Dining In: Brazilian Beans Hit the Spot


It's easy to make tutu a Mineira in your timeshare kitchen

BY REGINA SCHRAMBLING

The national dish of Brazil, feijoada, involves many hours and many steps as well as black beans, several meats, rice and side dishes. But cook local in the state of Goiás (home to the Brazilian capital, Brasília, and several hot-springs resort towns) and you’ll get that pork-and-black-beans satisfaction much faster. The region’s signature dish, tutu à Mineira, is the ultimate refried beans with bacon. Black beans are thickened with flour made from cassava (aka manioc) and topped with sliced sausage and hard-cooked eggs. You can eat the dish with a grilled pork chop, but it’s always matched up with bitter greens, like collards or kale. 


Tutu sounds like dance wear, but it just means mashed beans (canned are fine) with cassava. Though you can use regular flour, cassava is worth the hunt: It adds a hint of sweetness and makes the texture closer to that of polenta.

Tutu à Mineira         
Serves 4
        5 thick strips fatty bacon, diced  
        2 medium onions, diced
        4 cloves garlic, chopped 
        Salt
        6 cups cooked black beans (4 15.5-oz cans)
        ½ cup cassava (tapioca) flour 
        Hot sauce to taste 
        1 cup precooked linguica or chorizo sausage, cut in ½-inch slices
        2 large eggs, hard cooked, shelled and cut in ½-inch slices   
        2 scallions (green onions), green part only, thinly sliced

PLACE bacon in a heavy pot over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fat is rendered and the bits start to crisp. ADD onion and garlic; sprinkle with about 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. DRAIN beans, reserving liquid, and add to the pot. Continue cooking while mashing with a potato masher until beans are fairly smooth. LOWER heat, stir in reserved bean liquid and slowly add cassava flour. Cook, stirring, until beans thicken. Add more salt and hot sauce to taste. Meanwhile, heat chorizo slices in a small skillet over medium heat. Spread beans onto a platter, top with sausage and egg slices, then sprinkle with scallions. SERVE hot with cooked kale, collard greens or broccoli rabe.

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Acapulco's Second Act


Mexico's original beach town has reclaimed its old-school allure.

Long before Cancún or Los Cabos or the Riviera Maya were even specks on the tourist map, Acapulco reigned as Mexico’s coastal queen. Acapulqueños have recently worked hard to restore Old Acapulco and the Costera, and posh resorts and malls have risen in the newest neighborhood, Acapulco Diamante. The result is a thoroughly modern vacation destination rich in culture and history. Now is the time to visit—or revisit—the place where Mexico’s tourism fame was born.

OLD ACAPULCO

In the early Hollywood days, Playa Caleta and Playa Caletilla, on the western shores of Acapulco Bay, saw the most action. Today, the ’50s have returned with the restoration of the beachfront Hotel Boca Chica. The designers faithfully retained the mid-century architecture and the tiny Coco Wash disco, which has become the hippest hangout in town. Chef Keisuke Harada creates platters of sushi and Kobe burgers for happy hordes at the hotel’s restaurants; on weekends, locals pull their yachts up to the dock and linger for hours over mescal martinis.

With Boca Chica grabbing attention, travelers are also being lured to the palapa-shaded fish shacks on Playa Caletilla. Here families gather beneath blue umbrellas, and water taxis take swimmers to the clear waters off Isla Roqueta, just 10 minutes away. At the nearby Plaza Alvarez (also called the zócalo), elderly gents study their newspapers at sidewalk cafés as kids scamper around the filigreed bandstand. Across the street, fishermen lay out their nets beside docks where party boats collect passengers for sunset sailings.

In the winding streets high above Old Acapulco, sightseers gather at La Quebrada to witness the famed clavadistas, or cliff divers. During the show, a lone diver poses atop a jagged, precipitous cliff. Below, waves crash against rocks before settling into a small swirling pool. In the blink of an eye, the diver swoops toward the sea. Onlookers applaud as he emerges from the water, and another duplicates his feat.

