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Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco [long - pics]

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco [long - pics]
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  • Post #271 - December 29th, 2013, 3:55 pm
    Post #271 - December 29th, 2013, 3:55 pm Post #271 - December 29th, 2013, 3:55 pm
    Thanksgiving in Puerto Vallarta: 2013 Edition

    The View South from Zona Romantica
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    I’m back from my annual trip to Puerto Vallarta. We rented the same condo we’ve had for the past several years, and this time, we tended to stay in our immediate neighborhood and chill, rather than do a lot of trekking around. That’s not to say we didn’t get out to explore some new places, they just happened to be mostly within walking distance.

    On our first night, though, we visited an old favorite, Restaurante Rio Grande. With plans to return later in the week for their world class Pescado Sarandeado, we opted for some lighter fare. The Chow Poodle ordered fish tacos and, based on my previous good experience with their Sopa de Mariscos, I ordered a seafood casserole.

    Rio Grande’s Fish Tacos
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    Nice fresh fish - expertly fried . The Chow Poodle enjoyed them very much. Not earth shattering, but decent, and probably not the reason you’re dining at Rio Grande in any event.

    Rio Grande’s Cazuela de Mariscos
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    This casserole, ordered Ajillo style (guajillo pepper, mushrooms and garlic) was fantastic. Fresh as a daisy octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams in a nice garlic butter sauce with rice and veg to mix in. This would be a good dish to order alongside a large Pescado Sarandeado for sharing.

    We never made it back for that fish I was talking about. Instead, we came across Jorge’s Hideaway Shrimp Shack on a dead end street a couple of blocks from our condo.

    Jorge’s Hideaway Shrimp Shack
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    Jorge’s has been open for a little over a year and the extended family that runs the place couldn’t be nicer. Jorge’s Camarones a la Diabla was the single best bite of the entire trip. So good, in fact, that instead of returning to Rio Grande for that fish I talked about earlier, we returned to Jorge’s for a second helping.

    Jorge’s Camarones a la Diabla *
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    These shrimp are stir fried with slivered almonds in oil that includes a healthy dose of salsa mulata, which is the Chinese Chile Oil-style salsa which is somewhat common in the area. For reference, it’s served in Chicago at Los Gallos #2 for use with their Carne en su Jugo; but I digress. This dish is 100% Mexican, yet it seems to almost be an Asian/Mexican fusion dish. Served with slightly spicy green rice, this is one fine plate of food. This should not be missed by any heat-loving visitor to Puerto Vallarta. If you’re like me, you’ll ask for some extra salsa mulata on the side (both here as well as at Rio Grande, where an excellent version is on offer).

    Jorge’s Coconut Shrimp *
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    Another winning dish, though much more straight forward in its complexity, was a special of coconut shrimp. The shrimp were breaded (and green-coconutted) to order. They were tasty, but even the Chow Poodle preferred the shrimp diabla. The rest of the menu at Jorge’s is a mixed bag of grilled seafood and some dishes with sweet sauces, cheese and other accouterments. Order carefully. There’s some great stuff to be had at Jorge’s, but it looks to me like there may be some land mines on the menu to watch out for.

    * I apologize for the pictures of the food at Jorge’s. The restaurant is literally a shack and the lighting, what there is of it, is provided by bare CFL light bulbs; each one a different color (yellow, green, red, etc.).

    Another new place we came across is El Mole de Jovita.

    El Mole de Jovita
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    Sergio Mucino hails from Huixquilucan near Mexico City. According to Sergio, thanks to urban sprawl Huixquilucan “used to be a small town, now it’s more or less a suburb.” He hails from an area not as famous for its moles as Oaxaca, nonetheless, he opened his restaurant in order to honor his Mother, Jovita (and her mother and those that came before), by sharing his family’s mole recipes with the world.

