My Mexican Kitchen:  Cooking with Travis and Edgar

My Mexican Kitchen: Cooking with Travis and Edgar

I’d had my sights on My Mexican Kitchen for years before we finally booked a cooking class with a visiting group of friends this past February.  We had used their services for a catered birthday dinner in the past which was excellent but I knew the experience of cooking, learning about the flavors of Mexico and creating a delicious meal with friends would be a peak experience.

Travis educates.It did not disappoint.

Ahead of time we arranged to do the “Chef’s Choice” with the 6 of us which included chips/salsa, soup, main dish and side dish.  During the 3 hour class, we smelled and tasted chilis and salsas while doing minor cooking tasks with the bulk of it going on in the kitchen behind them.  This class is less participation than their 5 Course meal option but still included chopping, tortilla making and taking turns at the fryer.  It was the perfect balance for our group.  They also served a delicious agua fresca in the beginning and coffee at the end.  You may bring in the alcohol of your choice, should you desire, at no extra charge.  Tequila on the rocks and wine flowed as we enjoyed Enchiladas Verdes, Corn and Chile Soup, Battered Cauliflower and Chicken with a Chipotle Sauce.

Edgar and Travis are both delightful, speak English fluently and clearly enjoy sharing their deep knowledge of Mexican culture and in particular, food!

I asked Travis to share what is unique about the My Mexican Kitchen cooking experience:

“One of the things that we think that is unique about our cooking experience is the fact that one of the teachers is American and one is Mexican. In that way, there is a familiarity of the cuisine–and some of the likes and dislikes–of north of the border, which helps to offer dishes that are, while traditional Mexican, maybe more likely to be accepted and appreciated with ingredients that can be obtained in the United States and Canada. From the Mexican side, we have the vast culture and history of the food, and obviously the delicious recipes.”
He also said:
“We thoroughly enjoy what we do, which makes the job easy. And our clients–friends–are also people who are interested in and appreciate food, so it is a fun night…It’s also a pleasure to really opens some peoples’ eyes to the vast variety in Mexican cuisine, and see them recognize how much can be done with a basket of chiles!”
Travis and Edgar truly care about the experience of their guests:
“We hope that people will leave with a happy, full stomach and maybe a new look at Mexican food. It seems like the world of dried chiles is a bit daunting for a lot of people, so we hope to clarify some of the mystery around them and their uses. Mostly we want our clients to have had an enjoyable evening, and take away what they will, that they have more of a familiarity of Mexico in general and as part of that, its amazing cuisine.”
If you’re in Bucerias, My Mexican Kitchen is just one more unique experience to be had, among many.
Planning a trip to Mexico and considering Bucerias?  Our two-bedroom oceanfront Bucerias condo is across the street and a half a block away from My Mexican Kitchen.
Best Fish Taco in Bucerias (in my humble opinion)

Best Fish Taco in Bucerias (in my humble opinion)

We love our fish tacos.  In Bucerias you can get them in a lot of places but for me, I have a favorite.  It’s probably a favorite because not only is the battered fish light, tender and juicy, it’s covered in yummy fresh salad; cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and a delicious light chipotle dressing.  You get three of them in an open faced style and I struggle to eat more than two (but they’re so good I keep pushing on).

Where do you find this trio of yumminess?  Karen’s Place on the beach in Bucerias, about a 10 minute walk north from the bridge leading to the square.  They typically only offer the fish tacos on their lunch menu but this summer they had condensed their dinner menu, including these tacos!

MargaritaBy the way, they have a great margarita too.

We love Karen’s not only for these fish tacos but for the general vibe, quality of food, view (they recently expanded their restaurant onto the beach more and have a very cute bar offering “Mixology” concoctions.  It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Bucerias at this time.  It’s less local and more “NorteAmericanos” in customers but we like to mix up our experiences when here and Karen’s is top notch.