THE COSTERA

Most visitors to the Costera devote the sunlight hours to lounging poolside, browsing in arcades and malls and playing in the bay. Pint-sized fun-seekers enjoy the rides at Papagayo Park and the waterslides at CICI waterpark.

As evening sets in, families head to the Hard Rock Cafe for burgers and ribs. Partygoers seek out tables at Paradise or Beto’s, among the best of the clubs on the sand, or retire to high-end restaurants and discos in the hills. Horse-drawn calesas (carriages) clomp along the Costera, delivering dancers to Baby ’O, one of the best-known discos. And fireworks and laser beams shoot over the bay from the hilltop clubs until dawn.

ACAPULCO DIAMANTE

Perhaps the best evidence of Acapulco’s resurgence lies in the burgeoning Diamante neighborhood. Stretching from the Costera up the steep, winding Scenic Highway, Diamante has legendary discos, championship golf courses, lavish resorts, a concert hall and a shiny new mall.

Several large timeshare resorts are also found on the beaches of Acapulco Diamante, close to attractions like the La Isla shopping center at Punta Diamante, which has lured some of the Costera’s well-known establishments (including the family-friendly yet rowdy Carlos’n Charlie’s). Kids can head to the mall’s Aqua Planet, with bumper boats and mini-golf, as well as displays that teach about water conservation. And at Mundo Imperial, an enormous development with a convention center and hotel, the stars of today appear at the Forum, a state-of-the-art concert hall. With the three sides of Acapulco all in a state of transformation, Mexico’s coastal queen is once again the biggest star on the map.

 

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Branson


I had visited a resort in Branson, Missouri as a guest, not realizing I would have an opportunity to own a timeshare. It was so beautiful, tranquil and welcoming I had to own it. Later I learned how wonderful the area is for sunning, swimming and golf. Many historic cities are nearby to explore. I love my timeshare! It is truly a gift to share with family and friends.

-Barbara H. from Anderson, IN

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Once In A Lifetime


My boyfriend of three years and I decided to take a spontaneous vacation in July. We were in our early 20's and living together for a little less than a year. We found a fantastic deal and booked a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Our excitement was palpable.

As a young couple in love, off we went to Cancun International Airport on our first trip to Mexico, to an all-inclusive resort and to a beach not on the US eastern coast. We were thrilled to just be away together in such a lovely place.

After settling into a room, squeezing in a little pool time, and enjoying a delicious dinner at the buffet, we decided to take a walk on the beach. Hand-in-hand we went as we took a seat on two loungers under a tiki hut. The stars twinkled above us on this dark night, the ocean lapped the sand, and we enjoyed the silence that surrounded us in this peaceful moment.

I said to my boyfriend, "What a perfect place, what a perfect dinner, what a perfect night." At that moment he replied "It's the perfect time for me to ask you to marry me." I stared in awe as he got down on one knee and opened up a box showing my sparkling engagement ring. I smiled and cried tears of joy as I replied "Yes!” We shared an emotional and happy moment under the romantic sky.

As it turns out, he had done an impressive job asking my parents for their permission, receiving the delivery of the ring, and getting through the airports' security and customs departments. I was excited, beaming, and still in shock when we went to the lobby. We celebrated with champagne as we watched the live Mexican band play along with couples and children dancing about...

We immediately got moved to an oceanfront room and spent the rest of our vacation in bliss as we relaxed, got massaged, sunbathed, dined, drank, danced, and laughed together. During our remaining days, we frequently visited Jack and José who shared in our happiness as a newly engaged couple and new timeshare owners. This was a very special vacation for us and I will never forget the once in a lifetime memories that were created at Ocean Maya Royale.

-Erin D. from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

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It'll never top Mexico


Our first RCI vacation took us to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We were excited to be able to exchange our timeshare in the Berkshires for a vacation outside of the US in order to give our two young boys some exposure to other cultures. We rented a car so that we could explore the surrounding countryside and possibly see some of the Mayan ruins while in Mexico. The resort was nice enough and offered a number of activities... The food was great; we tried a number of different options and the kids even tried some new things (a small miracle). The resort’s many pools provided some variety as we spent a chunk of time swimming and joining in on some resort-sponsored pool football...