    Sergio & Waitress Share Mole on the Street
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    Both The Chow Poodle and I chose dishes made with the original family recipe mole, which closely resembles a traditional Mole Negro. I had seafood chile rellenos and the Poodle had enchiladas de pollo. Both were very good and were a nice change of pace.

    El Mole de Jovita Chile Rellenos de Mariscos
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    El Mole de Jovita Chile Enchiladas de Pollo
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    While I wouldn’t call this destination dining, especially since we have such excellent examples of mole here in Chicago, it’s Sergio’s dedication to detail and his sincere "in It for the love of the game" attitude that won me over. There aren't very many places in PV serving good mole, and if the mood strikes, it’s well worth a visit. I just can’t help but want to see him succeed, so I hope a few people who follow this thread will pay him a visit.

    For Thanksgiving dinner this year, we returned to Coco’s Kitchen, located just steps from our condo.

    Coco’s Kitchen
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    We had been to Coco’s for Thanksgiving a couple years ago and really liked it. This time, they stepped up their game in the kitchen even more. I felt like I was attending Thanksgiving Dinner at Aunt Bertha’s house in rural Iowa. At one point, I even asked our waiter if he had a Gringo Abuela in the kitchen cooking up the dinner. :wink:

    Coco’s Homemade Rolls
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    Coco’s Garden Greens & Pear Salad
    With gorgonzola and caramelized pecans
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    Coco’s Traditional Stuffed Turkey
    Garlic mashed potatoes, sweet yams, orange spiced cranberry sauce and green beans
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    My request for all dark meat was accommodated with no problem. This meal was prepared masterfully. I couldn’t have done any better myself. My hat’s off to the staff at Coco’s, cooking a cuisine that is not in their normal repertoire. A special shout out for the green beans, which were cooked with white onion and celery in a preparation that has once again made a Thanksgiving green bean eater out of me.

    Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without the pie. They had both apple and pumpkin on offer.


    Coco’s Apple Pie
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    Coco’s Pumpkin Pie
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    So, one morning I was walking down the street over by the cathedral and I saw this unsavory character beckoning to me from a doorway. :lol:

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    She wanted me to enter what could only be described as a hole in the wall of a place called Sandy’s for breakfast. Sandy’s is an establishment that is slightly smaller than my family room. One side of the room is curtained off as a service area with the back corner acting as the “kitchen”.

    Sandy’s Kitchen
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    Juice and breakfast is their game, and they move a lot of it, mostly as to go orders. Probably 97% of their business comes from locals. The restaurant itself has only three or four tables, and we were lucky enough to snag the one next to the stove. I ordered chilaquiles and the Chow Poodle ordered chorizo & eggs.

    Sandy’s Kitchen Chorizo & Eggs
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    Sandy’s Kitchen Chilaquiles
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    Both dishes were good solid renditions, as would be expected from a place such as Sandy’s. Dirt cheap, too.

    Besides restaurants, we also did some shopping at local markets, though I didn’t really cook very much. If I were there on a longer stay, I certainly would do some serious cooking, but with only a week to spend (and Thanksgiving a part of it), there just wasn’t time to stock a kitchen and go for it. Here are a few random shots, though.

    Open Air Meat Market
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    Mole Fixins
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    Watch Repair at Punta Insurgentes
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    And these from the great U.S./Canadian Ex-pat market held every Saturday at the Paradise Community Center.

    Lebanese Pastries
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    Smoked Sausage and Pickles
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    Mama’s Jewish Comfort Food
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    Mama’s Immigration Menorah
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    That’s it for now. Hasta la próxima vez.

