Cabo San Lucas is a quiet fishing village on the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. Well, it might have been at one time. With an International Airport, it is now a tourist destination for most of population of Earth. The town itself has no other reason for existence other than tourism. It is a dry, foreboding land. As seen from space in NASA photos, the shape of the area looks like a sirloin steak, or maybe a lobster tail.

Most of the town of Patterson and surrounding villages, signed on the trip via Linda DeForest and All Seasons Travel. There were about 50 people in all, on two flights from San Francisco directly to Cabo. Patterson never had it so quiet that week.


We all stayed at the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas, a great Hotel, all-inclusive, featuring a wet bar every 10 feet. Our room also had a wet bar with four bottles of hard liquor tempting the seasoned traveler who might be too “tired” to venture from their room. We abstained. Being in a Palace, we expected to see some royalty, but that was not to be, unless you count Crown Royal. We did get to enjoy the never-ending labyrinth at the Hotel. The concierge at the front desk described it as the route to our room, which consisted of walking what seemed like miles, taking two separate elevators before arriving at our destination room. At the end of our five-day stay, we could actually navigate our way within minutes. This was not a place of fasting or sobriety. Our party kept it within normal limits on both. I mean, why go on vacation if you can’t remember it?Food was everywhere, with many inclusive restaurants and buffets. Traditional fare, Mexican cuisine, and even a Sushi bar. Steak and Lobster for dinner on the first night!


The next day we were ready to see the sights, and the first being the downtown area and whale watching with the company Whale Watch Cabo. We were assigned a small boat, which included a captain/first mate/ navigator/helmsman (all one guy) and a guide named Lisa Hofmann. She was not an ordinary guide. Lisa had a degree in Marine Biology from her hometown Hamburg, Germany. Her guide experience included exotic places like Iceland, Costa Rica, and Australia. She made for a much better “biological interpretation” (guide) as she was not speculating or making stuff up as we embarked on a three hour tour. Where have I heard that before? OK, it was 2.5 hours, but a three-hour tour sounds much better. This was not only entertaining but also educational. Our shipmates consisted of members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, or some drinking society. This was my opinion after spending 2.5 hours with them. They were indeed quiet odd. They became nervous after finding out there was no wet bar on board. The whales were magnificent, and if our “skipper” was a little faster, we may have seen more than their backside. Just kidding. I would rather see a whale swimming away from our small boat, than observe one bearing down at ramming speed right for us. All in all, with the seascape, whales, sea lions and other marine life, a more than “well worth it” tour. On our way back to the Hotel, we visited a local restaurant, Las Guacamayas for lunch. The venue featured fantastic authentic Mexican food with great service and a Mariachi Band as a bonus. We had three ice-cold beers, six specialty tacos, and plates of condiments for under $20.00. It was well worth the visit. For dinner that night at the Hotel, we again had Steak and Lobster.


After we secured a car rental at the Hotel, we were on our way to the Sierra Lagunas Waterfall Hike near the small village of Santiago, north-east of the city of Cabo San Lucas. On the way, I experienced the sudden onset of Montezuma’s revenge, also known as the Aztec two-step. Those not familiar with this national malady, it can be described with the same symptoms of dysentery, only faster acting. As soon as I recognized the symptoms, I knew time was short. I remembered the rental man saying that if we trashed the car, we would pay. He was referring to spilling booze on the interior, to mention this; I assumed it had happened before.

This would be far worse. Our new destination would be a car wash and detail shop, not the waterfalls of our plans. I quickly spotted a service station, luckily with a working bathroom. I sprinted from the car, and then slowed to a stop. My wife thought that it was game over, but I just needed to have one last moment of composure before entering the “El Bano.”

Close call. Too close. My hands shaking from the experience, smiling, and with raised spirits and needed confidence, we were soon back to the road! On our last day driving back to the Airport, I paused, reflected, and thanked the heavens as we passed that service station.

