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.