    Restaurant Rio Grande
    Av México 1175
    5 de Diciembre
    48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
    +52 322 222 0095

    Jorge’s Hideaway Shrimp Shack
    Calle Pilitas #206
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    3228896928

    El Mole de Jovita
    Basilio Badillo 220
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    322 2233065

    Coco’s Kitchen
    Púlpito 122
    Amapas
    Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
    +52 322 223 0373

    Sandy’s
    Hidalgo #395
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
    No Phone

    Paradise Community Center
    127 Pulpito
    Zona Romantica
    Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
    322-133-7263
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #272 - December 29th, 2013, 6:13 pm
    Post #272 - December 29th, 2013, 6:13 pm Post #272 - December 29th, 2013, 6:13 pm
    Fantastic post, stevez. Jorge's is find, and if we're ever back in PV, we'll seek it. Pix also superb (except for Jorge's, and I'm glad you explained why they weren't up to your usual standards; they were actually a little scary on first blush). Fine stuff, amigo.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #273 - December 29th, 2013, 6:18 pm
    Post #273 - December 29th, 2013, 6:18 pm Post #273 - December 29th, 2013, 6:18 pm
    Love the sign behind the menorah in the shot of the Jewish stall--"samples and guilt free". That whole market looked like a lot of fun!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #274 - December 29th, 2013, 9:27 pm
    Post #274 - December 29th, 2013, 9:27 pm Post #274 - December 29th, 2013, 9:27 pm
    I always look forward to your annual PV report Steve and this one is just as terrific as usual. Always great to see some new finds, delicious looking food and great pics and write-up. Thanks for sharing!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #275 - December 29th, 2013, 11:08 pm
    Post #275 - December 29th, 2013, 11:08 pm Post #275 - December 29th, 2013, 11:08 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Love the sign behind the menorah in the shot of the Jewish stall--"samples and guilt free". That whole market looked like a lot of fun!


    Yes. That market is pretty cool. There's much more than what I showed. There's also a 2nd market on Saturdays that's much more traditional and more of what you would expect from a Mexican farmers market.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #276 - December 30th, 2013, 3:21 am
    Post #276 - December 30th, 2013, 3:21 am Post #276 - December 30th, 2013, 3:21 am
    Excellent post steve. I think you single handedly inspired our routine trips down to PV. Though.. I have to ask, where's your report back on the Tacon de marlin? Don't tell me you didn't do your LTH research, or worse yet, you ate it but it wasn't worth posting on?
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #277 - December 30th, 2013, 8:37 am
    Post #277 - December 30th, 2013, 8:37 am Post #277 - December 30th, 2013, 8:37 am
    laikom wrote:Excellent post steve. I think you single handedly inspired our routine trips down to PV. Though.. I have to ask, where's your report back on the Tacon de marlin? Don't tell me you didn't do your LTH research, or worse yet, you ate it but it wasn't worth posting on?


    Never made it to Tacon de Marlin. We spent the whole trip on the south side of town. The farthest north we went was Rio Grande. Next time for sure!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #278 - December 30th, 2013, 9:15 am
    Post #278 - December 30th, 2013, 9:15 am Post #278 - December 30th, 2013, 9:15 am
    On a cold, wintery day, this just brought a little warmth to my morning. I always look forward to your finds so that I can put them on my list. We are regulars at the market and the liver pate from Mama's is a must since I don't bother to make it myself down in PV. This is my last year that we will only be able to spend February in PV. Next year, Feb. and March since I will be retired. Yeah!! Hopefully, sometime you guys will come during one of those months and we can share a meal or two together. From what you've written, you stay right down the beach from us. I'll try to post pictures if I ever figure out how to do that!
  • Post #279 - January 30th, 2014, 1:41 pm
    Post #279 - January 30th, 2014, 1:41 pm Post #279 - January 30th, 2014, 1:41 pm
    After taking a year off we felt the need to head back to Puerto Vallarta for another holiday week. Although there was rain the 1st few days, which is unheard of this time of year, the town was beautiful and the eating good. The fireworks on New Years Eve were the best ever.

    Old favorites that were still on top of their game were La Leche, for their eclectic modern Mexican cuisine, Rio Grande, El Arrayan, and Tacon de Marlin. You can see my earlier posts on these places. New places we tried were an enjoyable breakfast at Coco’s Kitchen, a good lunch at Coco Tropical, the delicious takeout chicken at El Pechugon, and Jorge’s, which had a fabulous poblano soup but other dishes were bland. We also did a day trip to Sayulita, which was very crowded, and had a decent lunch on the beach at Don Pedro’s. The setting was better than the food.

