Crepa y esquites, a taste of Puerto Vallarta streets

    On Wednesday night we get off from the boat after some whale(‘s top of the back) watching and feel compelled to scavenge the streets for some sights. We spot a couple of street food stalls alternating between the jewelries and hats along Ignacio L. Vallarta. Being reminded of the warm luscious crepe I once had on Pike Street near the Washington State Convention Center, I bid farewell to my 40 pesos in exchange for a “crepa con chocolate, fresa, lechera y nuez” (chocolate, strawberry, condensed milk and nuts).

    Also 40-pesos-and-5-minutes worth is Hayato‘s “cajeta, platano, nuez y kalhua” choice (caramel, banana, nuts, and kahlua), pictured on the right. The chocolate one is densely sweet with a sandy texture, possibly due to the ground nuts.

    With another 10 pesos (about 83 US cents) one can get a hot fold with meat and cheese, but the sweet crepes in our hand, all fluffy and brown within 5-6 minutes, already hit the spot like a breeze on a Texas summer day.

    Meanwhile, Victoria is drawn to something else with more local aesthetics: a wok of corn kernels above hot pink coals.

    The guy deftly swoops a full scoop of maize into a tiny white plastic cup, the type sandwich shops in the States usually hand customers who ask for water, and through some mix of Spanish and English he explains to Victoria that he will cover it with sour cream, sprinkle some powdery cheese, and if she’d like, which she does, squeeze in some fresh lime juice too. All for 20 pesos.

    ‘Tis a swirl of hot and cold, chilipeppery burning and limey zing. Victoria finds it exhilarating. Abril, my new Mexican friend from the conference, says that it should be mayonnaise and not sour cream, but who knows. I’m not even sure about its name, because when I tell my taxi driver that we try “esquites” on the street, he has no idea what I’m smoking. A few descriptions later he oh’s cheerfully and corrects me: “It’s ‘elote‘!” Well, Wikipedia makes a distinction between the one in a cup and the one on a cob, is it perhaps just a colloquial thing?

    That said, in a tourist town like Puerto Vallarta, where a man selling crepes is bilingual but a candy store owner knows zero English, it doesn’t really matter what they call corn in a cup, as long as the corn keeps its flavor like the streets keep their cobblestones.

    More Puerto Vallarta:
    Dreams & Conference – Day 1, dinner at Oceana
    Dreams & Conference – Day 2, World Cafe and El Patio
    Dreams & Conference – Day 3, Seaside Grill and Room service

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