Friday, January 25, 2013

Puerto Vallarta

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-West Coast of Mexico for Seafood, Street Eats & Fancy Food

Today we head to Mexico and one of it's better places to vacation. After a wonderful four days in Aguascalientes celebrating my cousins wedding the entire side of my moms fam and some friends of the groom got on a bus and headed for Puerto Vallarta.

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First time visitor to PV

Me, my immediate family and a couple of cousins stayed up the mountain in Punta Negra. We had a really fantastic place on the beach that came complete with a pool and personal chef and staff. The owner of the place down to the helping hands were great. If you have a couple families or a big one going down I'd recommend Casa Patty for a great stay.

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A view of the beach from my rooms balcony

I hadn't been to Mexico in some time. Frosh year of college spring break we had an interesting experience that still makes for a great story today but I was kind of turned off. Not just at the attempted blackmail threats made by placa but also because Cancun is just a dump of large resorts with places focusing on cheap all inclusive garbage in which case you get what you pay for. Lesson learned? Stay away from Cancun it's our Daytona Beach. Staying in Punta Negra worked out great because we had an amazing beach to ourselves in the backyard and town was just a short bus ride down the hill.

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El Calamar Adventurero

Before I left I knew I was in good hands as far as food goes but in all honesty this thread over at LTH is so damn useful it was almost too much. Every time I tried to read thru it I ended up over in Pilsen or somewhere else eating Mexican food before I could write places down. So I just kind of went at it as I walked around. Needless to say as I was reading this before I wrote this report I saw this place below in a picture as one of the good inexpensive joints in town. I concur and just like the tipper said it's a great place near the bus stop where you get off at in town.

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Shrimp and Onion Quesadilla

Enjoyed by local Mexican folks and gringos in the know. I ate here everyday I was in PV (five to be precise) and even recognized the cook in Silas Jayne's pics in that thread. You know the seafood is fresh because one of the popular fish markets in town is a few feet down and the cook goes over there to grab fish and shrimp as needed.

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Shrimp and Fish Tacos

Nothing fancy here but the perfectly battered seafood served in a warm tortilla with a slurry of sides for you to dress as you please tasted grand. Served with cheap ice cold Pacifico these tacos hit the spot each and every time I ate them. The shrimp in particular were fantastic and whenever I get the crave which I still do I'll go to La Lagartija Taqueria for something close but not quite as good. I noticed what seemed to be like alot of expats or regular wintertime wanderers eating here along with locals headed to or coming from work. It lived up to the looks.

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Succulent Shrimp Tacos

Since we had a chef and all that I did alot of eating at our rental. I forget her name but she was great and must of learned well from her mom. Each meal requested whether it was fried whole fish like her mom used to make or comfort favorites like chilaquiles for breakfast and chile rellenos for lunch it was all good. She made some of the best damn Nayarit style garlic shrimp I've ever had. We had her make it a couple times after asking for her favorite or signature recipe she likes to make and eat for herself.

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Home cooked meals that we didn't have to prepare...always nice

One of the days spent there was on a big boat that we rented (Captain included) and took out to a popular snorkeling area. Nothing special as far as food goes on the boat but our guide was great and we had a blast drinking and singing while enjoying good times. We've gone on some great family trips with virtually everybody on my moms side (One of Seven girls) over the years from renting a house boat in Kentucky to renting a bus driver and touring Ireland. This was another fun one.

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Marina Vallarta

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I saw this place early morning as we walked by and took note for later that afternoon

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usually a good sign, especially considering not many people were anywhere else

Even though some family members weren't into eating seafood in Mexico we gave Mariscos 8 Tostadas a go. I wasn't scared and those of us that weren't we were rewarded with some good eats, especially after a day in the sun. Fresh cold seafood dishes taste great and that's what they do here. You can get different varieties served on a tostada with an assortment of salsas.

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Tostadas w/ fresh seafood, Coctel de Camarones & Raw Tuna in Spicy Sesame Soy Sauce

I liked this place and would go back again no problemo. Nice place to eat at if your staying near the marina or doing any activities there. I spent alot of time just walking around and stopping in at different bars for a beer and of course worked up an appetite while doing so.

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Strolling around

There was one intersection in town that I mentally noted as "chicken square". It had a two grilled bird shacks and one rotisserie cooked chicken shop on three of the four corners and it always smelled great around there when walking by.

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Pollo Feliz won out on my last day as I gave into the amazing smells coming from it...

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...Happy with my choice, this was a flavorful grilled bird

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Across the street from Pollo Feliz

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I spied these ladies making fresh sopes and had to have one

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Chorizo con Papas not bad for a little more than a buck

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Café des Artistes

We also had a chance to get a fancy meal in and my sister chose Café des Artistes as our spot to splurge out at. We had some good well executed food made with fresh quality ingredients as was expected. The dining experience as a whole was really top notch as far as service and atmosphere goes. Very nice outside seating. We started with gratis short rib nachos and I thought that was a little off as far as fancy food goes but it was free and they were good.

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Highlights as far as app's go were the Baked Goat Cheese "Crottin", Octopus Carpaccio, Fresh Tuna Tartare and Confit Duck Chilaquiles. It got dark and I couldn't get any half decent pics of our main entrees but the shrimp au comal, lamb osso bucco and a few of the specials were fantastic.

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Giant shrimp flamed w/ tequila & veg broth w/ ginger, swiss chard frittata, confit mushrooms & French green beans

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See ya next time @chibbqking

1 comment:

Patty said...

Thanks, just in time for our yearly Valentine trip to PV.

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