Planning a trip to Mexico and considering Bucerias?  Our two-bedroom oceanfront Bucerias condo is a five minute walk north on the beach from Karen’s and other restaurants.

A Floating Playground in the Banderas Bay

A Floating Playground in the Banderas Bay

I write this post with mixed emotions.  This inflatable, giant eyesore (if I’m honest) appeared just off the shore in Bucerias, on the north shore of town past the square, in early April of this year (2017).  From the deck of our condo, it’s far away but hard to miss in the skyline.  The blue and yellow “Wibit” showed up on the scene much to the chagrin of many of the ex-pat Canadians and Americans here in town as it’s about as unnatural as it can be in it’s view interruption from many angles of the beach.

That being said,The Wibit our 10 year old son loves it.  His buddy we brought down with us this past April loved it.  Much to my surprise, despite the high cost (about 20 US dollars an hour which would seem to be cost prohibitive to the Mexican local families), it seems to be popular.  We are now here for 10 days in July/August, when it’s typically local Mexican tourism coming from Guadalajara, etc…and the Wibit is alive and well.

If you are considering a family trip and have kids (of all ages), their eyes will probably go big like saucers as they anticipate the fun they will have jumping, sliding and diving on this floating playground.  It appears to be managed safely as they have several lifeguards out there keeping watchful eyes on the activity…and all participants wear life vests.

The Wibit is the first kid-focused attraction in Bucerias of it’s magnitude.  Though I am sad about the impact on the visual experience of the Bucerias beach, I understand that it is serving a purpose.  And restaurant owners surroThe Wibitunding the Wibit are apparently also benefitting as parents waiting for their kids to finish their play gather around tables, have a drink or a bite to eat.

What can I say?  It’s symbolic of the ongoing change that occurs in this town since we first started coming 15 years ago.  The tourist demographic has been changing along with it; from few families and younger people to many enjoying the rapidly growing options that this town has to offer.

The Wibit will surely provide hours of entertainment for all kids in Bucerias (and a few adventuresome adults too).  My only observation is to go earlier in the day when the water is glassy and calm.

It’s a Mexican Fiesta at Lupita’s on Tuesdays!

It’s a Mexican Fiesta at Lupita’s on Tuesdays!

Every time our family comes to Bucerias, we discover something new.  This time it is a restaurant called Lupita’s, one block west of Lazaro Cardenas on the corner of Benito Juarez and Francisco Madera.  There are colorful Mexican flags, with lights interspersed, stretching across the street right in front of it, open windows into a lovely, modern interior with tables lining the sides of the street below.  The food is described as “fusion grill.”  We had seafood pasta and our son a plain pasta.  It was fine, only comment would be a bit more seafood would have been nice.  But the atmosphere and ambience made up for any less than perfect food experience.  We would go again.

MariachisOn Tuesdays, they have a traditional Mexican fiesta with mariachis performing and Mexican folkloric dance on a stage the staff builds in the moment, stretching across the street.  The scene is something we’ve never seen in this town, people were lining the streets at tables or simply standing with a beer or drink to watch the performance.  The music and dance is high quality a rousing, fun experience for any age.

There is a tequila table, a beer table and even a churro table set up to buy items separately.  We bought a small bag of churros after dinner and all agreed they were the best we’d ever tasted!

Reservations are recommended as this is a very popular night for this restaurant.

Are you looking into a vacation in Bucerias?  Our luxery HomeAway two bedroom beachfront condo is ideally situated and within easy walking distance to Lupita’s and many other local restaurants, boutiques and attractions.

Frozen Yogurt is Yummy at Memo’s

Frozen Yogurt is Yummy at Memo’s

I stumbled upon something new, literally has been there a month (as of December 29, 2016).  It’s a little nook off of Lazaro Cardenas, thFrozen Yogurt in Buceriase main street that runs parallel to the beach in Bucerias.  It’s called Memo Frozen Sweetness and this is where you can find the first frozen yogurt of it’s kind in this town!  It’s tucked under a a sign on a pink surfboard, with a few tables under a tent.

