We were in Mascota for business, but as always, it was just a pretense to try a new restaurant for lunch. Russ had suggested several times before that we eat at Tacos de Ollita, but I resisted each time because I could see from the sidewalk that it was also an appliance store. Who wants to eat among boxed and unboxed refrigerators and stoves? This didn’t seem to bother him at all, so I finally agreed. We couldn’t have made a better decision.
First of all, there was the decor of aforementioned large kitchen appliances.
Then there was the unexpected, never before encountered agua de zarzamora — a refreshing drink of pureed wild blackberries mixed with ice-cold water. Next came a recited menu of traditional dishes. We ordered carne asada, grilled flank steak, and lengua, steamed tongue. Both were served with handmade tortillas, salsa verde and frijoles. Both were excellent and priced at 65 pesos and 55 pesos, respectively.
The carne asada was actually tender, compared to shoe leather-like carne asada we have been served so many times before. The tender perujuano beans were wonderful, the salsa verde was noteworthy and the tortillas de maize were the best we have eaten in Mascota. Nothing compares to freshly made corn tortillas that are well cooked with a slightly charred flavor.
Assembling lunch was easy. The idea is to create your own taco by putting something of everything in a tortilla, one of Mexico’s greatest contributions to the food world.
“Why haven’t we eaten here before?” I asked Russ. “Because you weren’t in the market for a new fridge?” he ventured.
The restaurant also goes by the name of JR Saloon. They seem to have a slight identity crisis regarding their name, but there is no confusion about their traditional Mexican dishes. Rosy the cook will prepare special orders, such as chile rellenos and chiles en nogada if you call ahead. We plan on taking her up on this offer on our next trip to the mountains.
Tacos de Ollita is on the main street going into the center of Mascota at Calle Hidalgo #45. It will take you about two hours to reach Mascota if you start at La Juntas on the northern side of Puerto Vallarta and head straight up into the mountains, driving through Ixtapa and passing the San Sebastian turn-off. Open seven days a week. Phone 01-388-386-0695.