Tostada Express in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Ceviche Tostada at Tostada Express, Puerto Vallarta

We were in Puerto Vallarta again, ostensibly for business, but knowing our arrival happily coincided with lunch time. We found crisp corn tortillas piled with ceviche, pico de gallo, guacamole or chipotle salsa at Tostada Express for 10 pesos each (about 90 cents) and brought to our table in less than 10 minutes. It wasn’t our first time to eat here, and it won’t be our last.

Salsas, the glorious condiments of Mexico, wowed us as always. Tostada Express salsa selections included salsa de tomate verde with a little habañero chile (mild), pico de gallo with cucumbers (mild), and salsa habañero with cucumber (muy picante). Russ, my help-mate and he who is in possession of the best set of taste buds I have ever encountered, said it is one of the better pico de gallos in town. And we liked its unusual cucumber ingredient. You can also squeeze on a guacamole salsa or a blend of mayo and chipotle chiles.

While talking to the waitress, I referred to the “salsa aguacate” — avocado salsa. She corrected me: it’s not salsa, it is guacamole, a distinction I encountered once before. The green salsa that is thin and squeezable is still called guacamole, even though we gringos think guacamole is something we dip with a chip. I share this with you so that you become a more informed diner in Mexico and do not commit the faux pas of asking for salsa aguacate or avocado salsa. It doesn’t exist and I was corrected two times in two different restaurants before I learned this lesson.

Mexicans love condiments not normally associated with tostadas by the northern palate, like Maggi Jugo and Worcestershire sauce.

Tostada Express at Peninsula Plaza is a very clean, airy setting with a view of a copse of trees, always a welcome sight. Seafood and salsas are prepared at the parent restaurant, Mariscos Ocho Tostadas at Marina Vallarta, also highly recommended by Cooking in Mexico. (Ocho Tostadas makes a shrimp cocktail like nobody’s business.)

See the menu behind the waitress? It lists the tostada toppings, all of which are also used for burrito fillings, except for ceviche, though Lolita, the waitress, said she would make us a ceviche burrito if we really wanted one. We passed, opting for tostadas instead. Prices range from 10 pesos for a ceviche tostada to 35 pesos for a shrimp burrito. Yes, I know the menu behind the waitress spells “Burritas” with an “a”. Burrito? Burrita? Another distinction I have yet to explore.

Tostada Express has three locations: Plaza Peninsula, just off Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio; Marina Vallarta in front of McDonald’s; at Fly-In Car Wash near Home Depot. Open 11 am to 5 pm, every day but Sunday.


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  1. #1 by anneke on August 11, 2010 - 4:40 pm

    Hola Kathleen,

    We love Ocho Tostadas, so I’m sure we would also love Tostadas Express.

    You commented on burritos versus burritas. I hate to say this and it is not meant to offend anyone, but most Mexicans can’t spell worth a darn. Having learned my Spanish in Spain I am constantly amazed that even very well educated people so very often just don’t know how to spell. It is truly astonishing.

    Our very, very favorite cheap restaurant is Tacon Marlin. They make fantastic grilled shrimp, marlin and seafood burritos. (My favorite is the shrimp). I can’t think of a single place where they are any better. There is a Tacon Marlin at the foot of the overhead walkway across from the airport, right by the taxi stand. (No alcohol served, but you can buy beer at the tienda next door. They are only open during daylight hours and no airco!) You guys must try it some time. They add grilled onions and they also have very tasty and quite spicy guacamole salsa (oops) in a squeeze bottle. Finger licking good!!! Take some wet wipes to clean up! There is another one in Puerto Vallarta kitty corner across from the Pemex station on the left hand side as you first come into town from north to south. There is supposedly a third one in Las Juntas, but we have not been there.
    Our best to you both!

    • #2 by Cooking in Mexico on August 11, 2010 - 5:10 pm

      Hi Anneke,

      You may be correct about the spelling variation. I think Marisma Taco called it burrita, also. Hmmm…

      Yes, we have eaten several times at Tacon Marlin, the one in Las Juntas, and I love it. We have not tried the other two. Russ keeps telling me I should write it up. Maybe our next trip to town. They even deliver all the way out to La Cruz, so they say, but I haven’t the heart to make them drive all the way out here just to deliver two burritos. Thanks for the reminder.

