Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Best Fish Tacos?

One of my goals when I was in Puerto Vallarta recently, was to find the city's best tacos. A number of places were wonderful, but I found myself favoring the authenticity of the street vendors over the many restaurants we sampled.

My friend Karen Neustadt, who sells real estate in Marin County, and I set out one morning to go shopping for a wedding gift. We found some beautiful pewter bowls and serving pieces that seemed perfect.

I bought some for my daughter Mariel and her husband, and Karen found a spectacular bowl for a client that had recently closed on a property. It seemed like we walked all of the old part of Vallarta, and when I mentioned how hungry I was, Karen mentioned that she wanted to go have fish tacos at her favorite street stand "Marisma" which was about as far from the water you can walk towards the mountains and still be in Vallarta. See Map #13.

We finally found it. Just like the many street stands you see all over Vallarta, this one stands out for how exceptionally clean it is. Karen told me she always orders one Dorado fish taco [mahi-mahi] and one shrimp taco. The woman working in the small stand grabbed some masa dough and began hand-making a tortilla--to order (!) then placed the dough on the parilla. She then took a large shrimp, and a large piece of the mahi-mahi and dipped it in batter and dropped them into the deep fryer. Soon the tortillas were bubbling up from the griddle as she grabbed them by the hand to flip them over. Then she placed the golden fish and shrimp on top of the freshly made tortillas, topped them with some shredded cabbage slaw, and handed them to us. They cost about $1.20 U.S. each.

We then looked at the salsa options. One was made from avocado and was very mild. The other was a roasted tomato salsa and was quite spicy. There was also a mild "pico de gallo" which they call "salsa mexicana".

And finally there was a salsa that was fiery hot that was full of sliced onions. I tried all of them, and preferred the fiery one the best.

The tortillas were impossibly thin and delicious, the batter sweet and reminded me of the good corn dog batter when we were kids at the Puyallup fair--the real deal sweet cornmeal [not I might add the poor relative called "crusty pups"] And the fish and shrimp were impeccably fresh...

This was definitely the best fish tacos I had in PV. Later I found that Marisma was featured on an episode of NPR.

I'm not surprised...

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