Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Culture, History and Food in Puerto Vallarta

Whether it’s your first time to Puerto Vallarta or your tenth, the Vallarta Food Tour is a must!  Not only will you experience some of Vallarta’s amazing local food, but you will also learn about the culture and history of Puerto Vallarta. 

The tour starts at Mole Rosa, a locally owned restaurant located in the Zona Romantica, off of the south end of the Malecon. I never thought I liked mole before, but apparently I was wrong. The owner served up 3 different types of mole: the traditional mole which tastes a little like chocolate, a green mole that is made with pumpkin seeds, and their specially, mole rosa, which is a pink mole infused with red beets. They were all delicious! 

From there, we strolled around the Zona Romantico down a well-known street called Basilio Badillo to Robles taco stand. There are countless taco stands around Vallarta, and it is amazing how different one can be from the next.  A taco is just a taco right? Not the case! You can spend a week here eating only at taco stands & never have the same meal twice. Robles is one of the best, serving their taco “dorado” style, basically meaning fried. They are a little greasy, but SO tasty. 

Enjoying Robles's fried tacos. Yum.

Our third tasting included ceviche at Marisco’s El Guero. To ensure the best quality, the owner of this hidden treasure buys his seafood fresh daily, dorado (also called mahi-mahi), straight from the Banderas Bay. Served on a crisp tostada, it was one of the best ceviches I have ever eaten. 

Our next delicacy was at Cesar’s Coconut Stand. Family owned for 3 generations, Cesar’s stand serves over 1000 coconuts a week during busy season. Serving both coconut juice and coconut meat, this was clearly a popular spot as there were several drive-up customers in just the few moments we were there. 

Hot off the presses were fresh tortillas for our fifth stop. La Gloria Tortilla Factory provides tortillas for the majority of the local restaurants. If you think the tortillas are delicious with your meal, you will love them freshly made.

After strolling across a couple of swinging bridges and through the local flea market into El Centro, my personal favorite stop was La Revolucion. The history behind this local cantina is fascinating. Evidently, this spot was frequented by Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton back in the day. Witnesses say they had some of their best lover’s spats right at the bar. La Revolucion served up 3 scrumptious soups: black bean, tortilla and Florida Calabasas. This was accompanied by local tequila (which you are supposed to SIP, not down in one gulp). 

Meandering through El Centro, we stopped by one of the town’s icons, the church of our Lady Guadalupe, and then down the famous Malecon. Conception, one of the local’s favorite vendors, was on the Malecon & offered up a refreshing cup of tuba water - water made from fermented coconut with little pieces of yellow or red apple, chunks of nuts and a little sugar added. This unique combination makes the water more refreshing than soft drinks or other waters that are prepared with fruit.

The day ended on a sweet note at La Azteca’s candy store. Another family owned business, the owner of La Azteca started out as a street vendor. His candied nuts were so popular that he moved into a small store front, and his business expanded numerous times over 30 years. Owned now by his children, La Azteca now has 9 storefronts and offers a plethora of homemade candy treats.

We all left the tour pleasantly full with an enriched appreciation for the Mexican way of life. If it’s your first time to Puerto Vallarta, the Vallarta Food Tour is the best way to learn about the history of the area, experience some incredible local foods & learn your way around town. If you've been to Vallarta before, the Food Tour will show you tucked away treasures that you probably haven't yet experienced, adding to the rich culture that you already love so much. Don’t miss out!

For more information, 

-Stephanie Watts

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