Some creative genius (named Memo apparently), decided that a plain frozen yogurt bar blended with your choice of frozen fruit and topped with (again, your choice) chocolate or caramel, then sprinkled with (oh boy, another choice) toasted or raw coconut, chocolate, sprinkles or other goodies, just might create a cup full of yummy goodness.

He was right.

I had the Platano del Mar (Banana Sea) with the frozen yogurt bar, frozen bananas with toppings of my choice.

Adults and kids alike will appreciate this little frozen yogurt oasis in the Riviera Nayarit.  So simple yet so delicious.Banana yogurt with toppings.

If frozen yogurt is not your thing, there is a gelato stand on the same side of the street closer to the downtown, about a 10 minute walk.  And there is always the ice cream freezer box in the Oxxo’s where you can get the classics (Oxxo is also almost to town, right side of street).

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See more Bucerias travel tips at BuceriasLove.com.  If you’re considering a vacation here, consider our luxery HomeAway two bedroom beachfront condo,  located on the beach and surrounded by restaurants, shops and the town square steps away!

Two Sisters and Two Beautiful Boutique Shops

Two Sisters and Two Beautiful Boutique Shops

In the years that our family has been spending time in Bucerias, there has been only one true boutique store, Jan Marie’s. It will get a dedicated post of it’s own soon but for now I’m talking about Mesitiza and Milagros, two of the newest boutique stores on the scene here in Bucerias. Sisters, Marta and Hildelisa, are the owners of each.

Mestiza in BuceriasMestiza opened first on Lazaro Cardenas, the main street running parallel to the beach, and immediately became a must-stop place for me, particularly for the jewelry.  Marta travels all over Mexico; San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, Oaxaca, Mexico City and beyond to hand pick items to bring back to her shop.  I have seen a lot of silver and other jewelry, from the typical repetitive “silver” you see in the stalls and up.  Ironically, I used to find the most unique rings from a vender on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, bearing the same stamp, “Mem.”  (I never figured out where this jewelry maker was from and I haven’t seen it since anywhere).

Marta, the owner of Mestiza, takes great pride the quality and uniqueness of the items she offers.  She is kind, speaks English and is interesting.  She carries jewelry other than silver too.  Mestiza has upscale clothing for a night out (albeit dressing up in this town is not really needed anywhere but some prefer to spruce it up in the evening) as well as clutches.

Hildelisa is Marta’s sister and she owns Milagros, very recently opened and only a block or so closer to town than Mestiza.  She img_7267carries unique things she’s also procured all over Mexico but slightly different like handbags, men’s shirts, art and other interesting items.  Hildelisa also carries jewelry but with with a more ethnic flair, making a bold statement with bright colors and interesting designs.  She is also lovely and speaks English well.

The growth and change in Bucerias recently has definitely been reflected in the shops.  There is much to find in traditional Mexico stall action, of course.  And there is a middle ground to be found in places like David’s (see my prior post about his shop). But the uptick in boutique shops is a reflection of the increase in tourism.  There is truly something for everyone here.

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Considering checking out what the Riviera Nayarit has to offer?  Check out our Bucerias oceanfront vacation rental for a beautiful, relaxing and centrally located place to make your home base.

 

 

Talavera, Skeletons and Gifts, Oh My!

Talavera, Skeletons and Gifts, Oh My!

Bucerias has a bounty of small shops and stalls to buy local and typical Mexican gifts and keepsakes.  Like many Mexican towns, you can find a repeat of some of the same things as you meander through the stalls immediately south of the square (and a few other shops on the other side of the bridge).  These places are a treasure trove of less expensive trinkets which are always fun.

We have also had a great appreciation for quality, authentic Mexican Talavera pottery (a white glaze marked base with many color patterns available, only from the city of Puebla).  This is not quite as easy to find.  And I’ve collected skeleton art for years but I typically couldn’t find it locally but rather in neighboring towns like San Pancho or south to Puerto Vallarta.

