How to celebrate like a true Revolucionario!!

Revolution day in puerto vallarta with vallarta food tours

Revolution day in Puerto Vallarta

November 20th is a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).  The Mexican Revolution’s impact on Mexico is enormous.  The images of Emiliano Zapata (Vallarta Food Tour’s personal favorite revolutionary) and Pancho Villa  are inextricably linked to their birth country and the Mexican Revolution they helped take shape.   The Mexican Revolution was hard fought, bloody and long.  That much exertion surely needed some food and drinks!  In a sort of homage, Vallarta Food Tours thought we would compile a list of fantastically, revolutionarily great places to eat like a revolucionario.  

Yep, we are going to exercise a bit of creative license.  I mean, we are positive that  the likes of Villa, Madero, Zapata, Carranza and Obregon would have enjoyed our chosen spots.  They did have taste buds, after all. There were definitely times that they enjoyed foods like charro beans and tamales that could be cooked on the field and travelled well.  Maybe sometimes they waxed poetic about an aromatic birria or even a warm pozole, both dishes that harken mama’s home cooking.  We are pretty much positively sure that they did. 😉 If they were in Puerto Vallarta, these are the walking tours of restaurants we would take them on.
Our list of the what to do in Puerto Vallarta if you want to eat like a revolucionario or are just a helluva cool person:
El Arrayan Allende #344, Colonia Centro.  Step into El Arrayan and you will find a colorful, kitschy restaurant that “gets it”.  They create authentic dishes that capture Mexico’s culinary soul.  Among our favorites are the Duck Tostadas and, for those that like adventure, the Cricket Tacos as starters. For entrees, give the Beef Barbacoa, Enchiladas en Mole Poblano and Cochinita Pibil a whirl.  To wash it all down, we really cannot get enough of their namesake cocktail, Arrayan Margarita.  VIVA MEXICO!!
MaiaCalle Pulpito #120.  Maia bills itself as poetic cuisine.  Nothing could be truer.  Maia’s food is artistic, inventive and divine.  Culling ingredients from that day’s freshest ingredients, Chef Hugo is driven by a reverence of Mexico’s gastronomical flavors and ingredients while incorporating international techniques and styles.  Start your meal with a jarrito drink, a raicilla drink served in a clay mug.  Our fave is the the tamarindo flavor.  For starters, give the Maia bruschetta and Hugo Cesar Tostada a try.  Follow it up with Lamb Bolognese with Mole, Hugo’s whimsically Mexican take on an Italian standard or the hearty vegetable, Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast with a mole tamarind glaze. PROVECHO!!
No Way Jose! – 5 de Febrero #260, Old Town.  Specializing in modern Mexican cuisine, No Way Jose! has a mantra ” tu casa en Puerto Vallarta“.  The warmth permeates throughout this lively restaurant with a decidedly fun vibe. Their service is impeccable and their food is well-crafted.  When we have a hankering for Mexico’s famed chiles en nogada , this is our restaurant of choice.  It is a specialty and rightly so. No Way Jose! knows how to start out the evening with their signature “Hot chile love” margarita.  Their Mexican beef carpaccio and Mussels al Tequila couples wonderfully with the atmosphere at this wonderful restaurant! DELICIOSO!!!
Red Cabbage –  Calle Rivera del Rio #204. Tucked inside Puerto Vallarta’s traditionally Mexican neighborhood of El Caloso, Red Cabbage is a hidden gem relished by locals and savvy travelers.  Kitschy in the best sense of the word, Red Cabbage offers up authentically delicious Mexican cooking including the elaborate chicken mole from Puebla, chiles en nogada and Jalisco’s very own carne en su jugo.  Red Cabbage will not disappoint even the most discerning of diners!
There it is fine folks, a quick guide on where to go eat on Dia de la Revolución, or heck, any day!


The Great Holiday of “Day of the Dead”

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Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is cause for celebration, a time when families pay tribute to beloved members of their families that have passed away.  Taking place over two days – November 1st and 2nd – families congregate, create altars in homage and make ofrendas, or offerings to their deceased. It is not spooky or macabre, but rather reverential – a time when the spirit of the deceased is thought to pay visit to those family members that have been left behind.

