My Trip to Sayulita, Mexico – Spring 2018
I have to say, the food in Mexico is really something that you need to experience. Get out of the resort, if you really must stay at one. Get on to the back streets, your best bet is to find a spot where there’s only locals. My last trip was to Sayulita, on the west coast, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. According to friends I went with, it has become a little touristy, but the good kind of touristy. You don’t really see the silver haired, cargo short, and socks with sandals type. This was only the second time that I have been to Mexico and I am very quickly falling in love with it.
There is a little taco stand that opens in the morning, right by the bridge, that serves these little double tacos with braised pork. They crisp the outside up on the griddle with the fat from the braise. Fucking mind numbing how good these are. While you wait, you can ask for a cup of the braising liquid. (I only figured this out, because all of the locals were doing it.). When you get these little pockets of wonder, you can fill them with fresh cabbage, cilantro and three different salsas. Hands down, the best damn thing I ate when I was there.
There is another cart right next to it that does prawn and fish tacos. I tried many of the other fish and prawn tacos in Sayulita, and these were the best by far. You can ask for them fried or seared on the plancha. I preferred the fried ones, the batter was crisp and always on point. Super simple dish comprising of cabbage, lettuce, fried prawn, and some pico de gallo. I opted to put both sauces on, chipotle and avocado. Again, I felt the unbearable urge to eat at least one of these every opportunity that I could.
Another thing you absolutely must have before you leave this place is the chicken from the chicken lady. It’s called Pollo Yolanda and is located just off Calle Jose Mariscal, next to the Hostel del Centro Sayulita (Also a great place to get a drink in the evening, with live music almost every day). They do whole chickens and plates. The chicken is marinated in adobo and chili and then cooked on a charcoal grill. It’s ready when it’s ready, and they are out when they are out, usually around 2pm. It comes with a bag of rice, hot sauce, coleslaw, and fresh tortillas. The last time I went, I had to wait for the tortillas to show up from the tortilleria around the corner. They were delivered in a little blue cooler by a young kid and they were still hot when they arrived. Honestly, you can eat here every day and not get bored.
The last place food you need to go is Naty’s Tacos. They open early and are mostly there to feed the locals and workers in Sayuilta. The best thing they have is the chicharrones taco, not like you would expect. It is the tender, succulent, gelatinous shit that all of my fucking dreams are made of. Braised pork skin in a tomato and chili sauce, served on a fresh tortilla. All the usual suspects for toppings; onions, cilantro, cabbage, fresh lime and a multitude of home- made sauces with varying levels of ass burn. Bring your own beer, sit on the patio, eat a bunch of pig skin tacos and be happy.
If you aren’t eating, then like me, you are probably drinking margs on the beach, and the absolute best margarita in my opinion is at the Club de Playa Cameron. Also, if you disagree, then you are wrong. It is located on the north side of poo river down the road from the baseball field. All the things that make a good marg are in this drink. Best patio in Sayulita, fresh squeezed lime, good tequila and the right amount of sweetness. They blast reggae music on the sound system and don’t care about a lot. You are also on the north side of the beach where not too many people venture up, so the beach is more secluded and there are no kids. I spent my last couple of days in Mexico sitting on the patio reading a book and not giving a shit about anything in the world.
So, all in all this place is magical and full of great food and people. If you are looking for somewhere to get away to for a foodie friendly holiday in the sun, then I would look no further. Adios.
About Chef Alessandro Vianello
As Gooseneck Hospitality’s Development Chef, Alessandro Vianello oversees menu development and kitchen operations at all four of the company’s Vancouver restaurants – Wildebeest, Bufala, Lucky Taco and Bells and Whistles – and employs his passion for serving dishes comprising locally sourced and sustainable ingredients that underscore the bounty available to chefs plying their trade in the Pacific Northwest.
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