Arte 329 Mexico: Bucerias ShopsA few trips ago we discovered a shop that has both of our favorite things; favorite typical skeleton art, Talavera and other lovely gifts.  It’s located at Lazaro Cardenas, on the right side of the street almost do the bridge that leads to the square; across from Sukha restaurant.  The owners are David Lara and his wife Sonia (not there on the day of the photos). They live in Bucerias with their two daughters.  We have purchased many things from him and he is a delightful, friendly, English speaking man.  His shop is a standout in Bucerias for authentic Talavera, skeleton art and other unique gifts of the region priced very reasonably.  The last visit we bought a beautiful new butter dish for our condo.

The shop was called David’s at last visit but he told me that they are in the process of changing the name of their shop to Arte 329 Mexico.  So if you stumble upon that sign instead, you are at the right place!

Skeleton Art in BuceriasIf you meander through town you will find there are many shopping options for knick knacks, pottery, vases, mugs and more typical tourist items like Bucerias mugs, hats and t-shirts. There is something for everyone around town.

And if more upscale boutique shops are more your style, there is a growing number of those as well!  In the last few years I’ve seen several new, stylized shops offering clothing, jewelry, handbags and more, curated from all over Mexico.

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Considering a vacation to Bucerias?  Check the calendar and book our Gorgeous Oceanfront Condo.  David’s shop is right across the street from the building!

 

 

Sunsets of Bucerias

Sunsets of Bucerias

My family and I have enjoyed many sunsets Bucerias; from the beach a block from our prior casita on the south end of town and our probably our favorite, the beach on the north end of town, past the square, with our toes in the sand at one of a few restaurants.  Traditionally the evening of our vacation arrival, my husband, 9 year old and I walk or drive to this sacred spot for an up close view of the sun dipping behind Punta Mita.

What’s particularly special about the sunsets in here is that it always feels still and quiet compared to some of the other places in the area like Puerta Vallarta or even Sayulita.  This must because there are simply fewer people and tourists.  Bucerias is a small town and peaceful sunsets in which to contemplate are part of the experience.  The town is growing though with more tourism coming but I suspect regardless, the sunsets will remain spectacular.

Here are a few recent sunset photos from prior trips:

From the North end of town and in front of Adautos Restaurant.

Bucerias Sunset

One of my favorite mSunset in Bucerias oments; we were sitting in front of Mar y Sol Restaurant we saw this woman and her baby on a horse

 

 

 

 

The sun dipping below the horizon beyond Punta Mita.

Sun dips below the horizon of Punta Mita

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking for a place to stay in Bucerias with direct oceanfront sweeping views?  Check out our Two bedroom oceanfront vacation rental on HomeAway.    And check back soon on BuceriasLove.com, as growing archive of vacation travel tips.

Activities for Kids in Bucerias: Crocodiles!

Activities for Kids in Bucerias: Crocodiles!

Our 9 year old, Cooper, has been going to Bucerias with us since he was an infant.  I vividly remember one summer when he was about six months old we had him down there and it was HOT!  With sweat on his brow, he slept in his stroller as we tooled around.  Restaurants brought fans over to cool him down (even in the evening).  He is fortunate to have grown up with Bucerias as a second home as it has been for us.

As he got older, we began to explore the options for activities for kids and every year there are more available because of the growth of Bucerias and the Riveria Nayarit area in general.

Crocodiles Sanctuary

I don’t know how it was that we had a home there for so many years and didn’t know about the CrocodHungry Crocodile!ile Sanctuary down the road.  It’s probably because it’s truly off the beaten path.  In fact, you could easily blow by the discreet sign for Santuario de Cocodrilos El Cora on the oceanside of Hwy 200, south of Bucerias.

