Im sure youre dying to know what the food was like in Mexico (I would be). G often says the food when he was in Mexico the 1st time was terrible so we didnt have high hopes. For the most part though, we ate quite well. The standards included fresh seafood (primarily mahi mahi, shrimp, and red snapper), tacos, tortillas, salsa, and guacamole. And everything came with lots of avocado and lime. We quickly gravitated to the fish and asada (beef) tacos as our standby choices. The fresh tortillas varied widely and often made the taco. As I mentioned before, our best tacos were at The Happy Ant in Puerto Vallarta, though we also frequented a taqueria in San Pancho called Uno Mas (one more). I think I probably consumed enough tortillas and guacamole to feed a small army. Certainly enough that I dont need to eat either for a few months! G and I had several conversations about the relative merits of the avocado- I think theyre wonderful, hes not a fan.
In San Pancho, there were only a handful of restaurants- several cheap and cheerful type places and 3 or 4 more upscale. Since we were there for 6 days, we had occasion to try almost all of them and had several surprisingly good meals. Ill tell you about the top 3, in no particular order.
The hotel we stayed in had a restaurant called Azucena, which served dinner only on the weekends. We went one evening when they had live music- that was a mistake, the music was terrible! The food, however, was inspired. They served us an amuse bouche of a richly flavored spinach soup. We shared an appetizer of Iberian ham with a tomato bruschetta. I opted for a posole and G went with the Arrachera steak. My posole contained 3 of the absolute biggest shrimp Ive ever seen (about the size of my hand). The only downer was that Gs steak came with mushrooms. Oops! Otherwise, a delicious meal and pleasant evening, which had the added benefit of being just downstairs from our room.
Café del Mar was just up the hill and had a great setting. It was all open air and terraced with tables on 3 levels. Our table was on the lowest level, underneath a trellis and we could look out over the village. This was definitely the trendiest place we ate and served self-proclaimed fusion cuisine. I ordered mahi mahi with grilled Portobello and polenta fries. I thought the polenta fries was a misprint, but it wasnt and they were delicious, as was the mahi. G ordered red snapper, which came in some kind of hibiscus sauce. It was unique and also yummy, though the accompanying potatoes were very over salted. Chocolate cake was a nice finale and very generously sized. Upstairs was a nice collection of local artwork- we wandered through before heading home.
And finally, the piece de resistance (OK, that might be a bit dramatic): our big blowout meal on the final night in town. We walked about a mile or so to get to Mar Plata, where we had seen the flamenco show earlier in the week. Its owned by a couple- one Argentinian and the other Dutch. It most closely resembles an Argentine-style steakhouse. The setting is really cool- theyve taken pieces of old ships and incorporated them into the architecture. Theres a big ships steering wheel at the entrance. Its also FULL of lanterns. Gs got a picture of them here. Anyway, the food: we ate a LOT of it. For an app, we shared a plate of Serrano ham with fresh mozzarella and a divine balsamic vinegar. We both chose steak for entrees, which I worried was too much food. The steaks were 450 grams EACH. Thats a pound of meat. It may have been too much food, but it was some of the best steak Ive ever eaten. G had the Arrachera again (described as an outside skirt steak) and I had the flank- both served with chimichurra sauce on the side. It was perfect, really. Sides were some excellent frites, garlic almond green beans, and roasted vegetables. After polishing off that heap of food, we moved on to dessert. We shared the chocolate fondue with fresh fruit. G had espresso and we ordered an after-dinner liqueur- anise of some kind. The walk home was definitely much needed and we put ourselves to bed with bulging bellies.
None of these places have their own websites yet, but you can read these articles Cafe del Mar and Mar Plata.