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Exploring Puerto Vallarta Mexico (and dorado tacos)

Lauren Collins

Even the locals will tell you that some parts of Mexico are not to be dealt with.  You hear all the stories, but just like everywhere else in the world, there are those hidden gems you just have to see to believe.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is just that - a true gem nestled among mountains. The seaside city is so wonderful you just have to see it to believe it.

As usual, I found a great fishing spot for Ryan, even if I didn't mean to.  Nine years ago, my parents and I came here for a week and we all fell in love with the old town, known as Zona Romantica. We knew we had to someday come back.  

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This time we had the wonderful opportunity to spend my birthday and Thanksgiving with my parents in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and it was an incredible experience.

On day one, Ryan hit the beach with his gear, and after studying the locals for a little while, he pretty quickly started to pull in some jack crevalle, which we of course ate for dinner that evening!

A few days later we booked a fishing trip with a local named Jose Santana, and we ended up catching my very first dorado, which is the whole reason for this recipe post of course!

As you know by now, Ryan also hooked into a beautiful snapper that we cooked in butter and garlic, along with some rice and homemade salsa.  It. Was. Delicious.

My parents were beyond thrilled to eat fresh fish, and when we weren't enjoying one of Ryan's catches, we found incredible restaurants all over town.  We never once had a bad meal!  I consider Puerto Vallarta a "foodie" town because no matter where you go, the food is delicious.  

Pictured above is us at one of our favorite restaurants called Polo's.  I had a smoked marlin and shrimp burrito (amazing).  The ceviche in town was delicious too!

Exploring Puerto Vallarta


Before I can tell you about the dorado taco recipe, or anything else about food, you should first experience Puerto Vallarta in all its glory, because this town is truly amazing.

Cobble stone streets, colorful artwork on every wall, music from all directions, plants spilling with flowers out of windows and doors and restaurants, the smells of fresh corn tortillas, the sounds of the ocean and happy hour from 9am until whenever it is you decide to turn in for the night.

Each night it seems like there was something new to celebrate, with musical performances and streets filled with people eating from local vendors out of carts. The smells of fresh tamales, carne asada, slow cooked chicken and everything else made me swoon.

In the daytime, you can enjoy the beautiful artwork throughout the city.  I mean, just look at this artwork!

Just so many colors everywhere 🙂

Of course you get the street peddlers trying to sell you endless amounts of junk, but just a simple "No, gracias" and nine times out of ten they will leave you alone.

This town is proud.  No trash in sight, I kid you not.  

Making Lemonade out of Lemons


I met a painter on the street who was not only as friendly as can be, but also as talented as can be, and guess what?  He doesn't have the use of his hands and arms - for reasons unknown.  But despite his disability, he learned to hold a paintbrush in his mouth, and just look at the masterpieces he creates.  We of course bought one!

What was even better for Ryan was the fact that every day there was a great fishing opportunity just steps from our door.

Most days you can see giant rays jumping out of the water, fish feeding on the surface, and maybe even the occasional whale or dolphin.  This is also a breeding ground for sea turtles, and if you're lucky,  you may even witness little hatchlings making their way to the ocean for the first swim of their lives.

  Catching a Dorado

Take a guess as to whether or not I pulled the typical wife move and parked myself at the bow of the boat and sunned myself the entire fishing trip?

Yep, that's exactly what I did.  Therefore I have zero information for you regarding the catching of this magnificent fish, so you can watch Ryan's video and read his article all about it by clicking here.

I just take the photos and cook the fish!

Dorado Tacos - The Recipe

Whenever I travel down south, one of the first things I do is make my way to the supermercado for all the essentials of Mexican cooking - think beans, rice, salsa, eggs, tortillas...

When you think of Mexican food, you would assume that fresh corn tortillas are plentiful down here, but annoyingly, they're not.  

I assume the reason for this is because many locals make their own tortillas themselves, since they are pretty easy to make.  Yet asking a simple question of "Donde puedo encontrar las tortillas maize?"  or something like that, will point you in the right direction.

These staples are what can create a meal from anything down here, and are very easy to get pretty much anywhere.  I did find one tortilla place hidden down a side street, but I found it right before we were leaving, so sadly I could't try them - next time!

This meal came together quickly.

First I seasoned the fish with a little salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and lime juice.  I seared it in some coconut oil, then added a little bit more lime at the end before serving it.

The garnish is just a simple saute of sliced red onion and sliced jalapeño tossed in butter and salt (healthy, right? but who cares, butter is amazing).  

Add some fresh shredded queso, chopped tomatoes, avocado, a little salsa verde and bam, you've got a perfect little meal.  

And then of course, there's always fried plantains to add to just about every single meal imaginable.

To make the plantains, first make sure the outside skin is so ripe, that it's almost black.  You want the plantains to ripen this much so the sugars can really get into the meat of the plantain, because that's what makes them taste so sweet.  Green plantains are what you use to make tostones, which are almost like a chip and are usually served with ceviche.

Peel the plantain, slice it then fry it in coconut oil over medium heat, making sure not to let them burn.  I like to cook them low and slow to make sure the whole plantain cooks through.  If the pan is too hot, then only the outside will caramelize and the inside will still be raw...not great.

Until Next Time!

I hope you enjoyed this little trip through Puerto Vallarta Mexico!  

Make sure to check out Ryan's other posts about the snapper, dorado, the jack crevalle blitz, and rock fishing from shore.

Happy holidays 🎄

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

Through the eyes of a fishermans’ wife, I’m excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. I also teach busy mothers how to plan, prep and cook delicious & healthy meals for their families.  You can learn more by visiting my website Creatively Delish.

  1. Tacos are my favorite! Looks like you guys had a nice trip with something for everyone. Pictures were great.

    Reply
  2. Very nice Lauren! Beautiful pictures and delicious looking food!

    Reply
    1. Thank you! It is a truly special place 🙂

      Reply

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