Getting there is not for the faint of heart, especially if it’s during the rainy season, in which case I recommend a 4 wheel drive or car that’s higher up to navigate the intimidating puddles that can be there.  It’s 3 kilometers down a very challenging dirt road with large potholes.  We had tried to drive there the year before and turned around in our standard vehicle…but l
ast summer a taxi driver took us there and he seemed unfazed (probably has made the drive a few times).

Crocodiles!

The excursion was well worth it.  We saw crocodiles of all sizes and learned about their efforts to protect them.  The tour guide spoke English fairly well and his passion for the animals shined through. The animals live in a natural environment and the
caretakers paBaby Crocodile in Riviera Nayarity close attention to the balance of the ecosystem.  We learned about crocodile behaviors, saw large crocodiles being fed raw chicken and both held a baby crocodile (mouth secured shut of course).  There were turtles and other injured animals being rehabilitated.
The tour was 150 pesos per person and about 1 1/2 hours.  One the highlights of Cooper’s entire trip last summer was holding the baby crocodile.  He talked to his friends at home about it for days.

The past few summers it’s been important to me to find activities in the Riviera Nayarit area that are fun for him but also educational.  Santuario de Cocodrilos El Cora was just one of my discoveries.

It’s located right off of Mexico highway 200, just south of the Flamingos Golf ClBucerias Crocodile Sanctuaryub, marked by a giant white golf ball on top of a tee. Look for a small sign showing a drawing of a crocodile along with the words “Cocodrilario El Cora”. Turn down here to get onto a 2-3 km dirt road leading you to the sanctuary.

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Check back here at Bucerias Love: Vacation Travel Tips for more kid activities and other insider Riviera Nayarit vacation information.

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Considering a family vacation to Bucerias?  Check the calendar and book our HomeAway two bedroom beachfront condo.

 

 

 

2 Reasons We Love Bucerias

When we discovered Bucerias over 15 years ago, it was practically a spot on the road that you could fly by on the highway without even knowing you’d missed anything.  There was little about it online when searching for Puerto Vallarta travel tips.  And though Bucerias is firmly on the map with some notice now, thanks to our neighbors Punta Mita and Sayulita, it still is fairly hidden and visitors typically discover the town not by noticing it but hearing about it.

Why Bucerias?

It is a real Mexican town, not built for the purpose of tourism.

Bucerias, “land of the diver,” has been in existence since 1937.  It’s cobblestoned streets, brightly colored homes, traditional town square and weekly street markets (tianguis) with locals selling everything from fresh vegetables and homemade tortillas to knick knacks and spare parts.  If you prefer a more authentic experience when traveling Bucerias Town Squarerather than a contained, resort style vacation where you could be anywhere, this is a great option for the Riviera Nayarit area.  And because the towns doesn’t primarily support tourism, costs stay down like eating out in restaurants and other activities.

The plaza is alive with activity whether it be the Huichol Indians selling their wares, taco and churro stands or locals enjoying a warm evening while a band plays.  In Bucerias there are mostly native Mexican locals with North American ex-pats and tourists sprinkled throughout.

Bucerias sits along part of a 5 mile long gorgeous and quiet beach.

Bucerias BeachWalk, run, collect shells, wade into the ocean or perhaps even stop to get a very reasonably priced massage on the sand by one of the many massage therapists dotted along the way.  Unlike some of the busier beaches like Los Meurtos in Puerto Vallarta or in Sayulita, there are very few vendors.  If you prefer quiet, this is the place.  But ocean activities such as paddle boards, kite boarding and jet skis can also be found.

One of my family’s favorite things to do when we are in Bucerias is to take walks on the beach.  We usually alternate between heading north towards town, or south towards Nuevo Vallarta.  No matter which way you wander, it’s stunning.

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We love Bucerias so much, after 14 years of owning a small two bedroom casita a block from the beach on the south end of town, we have purchased a second place.  The beautiful oceanfront condo at Punta Arena is very close to the center of town and surrounded by artisan shops, a cafe and restaurants.  The location is perfect.  Check the calendar and book our HomeAway vacation rental.