Anticipating the Day of the Dead, families clear a section of their home to install an altar comprising of appropriate offerings that reflect both the tradition and the deceased’s individual likes. Offerings could include candles to help light the path, soap to aid the traveling spirit’s clean-up, photos, a favorite beverage such as tequila or beer, food and welcoming flowers.

Among the most popular ofrendas are sugar skulls – colorful sugar skulls hailing from Central and Southern Mexico. The skulls are prepared from a sugar mixture that is pressed into molds and later dried. After the drying, they are decorated with both edible and non-edible decorations.

Pan de Muertos, Bread of the Dead, is a sugary, sweet bread that is eaten by the families of the deceased and sometimes placed on the altar. The bread is molded into a loaf with the top being twisted to resemble bones. The bread is then baked, glazed and covered with colorful sugar.

Another dish, is candied pumpkins made from fresh pumpkin slices that are glazed with piloncillo, made from pure, unrefined sugar that is similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor. All of this sweetness pairs up perfectly with atole, a warm cup of corn and masa that is meant to nourish and warm the living and the dead.

The festivities continue outside of the families’ homes with a pilgrimage to the cemetery to decorate and clean up gravesites.  Day of the Dead is a fitting celebration of their loved ones that have passed on- a wonderful tribute.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, you will find some of these dishes in the main square by Guadalupe church and  El Arrayan is having a special Dia de los Muertos menu from now until November 3.  Also, Happy Halloween!!

Celebrate Mexican Independence in Puerto Vallarta

September 16th, Mexican Independence Day, is a day of celebration, cultural pride and overall revelry.  The celebration officially kicks off a bit before midnight on September 15th with the grito, or cry, ushering in the festivities.  Meant to symbolize the moment in 1810 that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, declared independence from Spain in Dolores, Guanajuato (now Dolores de Hidalgo), the grito is now reenacted by municipal, state or federal officials throughout Mexico.  President Peña Nieto will do the honors at the Zócalo in Mexico City.

Mexican Independece September 16

Mexican Independence September 16

Here in Puerto Vallarta, the festivities begin on the 15th with various events taking place at the main plaza, including an morning salute of the flag.  The traditional grito takes place before midnight in the main plaza and is followed by fireworks and a street party enjoyed by all!  The following day, the 16th, a civic parade takes place with military and local school bands participating in the patriotic display. 

chiles en nogadaOne of Vallarta Food Tours’s favorite ways to celebrate is do our own Vallarta city walking food tour and hit one of the many local restaurants featuring Mexico’s exquisite cuisine.

We can start with The Red Cabbage for its menu inspired by Frida Kahlo for some delicious chiles en nogada. Then off for some amazing tortilla soup at Gaby’s Restaurant and No Way José for some one-of-a-kind tamales. We can finish it off with one of our favorites, El Arrayán, for some delicious duck carnitas and enjoy a jalapeño margarita. Happy Independence to everyone and VIVA MEXICO! 

Cinco de Mayo in Vallarta

In the minds of many non-Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) signals a day to bust out the sombreros, head out to your local Mexican joint and enjoy some “adult beverages”, namely tequila and cerveza.  Why not? Celebrating Mexican Independence is important and signals to this warm country that they respect and honor their sovereignty.  One small problem… Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence, the September 16th is. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla.  In this battle, an overmatched Mexican army defeated the French, who had invaded the country.  Though its strategic value in terms of war is arguable, the Battle of Puebla symbolized a David vs Goliath moment in the Mexican consciousness.  It became a rallying cry of the strength and ganas (chutzpah) of the Mexican people.
Who doesn’t love it when the underdog wins?  We know we will be celebrating this example of prowess and determination.  We may have a well-crafted Margarita or Mexito (Mojito with tequila) at Fish Shack. Maybe we will saunter beach-front to enjoy a mezcal cucumber concoction at Barracuda’s.  Or maybe we’ll have a frosty Pacífico or the Agave Maria at Los Muertos Brewing.   For some of the best Mexican food head, over to El Arrayán. With this much to celebrate, the possibilities are plentiful in our beautiful Puerto Vallarta. If you decide to celebrate in your home why not do some margaritas popsicles? So many things to do, and too many reasons to celebrate!

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