-William H. from Coventry, Connecticut

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Timeshare is the best thing we have ever owned


For Christmas four years ago, we took both of our sons and a significant other to Kauai, Hawaii. We spent the whole week taking helicopter rides, which was awesome. The best way to see the beauty of this gorgeous island. We also went snorkeling, to a luau, toured every inch of this gorgeous island, took a boat ride around to the Na Pali Coast, swam in waterfall pools, the list goes on. The resort had a lanai for both rooms that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. We hated to go to sleep and woke up very early every morning to sit on the lanai to watch the sunrise. The weather was absolutely perfect and the resort was wonderful. It was a Christmas dream vacation to be in the most beautiful place in the world with our grown children and friend. We want to go back and recreate the whole week because it is the one trip that we can never forget. Owning our timeshare is the greatest purchase we have ever made. We have been to all of the Hawaiian Islands and Kauai has been the most special.

-Richard K. from Bells, Texas

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Our first vacation through RCI


My husband and I purchased our timeshare while we were vacationing alone. The following year we took our 2 daughters and a friend on vacation with us to the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando. Since our previous vacations had always taken place in hotel rooms we were anxious to see their reaction when we arrived. We gave them the key to our villa and told them to go open the door while we grabbed luggage. We waited outside. When they walked into the villa we heard screams. They came running out and the look on their faces were priceless. They were so excited about staying in a 2 bedroom villa at a luxury resort for a week instead of a cramped hotel room and so were we!

-Bonnie R. from Richmond, MN

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Our 2011 Arizona vacation - Sedona Pines Resort


Loved this resort! Participated in Zumba and water aerobics. Took the Verde Canyon Railroad trip and an extreme jeep tour! Drove to the Grand Canyon for a day, while staying at this resort. Loved Sedona so much that we purchased another timeshare at their sister resort.

- Nancy and Steve F.

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Aruba


We had additional points left at the end of the year 2 years ago. We've always heard that Aruba had great beaches and a friendly safe island. But the high season starts at the end of December. We traded our points for a vacation just before the Christmas rush to this Island and found the off season great. There were no great crowds, the restaurants really appreciated our business and so did our resort. The weather was slightly cooler than later but we don't want to burn anyway! We had a great trip and found other people who appreciate the off season travel times. What a wonderful trip, we were able to stay across from one of the best beaches, could walk to a lot of activities and enjoy the activities at our resort and the local area. I'm open to trying new vacation resorts in areas we haven't explored in the past! We can't say enough about the benefits we have with our timeshare.

 

- Anthony B. from Magnolia, DE

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Carlsbad, CA


Even though we are residents of Southern California, we exchanged our timeshare to stay close to home. We stayed at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort in Carlsbad, CA. This is a very nice resort for families. Everything you could possibly need is nearby. We went about 10 minutes down the road for a nice family day at the beach. LEGOLAND is about a hop, skip and a jump away. Couldn't ask for a better location!

 

- Lori W. from Sun City, CA

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I Love Cabo!


