International Restaurants: In Search of Exotics
: Today, Puerto Vallarta’s international restaurant scene can satisfy even the most sophisticated bon vivant. Of course, chances are that if you are visiting Mexico for the first time, you will want to experience authentic Mexican cuisine with its broad variety of flavors first and foremost.
Craving: A Prickly Pear
: Both a fruit and a vegetable, the indigenous prickly pear cactus has been a diet staple and the source of legends, magic and healing in this part of the world since Aztec times.
Hold the Guacamole!
: Hold the guacamole un minuto! You’re in Vallarta with an intercontinental dining scene that beats any resort town in Mexico! Chefs from all over the world have come here and stayed to open marvelous restaurants reflecting their countries’ culinary heritages.
: Few can resist being seduced by this popular liqueur made from Mexican coffee, and many include it in their list of gifts to bring back home.
Traditional Jalisco Candies
: A visit to Puerto Vallarta would not be sweet enough without these delicacies.
Hot Spot: The Marina Vallarta Malecon
: Peaceful and pretty and a world apart from the hurly-burly of town, yet just 15 minutes away, this is the perfect place for those who dare to dream.
: Take a close look at one of Mexico's most enduring traditions: freshly baked sweet breads available just about anywhere you go! (Slide Show)
Practice Makes Perfect: Staying Competitive in Puerto Vallarta’s Thriving Restaurant Scene
: Many of us have heard the joke in which a famous musician is stopped on the streets of New York by a passer-by with a question: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
: This now-classic dish is said to have originated here in Mexico on the busy Fourth of July weekend back in 1924.
One for All, and All for One
: If Alexandre Dumas’ musketeers were among us, Athos, Porthos and Aramis would most likely feel a strong kinship toward chefs Thierry Blouet, Roland Menetrey and Heinz Reize, their gourmet counterparts.
: When is a Walmart not a Walmart? When you are in Puerto Vallarta, where along with "standard" fare you will find unexpected local treasures at this and other major supermarkets in town.
Cravings: A Papaya
: At its flavor zenith when 80% ripe and responding slightly to pressure, this indigenous pear-shaped fruit with juicy orange flesh can be enjoyed year round in Mexico.
: My first experience with it made me feel much more sophisticated, somehow. And while decades have passed, I still vividly recall my shocked delight upon tipping that creamy cold spoonful of vichyssoise onto my tongue.
: Blenders are whirring all over Vallarta, so don’t bother digging out yours when you want a refreshing fruit drink. Instead, head for any of the myriad juice bars, cafes or restaurants serving up cool, luscious “smoothies.”
Cravings: A Jicama
: The crunchy, colorless flesh of this indigenous root vegetable isn’t exactly exciting to the tongue. But it is certainly chameleonic, surprisingly adept at absorbing and relaying surrounding flavors.
Chiles: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
: Like Johnny Carson, Hank Muffett and Conrad Kostelecky understand the wisdom of leaving when you’re at the top of your game. After 11 years of growing a local three-table eatery into a wildly popular business, begun more or less as a hobby, the two recently sold Chiles in the hope of having more time to smell the salt air.
Best Time to Try New Restaurants: Restaurant Week
: While any time is a good time to enjoy our thriving and super-varied world-class dining scene (No, folks back home, we are not subsisting on beans and tortillas here!) everyone gets to try some of the best restaurants at low fixed prices during Vallarta Lifestyles’ Restaurant Week, May 15 – 31 every year.
Best Responsive Marketing: Pie in the Sky
: Recognizing an opportunity when they see it, the owners of this 18-year-old bakery are maximizing their landslide win in the most recent virtualvallarta.com Readers’ Choice poll. Proud of winning first place in the Best Bakery, Best Dessert and Best Ice Cream categories, Susan Drexler Price and Philip Price thought, “Why not brag about it!”
Best La Cruz Connection: Philo’s
: On a typical Thursday evening at Philo’s Music Bar on Calle Delfin in the heart of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, the musicians are tuning up while, in one corner of the palapa-covered space, a group of grinning Mexican children are playing “Simon Says” – in English.
Best Place to Beat the Munchies After Midnight: Pizza Metro
: Think of it as a late-night outlet for La Dolce Vita, its successful Malecon sibling. Open until 4 am, Pizza Metro is a tiny, but extremely popular, stop among the downtown nightclub crowd. Nothing beats a slice of pizza after a night of gallivanting around town. And with over half a dozen varieties to choose from, including vegetarian – a comforting spinach and mushroom combo – Pizza Metro hits the late-night spot.