Uncertainty is an inevitable part of life, and as a freelancer, one I have a relatively high tolerance for. We sometimes overestimate our powers of perception…I figure if I could see the future I would have won the lottery by now at the very least. As the name of the establishment clearly indicates, that is a sentiment shared by Tim and Tracey over at No Sé Nada, located in downtown Vallarta just off Calle Morelos.
The Vibes: My first lesson in expecting the unexpected at No Sé Nada came shortly after I walked through the door that early evening, where Tracey was waiting to greet me and my most trusted +1. After the introductions went around, she led us up a flight of stairs to a roof deck which I hadn’t seen from the street.
A picturesque view of the Pacific delivered the cool breath of the ocean over the short stretch of concrete separating our seats from the sea, and festive decorations for an event set to take place later jigged jovially in the breeze. The sun was just beginning to set over the city, making for an engaging atmosphere in which to learn the story of No Sé Nada.
After kicking around the continent for a bit, the couple eventually decided to follow their dreams to this sunny city by the sea, and bring along a few favorite recipes they had encountered in their travels.
“‘No sé nada’ goes back to before we even got this place..” Tim explained. “We don’t really have any kind of culinary background, we both had established careers before we settled down here, so people would ask us things like ‘What do you know about running a restaurant?,’ and well…we were honest with ourselves.”
If the owners lacked experience setting a scene, they certainly could have fooled me.
The Vices: After setting us up with a couple of drinks–the house specialty margarita with añejo tequila for yours truly, the delightful mandarin margarita for the lady–Tracey took the time to share an origin story for most items on the menu. “The Golden Gate Salmon is based on a dish a friend made for us in San Francisco…I pleaded for the recipe after the first few bites. Being able to share delicious dishes with so many different people is why we do this.”
Before long, the restaurant’s take on egg rolls appeared in front of us in all their freshly fried indulgence. Savory chunks of ham partnered with melted cheese and a few special guests inside the familiar packaging. It wasn’t any egg roll I’d ever heard of, but that surely does not preclude its tastiness. My date for the evening is on record as not eating pork, but did not let that stop her from eagerly shoveling one of the two segments past her teeth.
The starter menu was packed with winners including addictive shrimp croquettes and crunchy garlic bread crisps topped with a blend of cheeses, but when it came time for entreés one dish made itself impossible to ignore from among the choices: New Orleans-style bourbon shrimp. While this is a phrase I generally always fixate on, I still felt compelled to inquire with our waiter Fernando about how it was received this far south of the French Quarter.
His answer? “A lot of people ask for an extra spoon just to eat the sauce.”
The man was not lying. The flavor of the shrimp was nothing short of spectacular, and when the included baguette slices had performed their sauce-sopping duties, everything else on the table quickly became a platform for delivering more of it into our mouths. By the time the bowl left the table, it had probably lost a layer of enamel from being so thoroughly scraped.
After such a sumptuous feast there was barely room for dessert, but Tim and Tracey insisted that we not leave without sampling their signature treat. Known as Rio Cuale Mud in a local take on its Mississippi roots, the menu describes it as being made with “layers of love,” which I found to be an accurate statement even without getting into a whole thing about chocolate, endorphins, and mild insanity.
Finishing the meal with a glass of Bailey’s to go along with dessert, I reflected upon the full phrase appearing in the restaurant’s branding, “No Sé Nada…pero un buen momento.” Using my semi-functional Spanish translator, it comes out as something like “I know nothing but a good time”…an easy mood to be in after spending a few hours here.
The Verdict: As human beings we pretend to be these complex and inscrutable creatures, but for me our motives are relatively easy to grasp in many cases…in short, there’s not that much to know once you understand. All most of us really want is to enjoy our ride, to take our due part in the modern bounty afforded to us by the shiny future in which we live. No Sé Nada does everything possible to facilitate that engagement with our existence, helping to create more of those moments that make life worth savoring.
Maybe I’ll catch you there.
No Se Nada
Calle Corona #179