I want to tell you about Cabo! I just loved it there! I was amazed by all the cactus and foothills surrounded by the gorgeous deep blue water. The rock formations and the Arch in the Sea of Cortez are spectacular! Locals said that it only rains approximately 11 days a year. Since I live in Florida, I noticed the lack of humidity and enjoyed it immediately. It was true desert conditions, in the 80's during the day and cooled nicely each evening. This was a timeshare trade for me, staying at the RCI Gold Crown, five-star resort Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach. The resort is situated on the Western side of the tip of Baja, on a hillside overlooking the Pacific. This spectacular getaway provides incredible views from hacienda-style villas overlooking a magnificent expanse of private beach and sparkling deep blue sea. This has to be the most fantastic resort I have ever experienced. The luxurious all-suite accommodations along with five ocean-view pools was amazing. Even though the beach there is non-swimmable because of the strong currents, walks on the beach and listening to the pounding waves was breathtaking. There is magnificent dining on property but be certain to make reservations. All the restaurants are very popular, The Spa massages and facials were relaxing and delightful. The resort provides complimentary shuttle golf carts to escort guests around the property. They also offer a shuttle bus to adjacent Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, and nearby (10 minutes) to Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos as well as Pueblo Bonito Rose where you can enjoy full use of all amenities and restaurants. These properties are adjacent to each other and are located on one of the best swimmable beaches in Los Cabos, Medano Beach. This is also near downtown and within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Be sure to try the tortilla soup at The Office. Best I have ever tasted! And you can dine with your feet in the sand! The marina is also located nearby providing boats for diving, whale watching, deep sea fishing and glassbottom boats with boat tours for spectacular views of Lover's Beach and the Arch.

The Los Cabos International airport is approximately 45 minutes from the resort and is near the quaint town of San Jose del Cabo. I recommend arranging transportation with the resort in advance of your arrival. If you rent a car be certain to drive approximately 30 minutes up the Pacific coast to Todos Santos to visit the famed Hotel California and many other interesting shops and sights in that area.

As you can tell I definitely enjoyed Cabo and certainly recommend that you experience this destination for your next vacation. The people are extremely friendly and accommodating and do everything possible to make your vacation a wonderful memory!

- Janelle A. from Clearwater, FL

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St. Maarten Honeymoon 1996


I had never been on a vacation before...ever. For our wedding gift, my in-laws gave my husband and me two weeks at any RCI affiliated resort. We chose to go to St. Maarten in the Caribbean and it was paradise! We went to two different resorts - equally wonderful - and when it came time to go back home, I cried and begged to live there forever. Three years later we were invited to hear about RCI at a local hotel. Of course we went and bought a timeshare right then and there. Our honeymoon experience was so amazing that we wanted to always have the option of great vacations! Thanks for starting us off right!

 

- Alexis P. from Maple Valley, WA

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Cancun Vacation


We have timeshare accommodations in Cozumel which we hadn't been to in several years. We wanted to get back to Mexico this year and thought we'd give Cancun a shot. We always thought Cancun would be too wild for our taste, but we were wrong and pleasantly surprised! We stayed at a beautiful all-inclusive resort on the ocean and it was fantastic. There were no bugs, the beach was perfect, the activities were lots of fun, and the people were terrific! It was safe and clean and friendly and we'd go back in a second! I can't speak for the rest of the country, but the Yucatan Peninsula area is fantastic.

 

- The Driscoll's from Bath, ME

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Mazatlan


My husband and I have been vacationing at the Pueblo Bonito Resort in Mazatlan for many years. We have made some very dear friends with several of our servers. The resort is very beautiful and the design is based on a Mexican Pueblo. It is always clean and there is everything you would need if you choose not to leave the resort. But if you do, the surrounding neighborhood is safe and has many shops and restaurants. If you prefer, you may cook in your room as all units are well equipped with a kitchen. There is a deli within the resort where you may purchase food items or there is a small grocery store across the street. There are 3 restaurants at the resort as well as day time cabanas with food and drink. The best thing about this resort is the friendly atmosphere and well trained servers and workers who will serve you with a smile. Although we own at several timeshare resorts, we still go back to this one which was our original purchase. SEE YOU THERE!!!

 

- Don and Patti from Smith River, CA

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Disney World Trip 2008


It was our son's 10th birthday and we promised him that we would go to Walt Disney World. We stayed at one of the wonderful affiliated resorts there in Kissimmee, Florida and ended up buying a timeshare. It was so great to be able to fix our own meals and the kids could go swimming everyday! We had so much fun and it was so relaxing. We were only 10 minutes away from the theme parks...some nights we could see the fireworks from our place too! It made our son's birthday even better when they gave him a button that said that it was his birthday and everyone at the theme parks all told him "Happy Birthday!" If I had my way we would always stay at a resort for vacation because we can cook our own food, relax, and do laundry so I don't have a whole bunch to do when we get home. It is just like being home, but near a fun place to play too!

