How about something a on the light side for today?
The FatCat is primarily a financial publication, but there’s more to being a FatCat than just incredible returns and monetary fluency. It’s more than money in the bank.
The FatCats I know have a charm, a charisma, a level of confidence––and a skillset. They can hold their own at a cocktail party. They know how order a bottle of wine, or what makes a great bourbon. They can tie a Double Windsor & look great in a tux––or a killer black dress. They can mingle with any crowd, and you can bring them home to mom.
They reek of ambition and competence, and when it comes to travel, they dominate.
And while a week sailing the Amalfi Coast or touring the vineyards of South Africa might not be in your cards just yet, there’s another trip to master, just as fulfilling if not more: the weekend getaway. So let’s level-up your FatCat status this week with:
The FatCat’s Guide to Crushing the Spontaneous Weekend Getaway
We’ll use a real-life example in this lesson. This weekend your partner will be aghast as you Travel Like A Local and Tour Southern Puerto Rico In 48 Hours.
A few principles:
- This is a trip for two, a romantic getaway, so call the babysitter or the in-laws, no kids on this trip.
- Spontaneous = Surprise. You’ll be planning this one solo. Be disciplined. You’ll be excited, but you can’t spread the word. Clear your weekend schedule. Best case, your partner won’t know you’re even going anywhere until they’re packing their suitcase. Worst case, you’ll tell your partner to clear their weekend plans, but nothing more.
- Preparation is key. If you leave Friday, every aspect of your trip––flights, hotel, rental car, itinerary, and extra cash in your pocket––should be prepped and ready to go by Wednesday night at the latest.
- Go the extra mile. It’s the little things that make all the difference. Hotels can arrange for champagne and roses to be in your room before your arrival. A well thought out gift mid-trip is icing on the cake. If your partner works, call their boss and arrange Friday off in secret, and be ready that morning with breakfast in bed. When you tell them to pack a bag after French toast, remember the way they look at you…you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it.
Now for your trip…
Pay no mind to San Juan, that’s another trip. Fly into Ponce, on the Southern Coast. Pick up a rental car at the airport, you’re gonna need it to travel like a local.
Head downtown to the corner of Reina and Union street. You’re across the street from the Cathedral, at Ponce Plaza Hotel. Opt for the colonial room. It feels authentic because it is––originally constructed in 1882, this historical colonial property is the 3rd oldest residence in Ponce, protected by the Institute of Culture.
If you arrive by afternoon, you’re in the perfect location. Out the front doors of the hotel and you’re on the main square––Plaza las Delic. Take a walk around the plaza for the city’s main attractions, multiple museums, and one really cool fire station:
Grab a taxi to dinner at El Negocio de Panchi.
I recommend starving yourself beforehand so you can consume the greatest volume of food possible; the chef here is some sort of culinary ninja, part Puerto Rican part Jedi.
El Negocio de Panchi. is the only restaurant I know of that is sponsored by LEXUS. It’s actually the only restaurant I know sponsored by anyone, because how does that even work? I can’t figure the appeal an 11-table fine dining restaurant has to a 9 Billion-dollar car company, but apparently a shiny golden logo on the left breast of the uniforms was worth it to Lexus.
Yes, it looks like a transponder from Star Trek TNG. No, you shouldn’t ask your waiter to assemble an away-team.
Not that it would be hard to do, given the size of the wait staff. Two to three good servers could easily cover the entire restaurant, but the service manager here had other ideas. Probably the kind of guy that goes deer hunting with a rocket launcher.
At least 6 servers will discretely circle your table, anticipating your every need. And If the service is great, the food is even better.
The Yellowfin Tuna is so fresh the meat is actually…. creamy, and the crab cakes are as good as any you’ll ever have.
As for entrees, the duck here is sliced medium rare, paired with a blueberry coulis and served over asparagus, side of spinach salad. The result is the most tender of medallions, with far more flavor than a top of the line ribeye, and a blueberry kick. Compliments to the chef.
The Veal Ossobuco is also excellent, as tender as grandma’s pot-roast. For dessert, the guava cheesecake will not disappoint.
Top off the night with a few drinks at Bambu Bar and Lounge, just up the street from the hotel.
For Saturday, get ready for amazing clifftop views and one of the most beautiful beaches in the carribean, La Playuela, on the southwestern tip of the island. La Playuela is unspoiled beach, isolated and perfect.
But that means you’re on your own for lunch, so stop by an Econo or other grocery store along the way for supplies––today you’ll impress your lady with your beach-side culinary skills. Here’s your shopping list and recipe, time to supercharge that FatCat status.
FatCat Skill #42: Cook Like A FatCat With The Famous Grizzard Family Cheeseburger Recipe:
-1 lb. Ground Beef––highest fat content possible, preferably 80% lean
-One white onion, Vidalia if available
-One small bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
-Sliced cheese (Cheddar, Pepper Jack or American)
-One small bag charcoal, Original Kingsford if available
-One bottle lighter fluid
-One lighter or box of matches
-One metal grill rack like this:
-Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Mustard, Ketchup, Horseradish, Pickle
-Plastic Fork and Knife
-One metal knife or pocketknife
-6-pack of beer + your lady’s favorite drink
First, we make fire:
-Pour all the charcoal (if small bag, half if large bag) onto bottom of grill and arrange in a pyramid shaped mound. If no grill is available, dig a small hole in the sand about 1.5 ft. wide and 1.5 ft. deep. Charcoal pile should be approx.1ft. wide by 1ft. tall
-Douse the entire pile with a liberal amount of lighter fluid, better too much than not enough, a good 12oz or so will suffice
-Stand back and light the edge of the pile
-Let burn for 10 minutes or so, just when the flame goes out the coals will glow bright red with white ash on their edges
While we wait for the fire to burn out, prep the meat:
-Using metal knife or pocketknife, dice onion into the smallest pieces possible
-Thoroughly mix beef, onion, pepper (a lot), salt (almost a lot)
-Douse with whole bottle of Worcestershire (5ox) and mix. Meat will now be brown in color (not red) from the Worcestershire
-Make into man-sized patties
-Once flame is out and coals are glowing they are at their hottest. Place wire rack over coals for a few minutes until super-hot.
