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As you walk into the room you are greeted not only with the delicious smell of seafood but also the friendly face of Chef Nacho Cadena as he takes your hand between his, telling you that you are dining with him as if you are a part of his familia.
That is what Puerto Vallarta’s message is about, a destination of not only fun and games but more, a place where you can feel safe with the locals who welcome you with open arms.
Chef Nacho developed his culinary taste by being a fisherman and a diver, learning about the commodities of the sea. He creates dishes using fresh and natural ingredients by building lasting relationships with fishermen, farmers, and butchers. He protects and incorporates Mexican traditions into each of his meals in his restaurant, La Leche in Puerto Vallarta.
Chef Cadena introduced his dishes by explaining how Puerto Vallarta should be celebrated as “the place God created on the fourth day of creation and so happy was He making Banderas Bay, one of the five largest in the world. He then sowed the mountain with a splendid rainforest and with beautiful rivers that descend from the green mountain until they meet the incredible blue of the Pacific.”
He started off the meal with Ceviche Negro (Black Ceviche). This interesting take on a traditional Mexican dish using squid ink was a great way to introduce the culture of the gorgeous land of Puerto Vallarta. Tinga de Jaiba with Aguacate (Shredded Crab with Avocado) was next up for our meal, this creamy chilled soup and was a great colorful addition. This light soup prepared us for the heavier dishes to come.
The chef and his culinary team then prepared Tacos de Pavo Al Pastor (Spit-Grilled Turkey Tacos). When you think of tacos, especially in Mexican culture, you don’t think about turkey in tacos as it isn’t typical. Chef Nacho innovatively thought of creating a healthy and unique spin on this typical Mexican dish. Wrapping the taco instead in lettuce and topping with pineapple cubes, creating a savory yet sweet dish that made you ask for seconds!
The main dish of the evening was a Seafood Pozole The smell of the seafood wafted throughout the room as we drooled waiting to be served. After the healthier courses on the menu, this soup was a great way to end the meal. For the vegetarians of the room, this writer included, we were served a delicious beet salad that didn’t make us feel left out. Earthy and colorful, the salad satisfied enough to make this writer devour it as soon as the plate was set down.
Chef Nacho was a pleasant host of the night, making sure each guest knew that he or she was a part of his family, even serving you himself. If he noticed that you had cleaned your plate, he would offer you seconds immediately. In between the preparation of each dish, he described Puerto Vallarta with such passion it made everyone in the room want to experience the city and meet the locals to experience the beauty that Chef Nacho sees in every corner of his hometown.