 

- Valerie D. from Nampa, ID

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Family Reunion in Williamsburg


As I write this, we are returning from our first, and hopefully, our annual family vacation with our daughter and her family and our son and his fiance. We stayed at the Powhatan Plantation in Williamsburg, Va. and had an absolutely amazing time. The resort was everything we hoped it would be. The staff was incredibly helpful and we were very pleased with our accommodations and the amenities. The location was convenient for Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and the outlets. The kids had as much fun as the adults and everyone had their own unit which made vacationing together so easy. I only wished we had bought our timeshare sooner so we could have been doing this for years. Hopefully, we will have many family vacations together in the future.

- John M. from Greenville, NC
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Thirty years and more!


Thirty years and more!

We became RCI subscribing members over 30 years ago when a very young family struggling to make a living after moving to Queensland for a life-change. Our daughters and then grandsons grew up loving the annual week at Don Pancho Resort at Bargara where we watched turtles laying eggs and hatchlings emerging. Over the years we have travelled the world with RCI. Now retirees, we spend much of our time planning "Where to next?" As we tell everyone - we are definitely Timeshare Junkies!

- Eileen W. from Queensland, Australia
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Many Trips


I have been an RCI subscribing member for over twenty years. I have used my week to exchange and to stay at my home resort. I love my RCI membership. I have used my exchanges to travel all over the world plus many fine resorts in the U.S. I have so many wonderful memories of the places I have been with my husband, my family and my friends I could not possibly pick one. If there is ever anyone at the pool talking timeshare and RCI I am the one promoting the virtues. I would never have been able to stay at these fine resorts if I had not been an RCI member.

- Marlene M. from Nisswa, MN
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RCI Subscribing Members for over 20 years…WOW!


Helen F. - UK and Travel Destination NewsFor Joan K. from Northamptonshire, England, an RCI subscribing membership unleashed her inner adventurer and she has enjoyed two decades of travelling the world with RCI. Joan has always been passionate about travel and this independent divorcee made sure her son, Mark, grew up with the same appreciation for the wonders the world holds for the curious mind. For Joan, a week’s timeshare in Antigua was the perfect gift for Mark. “I wanted to enable him to see the world and to share the experience with friends,” she explained. “Through travel I’ve discovered that I have a real sense of adventure – not for me lying around on a beach all day! I want to get out into the local communities to experience different cultures and the different ways of life the world over.”

After joining RCI in 1991 when she bought a week at Club Tarahal in Tenerife on the Canary Islands, Joan immediately exchanged for a week in Acapulco in Mexico and loved it so much she bought a second week of timeshare, there and then at the resort. Joan shared some of the most exciting and memorable moments of two of her RCI exchange holidays in the European edition of Holiday, The RCI Magazine. Her story (read it here!) sees her on safari in South Africa where she witnessed a ‘kill’ first-hand, and sharing a quiet bathing spot in a hilltop lagoon with monkeys in India. Of course, she got some much needed R&R in fabulous RCI affiliated resorts along the way to recharge her batteries!

This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from those of you who have been RCI subscribing members for 20 years or more. Be sure to check back to hear about all the great places our members have traveled over the years.

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Mexico Trip 2007


Our family usually vacations with our good friends. Our first trip to Mexico, was at a spot of their choice. We decided to go back in 2007, using our RCI deposited time. The wife was very hesitant about staying at a "timeshare resort" as her past experience was poor. However, we stayed at the Mayan Palace on the Riviera Maya. Well, safe to say, she was very impressed and no longer worried about the timeshare horror stories. Our friends were also on hand for our 2009 Cancun visit to the Moon Palace Golf and Spa, which was also an exchange through RCI. I do not think we will be able to go anywhere now without them. Thanks RCI, and our friends thank you too.

- Lee J. from Redding, CA
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