeing. A lot of relaxing at the beach or at the pool.  A lot of eating!  A few cocktails!

The Best of the Best 
(in the World According to Patti):
Best Mai-Tai - Leilani's.
Best Dinner - Lahaina Fish Co., Twin Tails.
Best Lunch - The Fish Market, Baja Fish Tacos.
Best Dessert - Kimo's Hula Pie.
Best Breakfast - On our Lanai - compliments of Jay.
Best Shopping for Souvenirs - ABC Store!
Best Views - pretty much everywhere.  The twisty windy road north of Kahana is breathtaking.  The property at the Maui Winery was gorgeous.
Best Casual Activity/Entertainment - I don't think I can pick.  The Tropical Plantation was very nice as well as The Botanical Gardens.  The Aquarium was nicely done.
Of course there are all kinds of adventurous activities/entertainment like ziplines and parasailing that we did not partake in. 

Mahalo for traveling with us.