    We are all looking forward to returning again this next holiday season.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #280 - December 31st, 2014, 12:55 pm
    Post #280 - December 31st, 2014, 12:55 pm Post #280 - December 31st, 2014, 12:55 pm
    Another year, another trip to Puerto Vallarta.

    After a 3 year layoff from Cafe Des Artiste because of some weak cooking, we tried it again and had a spectacular meal. Starting with the special passion fruit martini topped with coconut foam, continuing with a puff pastry and tamale duo of escargots poblano garlic, herb butter, and creamy bean sauce, confit of suckling pig and broiled bay scallop taco, duck duo in tamarind sauce with guava and arbol chili, and marinated broiled octopus with spinach and mushroom gratin, bean cream, and creamy huitlacoche. This was very sophiticated cooking and all good. Service was polished and professional. Chef Thierry is on top of his game and it's the place to go for a big city, expensive dinner. Bonus-we finally were able to eat in the garden, which is awesome.

    Rio Grande is our go to place for great seafood at moderate prices and they are still solid. They have the best snapper sarandeado, but don't miss the crab enchiladas and seafood casserole. We always try to find something new every year and after being on my short list we finally made it to Red Cabbage and loved it. It's traditional Mexican cuisine serving things like chicken with mole negro, huitlacoche quesadillas, peanut soup, chili relleno, carnitas in salsa verde, cochinita pibil, and pork shank with salsa chili ancho. It was all good and this will be another yearly go to restaurant.

    I highly recommend taking a Vallarta Food Tour. They offer 3 tours-a downtown tour, a Pitillal food tour, and an evening taco crawl. We did the downtown tour which lasted about 3 hours and included 8 stops with something to eat or drink at each one, including several tacos, ceviche, tortilla soup, enchiladas with mole verdi and mole negro, etc. Alex was our wonderful guide and was very knowledgable, spoke great English, and provided much fascinating history and background of PV and it's cooking and food preparation. Plan a late dinner that night as you will be stuffed after the tour.

    http://puertovallartafoodtours.com/
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #281 - January 9th, 2015, 6:16 pm
    Post #281 - January 9th, 2015, 6:16 pm Post #281 - January 9th, 2015, 6:16 pm
    As mentioned in my previous post Vallarta Food Tours offers different options including a Pitillal food tour. A list of the tour stops is mentioned on the website and we decided to cab it over and try to replicate it one afternoon. Pittallal was probably a former town but became encompassed by Puerto Vallarta. It's east of Costco but a world away, like stopping into a small town anywhere in Mexico. There are very few gringos. Several of the places on the tour are only open at night but exclusively to the tour during the day. Others we just couldn't find as they were nameless. We didn't starve. We found a little hole in the wall place just off the town square called Carnitas El Pitillal serving great birria tacos, gorditas queso, and hibiscus tea. Marisco's Tinos was the original Tino's and we had great sarandeado-much better than Tino's on the Malecon. My guess is the original Tino's left this a number of years ago.

    A stop on our original food tour that we returned to and will now be a go to place for lunch was Mariscos El Guero just south of the Rio Caule. It's a small family owned joint and has the best ceviche I've had in PV. They also had great smoked marlin which you can have in a taco or burrito. Tacon de Marlin was good but this is better. We also enjoyed their seafood cocktails and fried shrimp tacos.

    Los Muertos is the 1st brewpub in PV, located a block from El Guero, and has some pretty good craft beers. Didn't eat anything as the menu is Americanized pub food(which doesn't mean it's bad).