      Abrazos, K

    • #3 by Claudia on June 11, 2011 - 2:32 pm

      About the spelling… Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Mexico are two different beasts. There are hundreds of years of history and Mestizaje (mixes of races) that separate Latin American and Main Land (Castellano) from each other. As for tha change between burrita and burrito: burritos (as known in the US) are an American invention. In Mexico a burrito is something else, it is really not a dish, but in gringo places, Mexicans are starting to call and serve this hybrids to the tourists. And, the owner of the restaurant might have liked to make his or her own mark by naming the thing whatever he or she wanted to.
      BTW I am a linguist, MENSA member, Chef and Mexican.

      • #4 by Cooking in Mexico on June 13, 2011 - 8:52 am

        Wow, Claudia, with your credentials, you can leave comments here whenever you want! We will all benefit from your knowledge, linguistic and otherwise. Thank you so much for the clarification on the spellings and origin of burritos. My husband and I, on the way to the States, just passed through the Juarez bus station, where we bought chorizo, bean and poblano, and beef burritos from a street cart outside the station. They were pronounced with an “o” at the end. They were good.

  2. #5 by Cherry on August 11, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    Would they deliver to Livermore?

    • #6 by Cooking in Mexico on August 11, 2010 - 5:47 pm

      It depends on how big your order is and if you can get them green cards. :)

      • #7 by Cherry on August 12, 2010 - 10:18 am

        Well since we are only two here, the order would be small, so instead I’ll follow your excellent recipe instructions to bring a taste of Mexico into our home. I’d estimate that already 1/3 of all of our meals are based on Mexican recipes and ingredients – they really suit us and work well for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Did I hear you ask what other cuisines? Oh, about 1/3 Asian and the rest a mix of Polish and American. Thanks for a yummy blog.

        • #8 by Cooking in Mexico on August 12, 2010 - 10:41 am

          What an international table! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for your interesting comments.

    • #9 by Vicki in GA on August 13, 2010 - 8:03 pm

      I wish they delivered to Georgia. I’m a Californian and
      miss Mexican restaurants and taco stands.
      Southern food is good, but nothing like the great hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints in CA.
      I’ve yet to find “for real” Mexican food in the south.

      • #10 by Cooking in Mexico on August 13, 2010 - 10:02 pm

        Oh dear, Vicki. To live without Mexican food would be a real hardship. I guess you’ll just have to get cookin! Thank goodness tostadas, guacamole, salsa and beans are not too involved. You can have Mexican food on the table with little effort.

  3. #11 by Norma on August 11, 2010 - 6:49 pm

    That looks like a granite countertop in the restaurant? Pretty upscale. I’ve not been to Puerto Vallarta. I seem to beat a steady path via ADO between Oaxaca and Puebla. Lots of wonderful discovery in Mexico. Thanks for the great blog.

    • #12 by Cooking in Mexico on August 11, 2010 - 6:57 pm

      I just came from your blog! You know, I was so focussed on taking pics, I didn’t notice the table tops until I viewed the photos today on the computer. Are there well made granite reproductions? I need to look into this.

      I’m sure your two destination points allow for many mole tastings. The best mole in the country is in Puebla and Oaxaca, in my opinion.

      • #13 by Lorin Johnson on August 16, 2010 - 5:47 pm

        That sounds like a great commute between some of the best food in Mexico!

  4. #14 by Cranefixer on August 12, 2010 - 1:23 pm

    The limes are so bright and the food looks like they picked all the ingredients right in the back yard.
    The closer you are to the Harvest area the more flavorfull to all the senses.
    I will print these pictures and eat them to see if that freshness comes through lol.

