Pho is Fa

Recap: Good Morning, From Here – April 13 – 19, 2024

Last Friday, about 70 of us descended upon—nope, make that ascended—Rick and Monica Miller’s penthouse terrace for their first pop-up party of this year—Stolie on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and looping provided the music. Everyone brought food and wine and enjoyed one of the most spectacular views in the city. I rode up that steep hill with Rob and Jan and came down from the mountain with Tom and Chiara Montante hours later. What a tremendous amount of truly beautiful people live in harmony in Vallarta. We were all drawn here somehow, from all over the planet, and we recognize one another almost instantly. I can’t wait to see where that goes.

The three ‘Witches of Eastwick’ convened together at last at the Creperie House on Francisco Madero Saturday morning. Over chais and coffees and sweet and savory crepes, Georgia Darehshori, Sandra Bradley, and I caught up on our various projects that included a lot of laughter and even more love. A busy summer is already unfolding, with trips being planned and health issues sorting themselves out.

A couple of hours later, I was at Qulture Galleries, standing in my old boutique space I had during Three Hens & a Rooster Market a few years ago. There is a new designer in town, and from photos I had seen, I knew I needed to meet Davide Stennett.

Originally from Jamaica, Davide now considers Vallarta his home, where he doesn’t just design practical and beautiful clothes that reflect the blast of colors from his childhood and the tropical vibe of coastal Mexico. No, he also designs leather footwear, jackets, wallets, coin purses, handbags, jewelry, and, oh yeah, he also paints. And well. His favorite things are collabs, often with painter friend Angelo Sannasardo – Davide designs a pair of sandals, and Angelo paints them. His price points are fair, and there’s a big sale happening at Qulture today, with all the resident artists selling wares for up to 50% off. Go check that out. There is also a pop-up at Casa Karma this evening celebrating World Art Day with 38 artists, including the fabulous Quetzal and Hector Belloc, from 5 to 10 pm. There will be live music.

I am going to The Palm tonight for Nadia Turner; see you there for hugs From Here.

From Miami Dolphin cheerleader to a G8 summit entertainer to a Top-8 Finalist in American Idol, Nadia Turner has done some global traveling. She wowed her audience – including her mom and her daughter, also an American Idol participant – last night at The Palm. Nadia’s rendition of ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac was outstanding, with guitarist Mau accompanying and percussionist Dannyju keeping the beat subtle and steady. Nadia has one more show at the Palm Cabaret this Thursday at 8 pm.

The finals for Mr Vallarta are tomorrow at 6 pm at The Palm, after a few thrilling games of Scrabble at Qulture! See you on Humpday for coffee and more chatter From Here.

I am so bad at remembering to take photos when I am supposed to! I shot the one here on my way home after lunch. This guy had not moved much in the hours I spent over lunch with Mikel Alvarez at a new (for me) restaurant, eating new (for me) cuisine and ordering from Mikel and owner Charlie Huynh’s suggestions. Did it even occur to me to take my phone out of my purse? Of course not. So, I missed sharing shots of a delightful lunch with an even more delightful friend.

With apologies done, get yourselves over to ‘Let’s Pho,’ on Lazaro Cardenas right at the edge of the park. Pronounce it properly: F-A. That’s right, pho is fa. And the food is delish and filling. After hours of conversation that had been brewing for at least two months until our schedules miraculously collided, we split a piece of carrot cake baked daily in the Vietnamese restaurant. The cake is worth a trip just for the icing! It’s a double layer of heaven right there.

Mikel Alvarez owns ThrIVe IV & Med Spa and has a background steeped in helping others; he will not engage in anything unless it has an upside that promotes humanity. He is deeply connected to Vallarta, which is undoubtedly at the center of our connection.

I am looking forward to getting a tour of ThrIVe and soon. When I do, I promise I will take photos!

There will be Scrabble today at Qulture and the finals of Mr Vallarta at the Palm at 6. From Here, we will have a full report on both sets of shenanigans tomorrow.

Going around the conference table yesterday, Vallarta Garden Club’s new President, Sunny Rossi, asked each board member how and when they got involved with the VGC. Almost all of us answered something like ‘by accident.’ And why have we stayed? Because keeping Vallarta beautiful is essential to all of us.

If you are new to Vallarta and want to volunteer your time and energy (money is welcome, too), you would be hard-pressed to find a more congenial atmosphere or a kinder bunch of people to be with. If the thought of digging in the dirt pulling out weeds, and pruning heavily thorned bushes gives you the willies, volunteer to bring and dispense the wine. Hydration is important! We need people to head committees, help plan future events, fundraiser wizards and those who love getting their hands dirty or spending hours mindlessly (endlessly!) watering the Isla’s new plantings.

Every Sunday from 3 to 5 pm, the Vallarta Garden Club sponsors Music in the Park on the Isla by the stairs going up to Gringo Gulch. Local musicans will play and sing. All you need is to bring a chair or a blanket to sit on, food and drink if you like, and some tip money for the entertainers. And do spend some time before and after wandering around this little slice of heaven in the middle of the city. What a difference volunteers make in the life of a tourist destination after a hurricane. Contact Sunny Rossi on Facebook for information about the Vallarta Garden Club.

I flew away from Di Vino Dante and the VGC meeting and ran (well…) to The Palm for the finals of Mr Vallarta, and made it with five minutes to spare. Thanks to Mikel Alvarez, I snagged the last seat on the main floor.

Nine finalists in three rounds produced the winner – Jorge. My favorite didn’t win, but I will see Francisco – Paco – this Sunday in Swan Lake at Act2PV. The raves about that production have been outstanding across the board!

In the meanwhile, Roy Cruz as Freddie Mercury tomorrow at The Palm at 8 pm. See you there From Here!

I just finished a quick edit of my friend Renee Armand’s column, which you can read at this morning. She is one of those lyrical writers who changes the very air you breathe in a sentence; I love that.

Renee is off to the UK for a memorial and a reunion with people, some of whom she has not seen in 40 years. She knows how different everybody is after four decades and remembers how love never goes away. I am so looking forward to reading about her trip.

I am meeting Georgia Darehshori this morning, and we will head to Versalles to see a couple for brunch who have not been back to Vallarta in years and years. They were influential in shaping Act2PV in the early days and it will be such a pleasure to see them again.

I’ll give you a full report on brunch, Epic Freddie Mercury, Swan Lake, dinner at Zumo’s, and the Grand Opening of Maripoza’s Butterfly Experience at Puerto Magico bright and early Monday morning. Have a lovely weekend, Vallarta, From Here.


  • Marcia Blondin

    I am a Canadian expat who has lived in Vallarta for over 30 years. Becoming the editor of Vallarta Mirror is a dream come true, spending my days extolling the virtues of the city I love. An environmentalist in my lifestyle, artistic endeavors, the clothes I wear and the love I share.

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