    Vista Grill is unusual in that it has a spectacular view but also good contemporary Mexican food. We enjoyed things like Guajillo Octopus, Pork Tenderloin with requeson, pine nuts, almonds, eggplant cake, and red mole and hibiscus sauce, and a smoked duck magret with heirlook tomato puree, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sauteed salicornia, and tomatoes with herbs and tomato and arugula. Our last dinner was El Arryan, as extraordinary as ever.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #282 - January 19th, 2015, 8:34 pm
    Post #282 - January 19th, 2015, 8:34 pm Post #282 - January 19th, 2015, 8:34 pm
    Just returned from our 19th annual 2-week stint in PV... and another year of excellent eating. We go down with various family, family friends, cousins, etc. so our overall group is about 30+ coming and going at various times, and dinners are sometimes large groups of 12-15 or more ranging in age from 1 to 70:

    River Cafe - first time back in a decade after a couple bad experiences (mostly on service side). Food was good -- I had a tamarind duck dish-- and our waiter was excellent handling a group of 17, and even entertained the 2 year old quite well. Probably has worked its way back into rotation.

    Las Adelitas - Very casual place walking distance from our timeshare, known for ribs and Tex-Mex fare. Formerly owned by former owner of No Name Cafe, it has slipped a little in terms of food quality and service since it was apparently sold within last year.

    Red Cabbage - Still one of our very favorites year after year because of their excellent chile en nogada, moles and tortilla soup.

    Si Senor - Every year, it seems like we have one bad meal... this was it. Service was HORRIFIC, as in waiter spilled/broke entire glass of red wine on my dad and then didn't even bother to help clean it up! We had to use everybody at the table's napkins and the table cloth from one of the tables pushed together for our group to clean up. Only when somebody got up and specifically asked another waiter for help did they bring anything to help clean up. Also, then they at first protested replacing his margarita that had visible hunks of glass sticking out of it, took 20 min. to bring replacement drink for him and the red wine drinker, and another 10 more to bring the remaining drinks for those of us who hadn't yet received ours. Food was OK, but nothing special and a couple had to send food back because it was room temp when served. Did they bother to take anything off the bill, or offer pay for cleaning clothes, etc? NOPE!

    New Year's Eve - we always have a couple of the maids from our timeshare complex cook a Mexican feast. Low keep and fun, but to be honest my tastes in Mexican food have grown and the menu/quality has not. But they make a big spread of guac/salsa, mahi mahi in garlic, chicken in a red tomato-based sauce, beef in a mole, chile relleno, cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice, refried beans.

    Barcelona Tapas - another annual stop, but this year it was just my wife and me so we couldn't dig as deep into the menu as when we've gone with groups. Bacon wrapped dates, grilled calamari, garlic shrimp, baked goat cheese, beef skewers same as they always are.


    El Arrayan - after two incredible meals here with just my wife the past couple years, we finally convinced my parents to return after a disappointing meal 7-8 years ago. They loved it! The pozole and cevices are all excellent, as are their braised meat dishes -- went with the cocinita pibil this year after enjoying the lamb barbacoa last time. Also, my wife and dad raved about a shrimp with peanut mole dish.

    Maia - We're good friends with the chef, who stayed with my parents when he staged at Carlos a decade or more ago. At the time, he was a meat chef at Cafe des Artistes and worked his way up to executive chef. Opened his own place about a year ago, focusing on locally sourced ingredients and more rustic recipes. Food was good, but in both visits (this year and last) I expected even better things given his work at Cafe. I had a cream of shrimp soup that was quite good, but the lamb "molognese" was just OK. My wife had a surf and turf special that was good, but she got the last one (this also seems to be a recurring theme here, where they run out even earlish)

    Sunday brunch at Hacienda San Angel - Amazing bruch spread with made to order omelets and crepes (thought no fresh figs this year!), carved prime rib, sushi, typical breakfast buffet fare... pro tip: get the crepe chef to make some sauteed fruit to top the cheesecake on the dessert table. Beautiful setting in what was once a hacienda ball room, with ceiling frescoes and wood carvings in niches around the room, plus an unreal view over the cathedral.

