Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Pollo Lucas.
A hand-painted sign in the parking lot of Pollo Lucas On the curb.

Our exploring this weekend took us to a small fishing village in Mexico. Although it’s still a fishing village, Puerto Penasco has grown into a tourist resort town with towering condos and fancy restaurants. Our first trip there was at the end of March. I had asked our realtor, who owns a condo there, where we should eat. He told us his family’s very favorite restaurant was Pollo Lucas for chicken, rice and beans.

That didn’t sound exciting to me, I was on a quest for fresh seafood. So we skipped Pollo Lucas last trip. I remembered it this time and thought, “If it’s his family’s most favorite, maybe we should give it a try.”

Coca Cola Pollo Lucas sign
The Coca Cola sign with the restaurant name is how you spot it from the street.

The menu is simple: whole chicken, half chicken or quarter chicken. Chicken comes with garnishes of shredded cabbage, onions and home-made tortillas and salsa. Plus rice and beans for 180 pesos or nine dollars for the full chicken meal. That sounds wild right? Maybe I’m off the price for a few dollars.

Menu of Pollo Lucas
The chicken charbroiled on the grill and the menu in pesos.
Charcoal grilled chicken.
Under the grill is charcoal. What a hot job that would be!

My husband insisted on the full chicken, while I said we only needed a half. Boy, am I glad he insisted! We got about three meals plus snacks out of the best chicken I’ve tasted in my life! Juicy charbroiled chicken like I’ve never had before.

The beans, rice, tortillas and salsa were unbelievable, too.

chicken, beans, rice and salsa dinner in Mexico.
A full chicken dinner at Pollo Lucas.
Interior of Pollo Lucas.
The large tables sit under a tall palapas that is open air on several sides.
We shared a table with a Mexican family of several generations and took a ton of food home.
Original Coca Cola in Mexico.
I tried the super syrupy sweet original Coke that’s found in Mexico. Wow!

Yes, we’ll be back. This is at the top of our list for favorite restaurants in our new beach vacation town. Talk about winner winner chicken dinner!

What restaurants have you been to that compare to this find in Mexico? What’s the best chicken you’ve ever had?

A weekend in paradise

Sunset in Puerto Peñasco on Sandy Beach
Here’s the sunset view from Saturday night.

My husband has been dying to go to Puerto Peñasco (known as Rocky Point to the gringos) for at least six months. I’ve been hesitant because it’s a four-and-a-half-hour drive south and across the border into Mexico. Number one, I can’t stand long drives.

Number two, we hear all these stories of drug cartels and crime in Mexico, so I’ll admit, I was a little afraid. Then, the neighbor across the street said she and her family went to Mexico and got COVID. They had to quarantine in their hotel room for 10 days before they could come home.

She said “People think what’s the big deal, you’re in Mexico at the beach? But we weren’t allowed to leave our hotel room and we weren’t enjoying great food. It was hard.”

vendors on Sandy Beach in Puerto Peñasco
Sitting under a palapa outside the hotel, the parade of vendors selling everything from tamales to henna tattoos give the beach a circus atmosphere. The vendors aren’t allowed inside the rope fence and they do respect the boundary.

The drive wasn’t bad at all once we got out of Phoenix. I even drove part of it. We drove through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument which was beautiful.

Organ Pipe National Monument visitor center
The visitor center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with an Organ Pipe Cactus in front.

I absolutely love Puerto Peñasco! I loved being at the ocean. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. The food was amazing and cheap. Fresh seafood to my heart’s content at around $20 for dinner for two. The accommodations were wonderful.

I’m so thrilled I got out of my comfort zone and went exploring with my husband. We’ll definitely be back — and I’ll post more photos and details this week.

Downtown Puerto Peñasco after dinner Friday night. The young man on the drums impressed us.

Where have you been hesitant to travel to and then once there discovered you loved it?

Sights and sounds from beach walks

I’m feeling very distressed with the news of 12 of our courageous military killed this morning. I am worried about 24 children from San Diego who haven’t been able to get to the airport in Kabul. I wasn’t in the mood to post, but as I’m waiting to hear from the President, I’m looking through the photos and videos on my iphone.

I’m sharing some of the joyful sights I’ve seen the past week. Horses on the beach with a cattle dog herding them with tireless energy. Pelicans flying and floating on waves. A sunset at Carpinteria State Beach. Shore birds hunting for sand crabs in the waves.

Watch the dog herding the horses.
Curlew at the beach
Curlew.
White egret on the shore
Egret.
Pelicans flying and riding the waves.
sunset at Carpinteria State Beach.
Sunset at Carpinteria State Beach.
Horses and cattle dog in the ocean.
The horses and cattle dog.
Sandpipers.

California Day Trip to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach sign at the entrance to the pier.
The Pismo Beach sign at the pier.

Yesterday we drove up the coast to Pismo Beach. My husband, who is third generation Californian has never been there. I’ve never been there, either. It’s only an hour and a half drive north from Santa Barbara and we’ve always talked about exploring it. The drive is easy on the 101 along the Pacific Ocean to Gaviota. Then the highway goes inland through horse country and vineyards.

The boardwalk downtown Pismo Beach.
The boardwalk to the pier downtown Pismo Beach.

There’s a huge state park, lots of RVs and campers. Cars can drive on the sand along the ocean. We walked around downtown and walked out on the pier. We found a restaurant called Splash Cafe that had lines of more than 20 people at all times. It looked great for chowder and fish and chips and had plenty of outdoor seating. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry at the time we spotted it. By the time we were ready for lunch, we were in another town and stopped at a place recommended by friends. It was one of only two times we’ve paid the bill and walked out after taking a few bites.

Although I love the beach and the spectacular views from the pier, I felt so so about Pismo Beach. I think it was the strong wind from the ocean. Also, there’s a hodgepodge of industrial, farming and residential all mixed together. There were some cute beachy residential areas, but all in all, I like Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara more. Also Ventura and Laguna Beach.

Not LA, Not the Bay sign on surf shop.
Funny sign on a surf shop in Pismo Beach.
Pismo sign on a building downtown.
Downtown Pismo.
View of the ocean and beach from Pismo Beach pier.
Beach view from the pier.
The pier in Pismo Beach
The pier in Pismo Beach.

I’m glad we made the trip. It’s fun to explore new areas and see new sights.

Where is a new place you’ve recently visited?

Did you love it or did you want to leave it?