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Jean Blanchard

Puerto Vallarta

11 posts in this topic

I'll be leaving for my annual month on the beach soon. Anybody been to PV lately? Eaten anywhere new, special?

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I'll be leaving for my annual month on the beach soon.  Anybody been to PV lately?  Eaten anywhere new, special?

My wife and I will be in that neck of the woods later this month, so any "old" restaurant recc's would be appreciated as well.

Month on the beach. As my French teacher would put it "la vie est dur."


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Actually, it appears that I will be in Nuevo Vallarta, next door to Puerto VAllarta, if that jogs anybody's memories.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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We go every year and have several favorites. We are leaving in mid feb so can't tell of any new gems at this moment.

All of these are in town--either downtown or Zona Romantico

El Arrayan--Mexican specialties from the charming owner's grandmother, lovely setting

Red Cabbage--also Mexican, LOVE the chilies en nogado--the best!!

Vitea--Continental-y fusion-y wonderful. love that some of the entrees can be ordered as half order. Stylin' interior design

Barcelona Tapas--just as it says--tapas with a great view, you won't leave hungry if you want more food than just tapas, 72 steps up--hope you are in good shape

Our favorite hamburger/BBQ chicken place--Chilies(NOT the US chain)changed hands and the owners are now helping/consulting at a new place near Los Muertos Beach(maybe on Olas Altas, not sure about that)called Picnic. I have not been there yet, but friends say it is just as good as Chilies.

Maria Candelaria--small family run place featured on Rick Bayless show--great tamales

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We go every year and have several favorites.  We are leaving in mid feb so can't tell of any new gems at this moment.

All of these are in town--either downtown or Zona Romantico

El Arrayan--Mexican specialties from the charming owner's grandmother, lovely setting...

Maria Candelaria--small family run place featured on Rick Bayless show--great tamales

Last November, we took an eight-day trip to Puerto Vallarta with a group of friends. We ate most meals at our villa, courtesy of two staff cooks, interspersed with a few trips to a local panaderia for breakfast fare and a couple of mid-afternoon tacqueria crawls. Though I missed the sojourn to Maria Candelaria, my travelling companions gave it positive reviews.

Our one dinner off-property was at El Arrayán. As you can see from the website photo, it's a charming setting with an open-roofed courtyard. It started to rain on the night we were there, and it was rather quaint eating dinner while rain was falling just a few feet away. On the whole, the food was all right... photogenic enough but nothing stellar tastewise. I've certainly had better meals in Puerto Vallarta and would likely try another restaurant on my next visit rather than return to El Arrayán. Here are a few shots from our dinner.

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Marinated Goat Cheese served with a Mexican herb salad

One of the night's best dishes. Three kinds of smoked peppers gave it a nice kick.

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Tostaditas with Escabeche Duck

Perfect example of an appetizer that photographed better than it tasted.

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Ceviche Colima with baby scallops and avocado

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Grilled Fish with Axiote sauce

Nothing to write home about. Despite the sauce, the fish itself was dry and overcooked.

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Conchinita Pibil

The bite that I sampled from a friend's plate was rather tasty.

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Beef Tenderloin with Mole Especial

Disappointing. Beef was stringy and tough.

Surprisingly enough, one of my favourite dishes was a Fear Factor inspired appetizer: cricket tacos.

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They were astonishingly tasty, toasted until crispy and then tossed with chiles and salt. From what I understand, they're usually a bar snack eated with mescal or cerveza. Not everyone at our table would try them, but one of my dining companions and I found ourselves popping the remaining crickets on the plate like beer nuts. Go figure!


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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I LOVE your pictures!! Your experience with the rain sounds like ours on our first trip there. We were seated at first in the courtyard as we came without reservations and it was busy. Luckily, when the rain started they were able to move us under the roof and it was quite cozy dining near the rain, but not in it!!! I enjoyed the conchinita pibil, grilled shrimp, a very good confit of duck--on separate visits, of course!! We were planning on dining there during our upcoming trip and am now having second thoughts.

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Try Cafe des Artistes or any of Chef Thierry Blouet's restaurants. You won't regret it.