    Senora al Sur (Neuvo Vallarta) - A butcher shop turned restaurant that will grill your meat to order. You get in line, select the cut and size you want that is cut to order, weighed, and handed to you raw in a styrafoam container. You take it to register where it's rung up along with sides ordered and they mark the cooking instructions on the box. A runner then takes them to the grill and they arrive cooked a little while later. I got a 1/2 kilo ribeye that was amazing and perfectly cooked. Surpassed expectations for a place that sounded more like a gimmick.

    Cafe des Artistes - Another restaurant where we're friends with the chef. We've gone every year, and it had declined a bit for a couple years. Last year, it was much better and that level of food was the same this year. The menu wasn't as unique/interesting as in the past, though.

    Vallarta Food Tours Evening Taco Tour - Thoroughly enjoyed the tour which included visits to a variety of taco stands and restaurants to sample fish tacos, beef cheek, pastor, smoked marlin tacos; pozole, mezcal, churros, etc.

    Hacienda San Angel - Perhaps the most beautiful setting for dining in all of PV (at least equal to the garden at Cafe des Artistes). Food and service are always excellent

    Tacos Robles - went into town to shoot some photos and hit up this birria taco street stand we visited first on last year's Vallarta Food Tours' downtown tour.

    Trio - Another restaurant where we're friends with the chefs, who also own Vitea. As I do most years, went with the calamari with tomato, ginger & cilantro and the rack of lamb served with lamb ravioli. My parents also went with the lamb, and my wife enjoyed her sea bass.

    El Barracuda - casual seafood place known for their shrimp. Also, OK sashimi & ceviche. We've learned to stay away from their meat options on the combo plates.
  • Post #283 - January 29th, 2015, 2:15 am
    Post #283 - January 29th, 2015, 2:15 am Post #283 - January 29th, 2015, 2:15 am
    blipsman wrote:As I do most years, went with the calamari with tomato, ginger & cilantro


    I have not been able to get this single dish out of my head for the entirety of my son's life (we were expecting him at the time) - six years and counting. The sea in a garden in a garden in the sea. Puerto Vallarta.
  • Post #284 - December 5th, 2016, 1:27 pm
    Post #284 - December 5th, 2016, 1:27 pm Post #284 - December 5th, 2016, 1:27 pm
    It's been a while since I've reported on My Puerto Vallarta visits. We continue to go, but we've fallen into a pattern of hanging out at our condo and eating at old favorite places in our neighborhood. It's been a couple of years since I've broken any new ground. This time around, I did find a couple of new places worth mentioning as well as a couple of updates.

    Let me start with a disclaimer. I didn't bring my camera with me on this trip, so all pictures were taken with a cell phone, often in substandard lighting conditions. Please forgive the quality of the pictures this time around.

    First off, a place I posted about after one of my first visits, Vista Grill, has closed. The property owner is redeveloping the property and the former owner of the restaurant is searching for a new location closer to the Malecon. I'm sure he will eventually open a new spot.

    Second, we continue to love Pancho's Takos for al pastor tacos, shaved from a charcoal grilled trompo. Although the original guy, who was poetry in motion when it came to making the tacos, is no longer there, the new guy is still turning out the same delicious tacos, just not as quickly and smoothly as the original trompo man.

    Pancho's Takos Collection of Salsa
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    Pancho's Takos Al Pastor
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    A new place we tried for the first time this trip is Casa Fantasia. Casa Fantasia is a small B&B located around the corner from our condo. They have a beautiful open air courtyard where they serve three meals a day. The ambiance is great...very much in the school of Cafe des Artistes, but the food is much more down home "cantina style". On Friday nights, they feature a special of Paellea, but we didn't try it. The waiter pointed us toward the more Mexican choices as being better.

