Tag Archives: Mexico

Tacos &c in Sayulita, Mexico

19 Jul

I spent 4 days in Sayulita and ate both great and deeply mediocre food. If I don’t write up a few notes now I’ll forget them, so off the top of my head:

Good advice in general in Mexico: “Get tacos at outdoor places with red plastic Coca-Cola chairs”.

(as a side note, I was horrified to see that the top Sayulita restaurants according to Tripadvisor readers are a burger place, a nachos place, and a burrito place)

The very best tacos were at Tacorriendo, about a block North of the town square on the street that Sayulita Fish Tacos is on, on the left (which we nicknamed “dessert taco” from our first after-a-terrible-dinner experience with it), usually filled with Mexican families and not another gringo in sight. Great chicken, roasted jalapenos, and salsa spread:

Next best, though very rich and spicy and not for everyone: birria (goat, probably) tacos at a small shack a short walk North of the town center (across a bridge, then down a few sunken steps to a taqueria with the menu written on the wall). No photo.

The basic meat tacos at Sayulita Tacos (not Sayulita Fish Tacos) were pretty good (especially the chicken mole and adobo chicken), though the fish tacos loaded up with crema were not great:

There was a pair of taco stands side by side (red awning, green awning) across from Taco Corriendo and a little farther North on that street. We never saw them both open at the same time– we heard it was a shared family business. One of them had a pretty good (B+) friend fish taco, the other was also B+ meat tacos.

There were also some terrible tacos (dry fish tacos with french fries at a restaurant right on the beach, across from Don Julio, with a popular big outdoor patio but terrible, terrible food).

Sayulita Fish Tacos (big yellow building on the main square) also had terrible fish tacos I never want to eat again. The attached tequila bar was phenomenal, though.

That’s what I remember. Oh, and there was some non-taco food. Just summarizing a few highlights and lowlights:

An average but serviceable breakfast at Mary’s Cafe (they also have an excellent banana milkshake– and if you get it to go, they pour it into a plastic bag with a straw):

I had low expectations for Don Pedro’s, given their prime beachfront location, their aimed-at-tourists prices, and the lack of Mexican families eating there… but their tuna poke w/ sesame, hot pepper, and avocado was very good– some of the best tuna I’ve had in a long time:

The popsicle stand sort of across from Sayulita Taco and next to the burger place had an impressive variety of fruit popsicles. The tart, flavorful guavabana (which I knew as soursop from SE Asia) was my favorite, but the coconut (with chewy strips of coconut embedded), watermelon, and pineapple were also excellent. The tamarind and lime were good but unremarkable.

An average California-style burrito at Burrito Revolution, for us gringos wanting something familiar. Meh, an okay vegetarian break. I also never saw anyone else eating here (granted, it was low season and the town was fairly empty).

Oh, and El Espresso had the least terrible coffee (americano) of three I tried.

Chocobanana, to end on a crotchety rant: Mediocre food and coffee. Also full of missing-the-point tourists (I saw one couple sitting there during a gorgeous sunny day, him hunched over his ipad and her over her iphone, with him occasionally showing her parts of a movie or online video he was watching on the ipad).

Tequila, Mexico

19 Jul

I’ve never really appreciated tequila. The closest I came was a series of excellent, smoky, mezcal* cocktails at Mayahuel in New York a few years ago, and the occasional good tequila Francisco had around, though I was never concentrating just on it.

That started to change last week– I was down in Sayulita, Mexico for vacation, and got the tip that I should check out the Sayulita Fish Tacos Tequila Bar. The fish tacos in the restaurant upstairs were pretty bad, but the bar itself was a revelation.  A few notes of what I remember or jotted down:

I went there three of the evenings I was in town, and the bartender and other travelers at the bar were all very friendly, offering tips and tastes.

These were all “sipping tequilas”, to savor gradually like a whiskey, and with much more variation tequila to tequila than I’d ever noticed before.

Of the maybe 20 I tasted (at least at the sip level), some notable ones:

Cava de Oro** (the white bottle) was my favorite of the trip, and the one that I ordered twice: very smooth and mellow, with a silky agave flavor and no harshness or smokiness, but also without being too sweet. [A+]

Chamucos was good in a very different way– spicy, a bit of smoke, but well-balanced and not at all harsh. [A-]

Aha Toro (Anejo***) (not shown) was also good though not especially distinctive: smooth and balanced. [B+]

Tierra Reposado and Don Abram Anejo were both good, but I didn’t write anything specific down about them / I don’t remember them being unusual. [B]

After tasting sips of a few to narrow in on what to get the third evening, we settled on Los Tres Tonos Extra Anejo and 99000 Anejo, both very enjoyable in the smooth-with-a-little-smoke vein, and I remember liking the 99000 especially, though when writing this up two weeks later I don’t really remember the difference between them. [B+, A-]

Arette Extra Anejo was quite different from the others, smooth but also herbal, vegetative, sort of like the flavors in gin / campari / fernet, though milder. It and Cava De Oro were my favorites of the trip (though Arette was 2x-3x more expensive than anything else I had here, at M$400 (about US$34) for a shot– a bottle costs about $150 in the US).  [A+]

Worth it on a special occasion and as a way to wrap up a great trip.

Both this Herradura Resposado and the Corrales were good sipping tequilas in the middle of the smoky / smooth range, but also weren’t strongly memorable. [B]

* I looked up the details on Wikipedia so you don’t have to: “Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agaveAgave americana) native to Mexico. The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl metl and ixcalli which mean ‘oven cooked agave.’ Today, mezcal is still made from the heart of the maguey plant, called the “piña,” much the same way it was 200 years ago, in most places. In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor. Mezcal is not as popular as tequila (a mezcal made specifically from the blue agave in select regions of the country).

** Gold (oro) tequila could be a real, 100% agave tequila that’s a blend between a blanco and a resposado, as in this case… or it could be a cheap tequila with non-agave spirits and food colorings added.

*** The basic tequila classification of silver/blanco, reposado, anejo, extra anejo ranks how long it has been aged or rested in wood barrels (from young to old). Longer aging = stronger, smoother flavors, darker colors, and generally more expensive (though not necessarily better, depending on your tastes).