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Thanks! We have avoided that particular place because when we are there, we try to stick to Mexican on whatever level. I have always assumed Cafe des Artistes was more Continental than Mexican and have not given it much thought. I know it consistently wins taster choice awards for its category, so maybe this is the year for us to experience it. We obviously don't follow our rule to stingently as Vitea is fusion but I love a fish they prepare with Mexican spices and accompaniments and Barcelona Tapas, will, 'nuff said!!

Will report back in March.

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Looking forward to your feedback. We're heading there again in November and would definitely benefit from your dining reconnaissance.

Buen provecho!


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Hola!! Back from PV and REALLY not happy to be back! We had a wonderful stay with perfect weather and fabulous food. Two new(well, at least to us)places definitely worth a visit--Trio and Casa Naranjo. Trio has been around awhile and I am sure you know of it. We lOVED the chili roasted red snapper over ratatouille with cilantro/lime sauce and shrimp sauteed with garlic, brandy, tomatoes and chili oil. Nice wine list. Casa Naranjo was new last year but we didn't make it there and are so glad we found it! We went twice because we loved it so much. More Mediterranean but with Mexican spices and influences. We loved the decor--nicely done spare but not sparse, open kitchen, tables nicely spaced. Great service. Again, we had seafood(a snapper and a wonderful tuna). Wonderful appetizers and salads that are perfectly dressed--not too astringent, not too wet w/ citrus-y dressing. We will definitely return to both of these.

We went to el Arrayan twice and were not disappointed. We love the plantain empanadas and the salsas made in house are perfect with them. I had a new shrimp dish that was divine--chipotle sauce with raicilla flambe served over mashed yams--LOVED the flavor contrasts! Also new was chilies en nogado which I thought could not possibly be better than Red Cabbage--fabulous and gorgeous presentation. We also had the fish with axiote sauce and thought the fish was perfect--not overcooked or dry. We skipped desserts to have crepes on the malecon and watch performers in the amphitheater.

Barcelona Tapas was wonderful and we love the view and the breeze. The one annoyance was a group of small boys that attempt to shake you down for opening car door, opening the gate etc. I don't mind paying them for getting a cab, but not just for showing up.

Vitea is a treat and makes the best mojitos on the malecon or Muertos beach. Yes, I tried many! My favorite there is a spice glazed red snapper with jicama slaw. Our other fish was good but the veg side was not as pleasing as the jicama--I can't remember which item it was. I really like that several entrees can be ordered as half plates which is perfect for me. Great dessert of caramelized pineapple with coconut ice cream.

Rio Grande has been a favorite of ours for years. Casual BBQ fish restaurant across from the Ley grocery store on Av Mexico. We loved the BBQ snapper and the large grilled shrimp are always great. They have an extensive menu but we have never had anything except guacamole, fish, shrimp.

We had lunch at several places on Playa Muertos that was not great but pina coladas and watching the beach scene is "the thing" and we knew that going in so can't complain.

We went to Sayulita for the day on the bus--as soon as we were loaded and underway the driver cranked up the music--70-80s dance mix--LOUD! "Funky town" was first and I knew that was just where we were going!!! Very suntanned funky middle aged surfer dudes were gettin' down in the aisle--quite a trip!! By the time we arrived and sat down at a beach bar I was really ready for a pina colada and did not even blink when a goldfish bowl sized drink arrived for me!! Well, I drank the WHOLE thing and the day got gooooood!!

The other days we spent shopping or just walking the streets. We found Picnic where Hank and Conrad from Chilies are lending a hand. We loved the burgers and it was good to see them again--we always had a lunch or 2 at Chilies when they were there.

We are certainly missing the brilliant sunsets and margaritas that were necessary for the viewing! I am so envious of those that stay for extended periods--it is truly paradise!

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as a chef that lives and operates a casual fine dining steakhouse here in puerto vallarta, i would like to thank all of you for your contributions.

many people from the society have dropped into my restaraunt ( Bruce's back alley bistro ) and have really had some great conversation , diner and wine

i like the conversation part lol

there was a man name mark ( cant remember his nick name ) i went so far as to have him in my kitchen with me one afternoon, tyhis mans passion for food as a customer was unbelievable it sure was nice talking to him.

if any of you folks would like to drop in and say hello i would be honored

bruce

www.brucesbackalleybistro.com

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