We made it to Santiago and then went “off roading” with the rented vehicle. I say “off roading”, because the road turned from asphalt, to dirt, to silt, to a dry streambed, and finally a narrow goat trail with spectacular views of the landscape below the cliff we traversed. We did not mention this to the rental agency.

The Sierra Lagunas waterfall was very elusive, maybe even a “Stealth Waterfall.” I think the locals kept moving it to evade tourists. Following directions clearly marked in a foreign language along our route, we appeared to have passed the final game trail to the falls many times. We stopped a fellow traveler (with vehicle plates from Canada, Que?) for directions. He explained that his group was also looking for the falls, and speculated that the path we were on would eventually end up in Mexico City. We agreed, and decided to change plans and head for the nearest Cantina. We don’t need no stinking waterfalls! After having a satisfying cerveza (beer) and enjoying the slow pace of the peaceful village, we left Santiago and headed back to the Palace. That night for dinner, we again had Steak and Lobster. I thought I could never say this, but this was getting old.

The traditional Towel folders at the RIU

The traditional Towel folders at the RIU

For entertainment the Palace hosted a sadistic audience participation show, they called Karaoke. I have seen car wrecks and a few train wrecks, but nothing can describe the horror of inebriated tourists on stage butchering the top 10 songs of yesteryear. As the wait staff was quick on serving high-octane cocktails, we soon became numb to the experience, then indifferent, and finally amused at the show. A good time was had by all!

And then we had Steak and Lobster.






Years ago I worked at a newspaper in Watsonville California, the Register Pajaronian. A reporter informed me about the Thanksgiving lunch he had partaken in at the local church. The meal was for all the local homeless people. He had mentioned that the food was good, but he had never had runny stuffing before.

Runny stuffing! Yikes! I had never heard of such a travesty!

The stuffing of my youth had many different flavors, but only one texture.

That of semi-cured concrete.

In search of the perfect stuffing on “the net,” I found one that was almost deserving of the time and effort to make. It did have one main ingredient that I could not get past. Turkey liver. A member of the food group known as “giblets.”

When I was in college, I took a courses in Human Anatomy and Zoology.I do not remember the instructor going over giblets. I might have been dozing, but it does not ring a bell.

I did have a music instructor in High School who had a Turkey neck, but I doubt if she had a gizzard, also in the giblet food group.

Lucky for the general public, I did not pursue a health career, not knowing a giblet from a hole in the ground.

The following recipe has been modified beyond recognition for enhancement of flavor and to protect the innocent. Bon appetit!




  • 2 cups cubed whole wheat bread (2 slices per cup)
  • 4 cups cubed white bread (2 slices per cup)
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup turkey, chicken or vulture stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes to blend flavors.
  3. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apple, dried cranberries, and parsley. Drizzle with stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Everything into a casserole dish, cover with foil, cook for 45 minutes.


Fresh Basil Pesto Pasta

Fresh Basil Pesto Pasta

Have you ever had fresh basil pesto? If so, then you know what a delicious additive it is to so many Italian dishes. Or by itself, just top off a cracker and cheese for a tasty snack. I would “pair” it with a red, white, or pink wine, or maybe a brown beer. Or if you feel spirited, maybe some blue antifreeze colored wine cooler. If you are not in the mood to travel to Italy to procure such a treat, just make it yourself! I have sampled manufactured jarred pesto sold the local supermarkets, and it has a flavor that I can only describe as a mixture of lawnmower shavings and a salt lick. I assure you I have never knowingly consumed either of the two. I can only imagine that the chef is mindful of that “millennium shelf life”, and added a lethal amount of salt to keep it as fresh as the decade it was made.

Through the years, I have cooked pasta with varied results. To test cooked pasta, I have bitten through it to judge the texture, threw it on the ceiling to see if it stuck, and have even consulted a local shaman. All of these methods worked to a varying degree. What I have found to be the best method for cooking pasta is to follow the directions on the box. These pasta masters are a clever group, and when all else fails; follow directions. It has never failed. Try this recipe; it is well worth the effort.