    Casa Fantasia
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    Casa Fantasia Friday Night Specials
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    As you can see, prices are quite reasonable. Translated into dollars, the Paella was a little over $7.50, and the rack of lamb, the most expensive item on the menu, was only $18. Both included soup or salad (as did everything else on the menu). Besides the blackboard specials, they have a full menu of Mexican items. I opted for the waiter recommended shrimp chile rellenos, and the Chow Poodle ordered a combo plate with an enchilada, a taco, a chile relleno and a good sized piece of skirt steak.

    Our total tab, including dinner, two cervezas and a spicy mojito...$20. This place is a great option, if you're looking for cantina type food in a beautiful setting.

    Casa Fantasia Salad
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    Casa Fantasia Shrimp Chile Relleno
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    Casa Fantasia Plato Fiesta Mexicana
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    Lastly, another new spot we were introduced to by some local friends is the poorly named Martini en Fuego Grill. NO...it's not a cigar chompin', martini swillin' River North type place as you may surmise from the name. You can probably get a martini there, if you were so inclined (they have a full bar), but they also have an excellent wine list of (mostly) Mexican and South American wines and BYOB is OK, with a small corkage charge.

    It's a family run local seafood spot that has yet to be discovered by the crowds. Chef Roberto is a trained chef who has put in his time at the Four Seasons and other resorts and restaurants. He went off on his own and, for a while, he had a place in Mismaloya, but now he's moved into the "City". His cooking is well balanced and nuanced and well worth a visit if you find yourself in PV.

    Martini en Fuego Grill is located in a nondescript storefront on a side street, just a few blocks up from the Malecon.

    Martini en Fuego Grill
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    I had Roberto's special pescado vallarta, which is a nice filet of snapper, served with shrimp, clams & mussels.

    Martini en Fuego Grill's Pescado Vallarta
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    The chow Poodle had some garlic shrimp (sorry, no picture). And one of my dining companions had a tuna steak, cooked perfectly to a rare center with a balsamic glaze.

    Martini en Fuego Grill's Tuna
    Picture from Facebook
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    For dessert, the chef sent out a poached pear with homemade strawberry ice cream, which was stupendous, and then poured us shots of some homemade pear tequila that included a full sized pear in the bottle.

    Martini en Fuego Grill Pear Tequila
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    All I can say is get there before this place gets discovered and you have to wait to get in.

    Pancho's Takos
    Calle Basilio Badillo 162
    Emiliano Zapata, 48380
    No Phone
    Opens at 6 and stays open late

    Casa Fantasia
    Pino Suárez 203
    Emiliano Zapata, 48380
    +52 322 223 2444

    Martini en Fuego Grill
    Francisco I. Madero 260
    Emiliano Zapata, 48380
    +52 322 228 0088
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #285 - December 12th, 2016, 1:42 am
    Post #285 - December 12th, 2016, 1:42 am Post #285 - December 12th, 2016, 1:42 am
    Thanks, Steve, We'll be there next month.
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #286 - January 5th, 2017, 12:05 am
    Post #286 - January 5th, 2017, 12:05 am Post #286 - January 5th, 2017, 12:05 am
    Visiting for the first time in Feb over president's day weekend!

    Can't thank everyone enough for all the detailed reports, information, and recommendations. I've learned a lot of new vocabulary, new styles of latin food, and culture about the area. I'm happy to have a solid list of places to check out.
  • Post #287 - January 2nd, 2018, 8:44 pm
    Post #287 - January 2nd, 2018, 8:44 pm Post #287 - January 2nd, 2018, 8:44 pm
    Want to put in a quick but strong word in for Pancho's Tacos, which is making some stunningly good tacos al pastor. Hit with some lime and avocado crema, these three-bite beauties hit all of your fatty, salty, acidic dopamine receptacles. My gf and I had four each and would have kept going were it not for our, you know, feeble mortality.

    Be prepared to wait--took us about 30 minutes. But there's something about being surrounded by other people who also think of the trompo guy as an artiste that makes you, well, hopeful. (Of what, who knows?)

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