    • #15 by Cooking in Mexico on August 12, 2010 - 2:26 pm

      If you are going to resort to such drastic measures and eat the photos, I suggest you chew well. And floss. :)

  5. #16 by darlene on August 12, 2010 - 6:10 pm

    It is a good thing that we have had dinner already! Just looking at those tostadas makes my mouth water. Looks like tostadas for dinner tomorrow. Why is it that one can eat mexican food all the time and never get tired of it? Variety and the Spices of life? :-)

    • #17 by Cooking in Mexico on August 12, 2010 - 7:10 pm

      I feel the same way — I can eat Mexican food three times a day and never tire of it. There are so many different combinations of basic ingredients. The key is freshness. Tostadas can vary so much, as long as there is a crisp corn tortilla for the base and a couple of well-made salsas for the topping What you put between these two elements is wide open. We even use left-overs to make tostadas. Buen provecho!

  6. #18 by Vicki in GA on August 13, 2010 - 8:05 pm

    A McDonald’s in PV?
    A car wash in PV?
    Home Depot in PV?

    Frightening…just frightening.

    • #19 by Cooking in Mexico on August 13, 2010 - 10:06 pm

      You learned a lot about PV from that one restaurant review I see. Yup, and there’s more — Costco, Walmart, Sam’s, Carl’s Jr., Dominoes Pizza. Too bad all the fast food places are moving in.

  7. #20 by alan armstrong on August 15, 2010 - 12:10 pm

    Burrito = small burro/masc.
    Burrita = small burro/fem.
    It’s simple, correct and Mexican.

    • #21 by Cooking in Mexico on August 15, 2010 - 12:22 pm

      Hi Alan,

      I understand this differentiation in reference to animals, but not to food. Usually, the word is burrito when talking about a rolled up flour tortilla with a filling. Do you know why the same type of food is sometimes referred to as a burrita?

      • #22 by Gilberto on September 17, 2010 - 9:19 am

        Hi Alan and Kathleen

        I am from the north of Mexico where burritos are in everyday’s menu. For us the difference is in the size, a burrito uses a large especially made tortilla and when rolled is at least 12 inches long. A burrita is shorter than that and usually plumper than a burrito.

        • #23 by Cooking in Mexico on September 17, 2010 - 10:10 am

          Thank you for explaining the difference between a burrito and a burrita to us. I just learned something new. Gracias.

  8. #24 by Lorin Johnson on August 16, 2010 - 3:25 pm

    I’ve seen them spelled burritas in several places in Mexico and occasionally here on taco trucks or should I say Burrita Trucks?
    Take care, Lorin

    • #25 by Cooking in Mexico on August 16, 2010 - 4:16 pm

      Burrito. Burrita. As long as they are delicious, and these were.

  9. #26 by Lorin Johnson on August 16, 2010 - 5:52 pm

    Another thought – They use cucs in pico de guillo a lot in San Pancho and I don’t remember having it that way in other parts of Mexico. Also what is that Maggi Jugo?

    • #27 by Cooking in Mexico on August 16, 2010 - 10:09 pm

      Maybe the cucumbers in pico de gallo are a regional ingredient. Maggi Jugo is a seasoning made with “natural vegetable proteins”, an “alternative to meat extract.” I have to admit I have never tried it, but in the interest of journalistic integrity, I will, and report back to you.

  10. #28 by Crepes of Wrath on August 20, 2010 - 8:12 am

    Why doesn’t this place exist in NYC?! It looks so delicious! I need to get Mexican food for lunch today to calm this craving!

    • #29 by Cooking in Mexico on August 20, 2010 - 9:43 am

      Doesn’t NYC have taco trucks roaming the streets? There must be a way to satisfy your cravings, but the last resort is to make fish tacos yourself. See Fish Tacos in Mexico, Baja Style.. They are easy to make, and delicious.
      Thanks for visiting.

  11. #30 by Claudia on June 11, 2011 - 2:34 pm

    Love your blog, Kat! It’s great to hear about the yummy things coming from the Western Coast.
    Keep safe!

    • #31 by Cooking in Mexico on June 13, 2011 - 8:55 am

      Thanks. If your “stay safe” comment is referring to the drug violence so predominant in the US news, be assured that our part of Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta, is safe and free from the awful violence. Recently, a US study was done about the safety of this area, because so many Americans visit here. They found Puerto Vallarta safe, deserving of no travel warnings.

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