January 12, Mazatlán
"How many of you per room?" the woman at the registration desk of the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, outside of Mazatlán, asked incredulously.
"One," I said. I wondered why she was so confused until I saw my room, or rather my gigantic suite. Apart from a relatively cosy bedroom with two twin beds and adjacent bathroom, down the hallway was another bathroom and then a gigantic sort of all-purpose living room with fold-out couch and coffee table and kitchen with dishes and silverware, and a sunny breakfast table in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that looked onto the Sea of Cortez.
We arrived at around 6:30 p.m. and were checking out the following morning at 10, but I tried to use all the rooms anyway — it seemed a pity to waste them. I opened the windows with their beachside view and looked out of them a bit. I sat on each bed. I hung the one shirt I was going to wear the next day in the closet. I used different outlets to charge my cell phone and iPod. The next morning I made coffee, using the hotel's own filtered water. I shaved in one bathroom, bathed in another.
I really had to rush to use all of the facilities, because we were going into Mazatlán to shop and have dinner. I was behind in getting a Channukkah present for my niece. On the downside I felt guilty, but on the upside it gave me something to shop for, and I'm happy to report that I found good gifts that I'll have to send to her soon.
I guess I'd mentioned earlier to Jorge my desire to eat whatever ordinary Mexican food was available. So, with Jorge warning us that we definitely weren't going anywhere fancy, we hopped in the van and left Mazatlán's main shopping drag for the side streets. Jorge popped out periodically to ask directions.
We eventually ended up at Cenaduria Chayito.
This being Mazatlán, the waiters even in the back alleys spoke better English than some of our farm tour guides — at least in the realm of "May I take your order, sir?" and "Certainly, but we only serve beer indoors, not on the patio." Whether they would have been able to discuss the details of water filtration and rapid air-cooling of tomatoes with such aplomb is an open question.
We sat on the patio and I drank water while again quizzing Jorge on the food. It turns out that, according to Jorge, guacamole in Sinaloa is a thin purée. Chicken enchiiladas are accompanied by a light consommé that's drizzled on top.
Allison and I split a tasting platter for two, piled high with ribs and arracherra (flank steak) and a baked potato and other tasty hunks of protein.
The highlight was probably a local soda, a yummy vanilla drink called ToniCol — I had a sip of Allison's.
We repaired back to the hotel. As much as I wanted to wander from one room in my suite to the next, I instead hung out in the bar with some of the other food writers and, having realized that the citrus, sugar and salt in the margarita really get in the way if you start out with a good tequila, I had a couple of the latter and called it a night.