  • 8 oz fresh basil leaves, (2 packages of Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (save another ½ cup for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • One box Packaged Pasta (linguine)



1 Measure and pour pine nuts in a frying pan, set heat on high, keep the nuts moving as not to burn them. When they are toasted, they will release their flavorful oils. Remove from heat, stop toasting process by pouring them into a large room temperature plate. This will stop them from burning. Save 1/4 cup for garnish. Place the basil leaves and 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times. Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

2 While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Divide in half, saving some for other purposes such as added to cheese and crackers, or add to a pizza. Yum!

3 Cook pasta per package directions. Save one cup of pasta water, Drain in colander, mix (carefully fold) one half of pesto you just made into the pasta in a large saucepan or sauté’ pan, or whatever, add pasta water as needed. The cooked pasta will suck out all moisture in the pesto, so adding the pasta water back will make it hydrated one more. Serve with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. This is the stuff dreams are made of.



The triple J- Jamaican Jack Jerk Burger

As I was surfing the net the other day, which equates to slogging through every digital advertisement on Earth, I came across a recipe for a burger with Jamaican spices. It immediately brought back fond memories of our trip to the Island mon! (every Jamaican sentence must be followed by the term “mon”, which translates from the American term “man”. The Canadians in turn end their statements with “ehh”. Folks in my hood end with “hungh”, real loud!

One of my fonder memories was the transportation on the Island.

Simply getting from Point A to Point B is one of Jamaica’s most exciting adventures. Since Jamaica is part of the British Commonwealth, cars drive on the left side of the road, and the local drivers have a unique way of negotiating the highways and narrow streets in the townships: the faster the better.

On the way from the airport in Montego Bay to the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, (a must check out!) our bus driver told us, “We will be passing right through the next town.” He wasn’t kidding. He only slowed to about 40 mph down narrow streets as we rocketed past unflinching pedestrians. Meanwhile, the white-knuckled tourist passengers braced for an impact that never came.

All this was done with one-handed steering, since the driver’s other arm was busy pumping a clenched fist to the pounding pulse of loud Reggae music.

But I digress.

As I checked out the ingredients I immediately saw room for recipe improvement! Ha!

I soon found myself constructing a new and improved version worth mentioning as follows. This is an easy one, and tastes great!

Prep and cooking time sober, One hour

Prep and cooking time “in the bag”, all afternoon. Can’t find anything.



Jamaican Jack Jerk Burgers Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 6 burgers. Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 habanero chili peppers, minced (be a man, use it all!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including greens
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 shot of pancake syrup (small squeeze = 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thick slices of Jack Cheese
  • 2 pounds ground beef, at least 15% fat
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • Pinch of chopped thyme
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp of orange juice from orange you will be zesting
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 In a food processor, put the vinegar, water, habanero chili, green onion, garlic, thyme, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, molasses, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.

2 Using your hands, gently mix the jerk mixture in with the ground beef in a large bowl until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Shape into patties, about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the diameter of your hamburger bun. Chill about 30 minutes or until you are ready to cook. (Remember to wash hands with soap and water after handling, you will thank me later)

3 coleslaw-In a medium bowl, mix the cabbage, red onion, thyme, mayonnaise, citrus juice, zest, salt and pepper.

4 Prepare gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high direct heat. Place the patties on the clean, well-oiled grill grate. (if you find one, please send me a photo, as I have not seen a clean grill grate since childhood) Grill the burgers for about 3 minutes per side, (until you see juices leach through) add cheese, cover with a lid until cheese has melted. If you don’t have a grill, you can use a large frying pan on the stove top. As the burger has so much flavor anyway, a grill is nice, but not mandatory.

Serve burgers topped with the coleslaw, with or without hamburger buns.

This is a burger that pairs with Red Stripe beer, Jamaica’s national pastime!