Potluck Fiesta: A Little Bit of Loreto Bay in Los Altos

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Loreto Bay homeowners’ potluck at Rich and Rhoda’s home.

Yesterday’s Loreto Bay Homeowners potluck was quite the fiesta thanks to Rich and Rhoda S. who were brave enough to host the 45+ homeowners and Jon and Karen E., Barry S. and Pat R. who aided and abetted the organization of the event.

For those of you only interested in the issues discussed from this event, please go to the end of this entry.

Clint and I were responsible for bringing an appetizer so yesterday morning I took on Mario Batali’s Neapolitan Meatballs (Polpette alla Napoletana) from his beautifully inspiring cookbook, “Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home”. I own very few cookbooks but this one caught my eye one day. Usually I just search online for a recipe, but there are times when I want to curl up with a beautful cookbook and be inspired. I also own a Charlie Trotter cookbook which is beautiful but far less practical, cooking anything from it requires a week of planning.

Img_5595_3If you’re interested in the meatball recipe, it is on page 251, however, as I noted in my post on FM3 renewal requirements post, I made a variation on it. It’s hard for me to stick to any recipe ingredient for ingredient, measurement for measurement. Knowing Mario, I’m sure he would approve!

I substituted the Italien parsley for basil since I had fresh basil growing in my garden, and pecorino romano for parmesan as I had a container of it already from our local grocery shop. The secret to substitutions is know what can and cannot be replaced. I would not suggest changing out the pine nuts as this is critical to the character of these meatballs.

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Key ingredients in this meatball recipe include ground beef, day-old bread, eggs, garlic (modified by adding some onion as well), pecorino romano (substitued parmesan), italien parsley (substituted basil), toasted pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil.

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Meatballs in my Le Creuset. I still have not found a way to make my meatballs perfectly round, they get squashed in the pan. Is this possible with homemade meatballs or are the perfectly round ones made by commercial equipment?

When Clint and I arrived at 5:30 pm (the event began at 5 pm), most of the crew was already there talking up a storm.

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The party was in full swing when Clint and I arrived.

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Sarina and Allan. I saw Allan and Lois on our last trip to Loreto. This is our first time meeting Sarina, she handed out “Giggles” to the group which were fun little critters made from the shells of Pistachios.

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“Baja Barry” – head of our SF Bay Area Loreto Bay group.

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Seating out on the lawn.

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Many wonderful dishes were brought to the potluck by homeowners. The appetizers were yummy, the main courses delicious and the desserts, sinful. I had to have a little of every dessert because I didn’t want to offend any of the homeowners and were they ever good!

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Active conversation, this is how Loreto Bay business gets done!

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If you were there, can you spot yourself in this photo?

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Clint and I were not able to take photos of the dishes before they were eaten by hungry homeowners. I know, we should be more on top of these things but we’re volunteers. You get what you pay for!

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Homeowners were able to bring chairs to supplement the chairs the hosts had. Makes for quite the eclectic fashion statement.

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Bill and Patty, owners of AV65, part of “The Cluster” as Barry and Pat affectionately call it.

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Who brought the Cheap White Wine and Cheap Red Wine?

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Our wonderful hosts Rich and Rhoda. They have a lovely home and the latest renovations have just made their existing home even more charming. Love the saltillo tile patio with the decorative tiles on the stairs.

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Homeowners in active conversation include Rick and Virginia from Sacramento. The first time we met Rick was at Joel Sherman’s home (part of Casa Mesquite) looking at furniture. Their Nueva Chica is complete.

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As the evening passes, the tiki lights come on.

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Great big map of Loreto Bay, I’m putting Clint and I on the map. Yeah AV 25!

The discussions touch on many topics from vacation plans, how the summer so far has been spent to Loreto Bay classics. Near the end of the evening Kaz (who hosted our last two events at Kaz Winery) called the “community meeting” to order.

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Kaz calls our meeting to order. He doesn’t have a gavel…does a water bottle count?

Unfortunately Clint and I forgot to carry our reporter’s pad so this is from memory. For those that attended, please add or correct to these details if you can.

Construction: Progress of construction in Loreto Bay is moving along at a good pace with several homeowners (both in Agua Viva and Founders) noting that their homes were completed since our last get together. Reports from homeowners who just returned from Loreto Bay note that estuary construction is moving quickly and there are signs of sea life in the waters. The road in certain sections is also being ripped up and repaved. We can’t wait to see the progress when we are down there end of October.

Furniture: Many homeowners have had great luck with furniture trips to Guadalajara and Rosarito for their furniture. Most homeowners spend about 3 days shopping and connect with a local driver and guide who will take them around to all the local shops and also provide language translations when required. Others have bought furniture from the US and drive it down in a truck or trailer. For this latter option, some have gone and gotten an FM3 to enable them to move household goods down without paying duty and others have just decided to move furniture down and pay the 20% import duty.  Both methods have been very successful.

Driving down and back from Loreto: Reports are the roads are well paved but narrow. Bring lots of cash (US, pesos) as only the hotels really take credit cards. If you are returning across the border, do not do it on Sunday as it is the busiest day for crossing from Mexico to US and the wait can be 4+ hours.

– Property Taxes: Until the home closes Loreto Bay will pay the property taxes on your behalf and bill you for it. However, a report from one homeowner is that they have been late with it and ended up charging the homeowner for the property taxes, late penalty and service/handling. So check with LB and make sure your property taxes are being paid at the right time.

– Homeowners’ Association: The HOA has not been set up but for those homeowners that are planning to spend most of their time in Loreto, it is something to start thinking about. As the community moves along, there will be a need to ensure we have a group to oversee the homes, especially since there will be many times when homes are being left vacant as owners are in other parts of the world.

– Security: A poll of the homeowners found that there has not been any major security issues so far.

– Panga Ownership: Some homeowners are getting together and purchasing pangas for fishing and other recreational activities on the water. Recommendation is to purchase a panga that is 3 years old as the steepest part of the the depreciation will have taken place.

– Management Move to Loreto: In general homeowners thought it was a good thing that Loreto Bay management is now located all in Loreto. Mike Ravenhill is still the person in charge of homes. All have gotten emails from their account managers letting them know of the transition to account managers based in Loreto. For us, Dia is taking over from Jennifer. Others have Jesus. If you are not sure, contact Mike Ravenhill or Heather Baki.

– Other Developments: The Whales Inn is being developed by J.W. Marriott and the Villa Group is also building a resort south of Loreto Bay. This will hopefully increase interest from airlines to reinstate some of the cancelled flights from US to Loreto.

Thank you Rich and Rhoda for hosting the entire gang. Clint and I had a wonderful time!

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