-Cook patties for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or to taste. If in doubt, cut a patty in half and sample the middle, During the last 3 minutes of cooking, place a slice of cheese atop each patty.
Congrats. You can now cook burgers like a FatCat.
Keep the recipe secret for added mystery.
You’ll want to arrive at La Playuela beach around nine o’clock, and leave everything in the car; first we’re going for a walk around the cliffs. An hour is plenty of time, here’s a preview:
After your walk, time for the beach.
This beach lack’s a crowd, and has an abundance of private beach spots along the tree line. Even on the weekends, you’ll only see a handful of people. A couple of spots have built in grills for cooking burgers, otherwise a small hole dug in the sand will work just fine.
Once you’ve soaked up the sun, you’re ready to dine at Lola. I recommend the Pistachio encrusted rack of lamb and the shrimp & cheese risotto.
After dinner, head back to the hotel casino for evening drinks and a little fun at the tables. A FatCat should be well-versed, or at least familiar, with a few gambling games: Texas hold’em, roulette, and most importantly Blackjack. Which brings us to:
FatCat Skill #67: How To Play Blackjack Like A Boss
- First, you’ll need to learn the rules of blackjack & the rules/etiquette of playing at a casino (how to approach the table, hand signals, how to interact with the dealer, table, cards, chips, and cocktail waitresses). Take a look at this excellent video with gambling expert Micheal Shakleford that covers everything you’ll need to know to get you comfortable in the casino.
- Next comes basic strategy. There are 550 possible situations in Blackjack. Each has ONE and only ONE mathematically correct response. Basic strategy means you make the mathematically correct decision in each scenario, EVERY TIME.
With basic strategy you can reduce the house advantage to ~.8% depending on the house rules, meaning that out of 100 hands you will lose 48 times, win 43 times, and push (tie) 9 times. Using the basic strategy below, Blackjack provides the best odds of all the games in the casino.
Memorize this chart. It may seem complicated, but as you play you’ll start to see the patterns. Until you have it memorized, print out the chart and bring it with you and place in your lap for reference, totally legal. General rules of thumb to help you get the hang of things:
-Always split 8’s and Aces
-Never split 5’s or 10’s
-Always double on 11 except against an Ace
-Always double a 10 except against an Ace or 10
-Always stand o hard (no Ace) 17 or higher
-Always stand on a 12 except against a 2 or 3
- Practice online here. before you hit the tables This computer simulation will get you up to speed quickly by warning you when you’re about to make an incorrect move.Just an hour and you’ll be amazed how comfortable you are.
- Hit the tables. The only way to get better is to practice, and everybody was new once. Some miscellaneous advice:
-In the beginning, sit as far to the dealer’s right (3rd base) as possible; this will give you more time (while the other players make their moves) to tally up your totals, check your cheat sheet, and make the right call.
-Never mind the idiots. Most players DO NOT use basic strategy, and believe in myth over math. The most common myth is that one player’s decisions affect the other player’s odds. THEY DO NOT. Neither your position at the table nor the other players decisions will change your odds of winning. When you hit 12 against a dealer’s 2 or 3, the idiots may give you a hard time. Be confident. Look the idiot in the eyes and say, “I play the math and that was the correct move. My decisions do not affect your odds of winning, just ask him,” and point to the dealer.
-Tip the dealer occasionally, and tip the waitresses for every drink.
-The dealer is your friend and they know basic strategy. If you forget the correct move, simply ask the dealer “What does the book say I should do here?” and follow their advice.
- Count the cards. If you want to get really serious, learn to count cards. Unlike most games at the casino, the odds in blackjack change from being in your favor to being in the dealer’s favor throughout the game, depending on the cards left in the deck. Basic card counting strategies keep track of this moving advantage, and bet more when they have the advantage. You can get started here.
Get Sunday morning started with breakfast at Coffee Sides Patisserie Bistro. Then grab a game of golf at the Hilton Golf Course. If golf isn’t your thing, head there anyways; there’s a lovely beach-side pool permanently devoid of a crowd, and a deserted beach with thatched umbrella’s & reclining chairs, the perfect way to end your weekend vacation.
Congrats, you have now mastered the weekend get-away, 5-star burgers, and playing blackjack like a champ. But remember to actually do it. Nobody ever looked back at their life and said “I wish I would have worked more,” or “I wish I hadn’t taken that vacation.”
And for all you female Fatcats out there, this isn’t just a man’s game; you can take your partner away for the weekend just the same. In fact, the trip I just described wasn’t one I envisioned; that’s the trip my fiancé surprised me with just a few days ago, and let me tell you I was oh so impressed.
Thanks for reading,
-Christoph Grizzard, The Fat Cat Investor