Enjoy the Show!
In Puerto Vallarta, the joy and love of food is palpable. Every two weeks, visitors and residents can purchase food and drink tickets and get tastings from some of the frequented restaurants, and ask questions to the chef and get answers at a festival called, Fiesta Viva Puerto Vallarta.
Held at the Lazaro Cardenas Plaza in Puerto Vallarta, in the cobblestoned section of the town, barely a few hundred feet away was the malecon or boardwalk, and Banderas Bay glimmers in the distance.
Everywhere there are elegant food stations serving cuisine from some of the finest Puerto Vallarta restaurants, from the romantic River Café (located off the malecon), Café Des Artistes, Coco’s Kitchen to Daiquiri Dick’s. These are not just one-time participants to the Fiesta, these are regulars.
Visitors can relax with the heavy hitting food Puerto Vallarta is known for, including chile with mole sauce, poblano pepper dishes, churros and soups. I’ve attended festivals before, but it seemed everyone at Vallarta genuinely loved participating in the fiesta spirit, with kids getting their face painted.
Aguas (water), soft drinks including the popular Coca Cola, Mirinda and Manzanita were everywhere (the Spanish name for beverages is bebidas), as were poblano pepper dishes tortilla chips-sprinkled with sweet fruit like pomegranate which really made the dish pop. Also try the Salsa Covered Torta (chips basically drowned in salsa).
A vegetarian delight for me during the Fiesta was the exceptional Squash Blossom Cream soup with Tortilla Chips, panela cheese, cottage cheese and topped with corn and cilantro foam: goodness in a bowl!
The performance is an added value for guests to come and relax, sip beer or soft drinks and take in the flavor of Mexican culture; you’ll need to purchase food and drink tickets separately but admission to the Fiesta itself is free, so you can simply come, relax and enjoy the performances without partaking in the food and drink (although that’s really the entire point).
The bi-weekly fiestas are an excellent way to get acquainted with the local flavor of Puerto Vallarta, and the dishes range anywhere from 20 to 120 pesos ($1.60-$10 or thereabouts).
Unlike some other festivals, these restaurants that exhibit at the Fiesta are quite permanent, and have been key to the entire idea and vision from the get go. If you’re a casual visitor who wants a flavored introduction to Puerto Vallarta, this is the ideal way to experience food and local culture.
To get a schedule of the bi-weekly Fiesta Viva Puerto Vallarta, visit this site.
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photo: Charu Suri