New Kids on the Block: Puerto Cafe

By Christie Seeley

Six months old and out the door running!  The young owners of Puerto Cafe, Aldo and Alvaro from Mexico City and Guadalajara, along with their excellent local staff are dedicated to bringing Puerto Vallarta up to snuff in the world of coffee and teas.  They not only work with the best products, carefully raised and prepared by conscientious Mexican farmers but they also create wonderful innovations such as the espresso tonic prepared with top grade espresso, orange and seltzer water over ice.  It is the perfect drink any time of day in these summer months.

Practically from day one, Puerto Cafe, (Morelos 540 in El Centro) has attracted discerning customers who have spread the word fast that this is a place not to be missed.  A few weeks ago two young friends turned me on to this marvelous neighborhood haunt and encouraged me to sign up for their “pop up” cena maridaje (pairing dishes with artisanal beers) and I am very glad I did.

Working with surfing buddy and restaurateur Sebastian of La Makai Restaurant in Punta de Mita and Wendlandt Brewery of Ensenada, they created an incredible menu for a room filled with eager guests.

The three-course meal began with fresh sea snails from the bay in an almond and garlic cream slightly sweetened with fresh grapes and sprinkled with fresh dill.  This was accompanied by a Wendlandt Light Pilsner, slightly aromatic with a lemony finish.

The second plate was a delicious grilled octopus on a bed of finely chopped eggplant caponata with a sauce made with farm fresh tomatoes.  A Vera Niega Mexican Ale with a maltier punch paired nicely with the savory sauce.

Round number three was a pork cheek, confite for six hours to give it a nice crispy edge and melt in your mouth buttery center.  This was served over puréed black beans and surrounded by a purée of platano macho to add a perfect sweetness to the dish.  A toasted and slightly stronger Red Ale made with an abundance of hops which contributed to the grapefruit flavor, perfectly accompanied the pork.

Finally, out came the dessert of cardamom ice cream served on banana cake topped with grilled maple syrup basted bananas.  Of course generous coffees of all varieties were served.

Puerto Cafe hopes to offer unique evening meals featuring guest chefs on a somewhat regular basis each one to be announced.  Their regular service includes artisanal coffees, teas and other drinks plus pastries and sandwich type items and they are open from 7:30AM to 10:00PM.  Closed Monday.  Go by and meet these friendly and innovative young people.  You will enjoy their spirit and dedication to excellence.