First of all, there is nothing new or secret about Vallarta Supermarkets. As one of the fastest growing regional supermarket chains in America, people flock to these food meccas by the thousands each day. But there is something special about walking into a Vallarta. I don’t know if it’s the colors, the smells, the fresh tortillas, the Carniceria, or a combination of all of the above….but when I walk in the doors, I get a sort of glazed over look in my eyes and a weird drunken grin comes on my face like a drunk teenage boy stumbling into a strip bar for the first time…
Well, maybe not…but you get the idea. For those who haven’t been in a Vallarta, it’s a food orgy with a decidedly Mexican cuisine flare. The combination butcher shop/fish market is extraordinary, the fresh tortillas are made before your eyes, and the produce is fresh, year round good and as low priced as it gets. Do I shop there for regular American ingredients and staples?…generally not. When I head to Vallarta, it’s for prepared meats, tortillas and produce – period.
My meal of choice prepared courtesy of Vallarta?…Tacos De Pollo…chicken tacos. No need to get complicated here – wait for the sale, run-don’t-walk to Vallarta, buy, cook, eat!
I start with the marinated chicken steak – that’s what they call it. It’s essentially boneless halves of chicken marinated in Vallarta traditional ‘preparada’ marinade. It’s a combination of Chef Morito Carne Asada seasoning, onions, cilantro, citrus juices and whatever else I can’t recognize. Bottom line: it’s perfect! Every time I try to imitate it, it’s never as good as theirs – so why try? When the marinated chicken is on sale, it runs anywhere from $1.39 to $1.99 a pound! I pick up 3 or 4 pounds and I’m set. Next stop, the tortillas – for a 30 pack of the freshest white corn tortillas in town. Stop at the refrigerator for some cheese – Queso Blanco, Cotija or Jack. Then, a white onion, a bunch of cilantro, a tub of their fresh chile verde salsa, and straight to the check out line and home.
Again, keep it simple – grill the chicken on the BBQ. Create an onion/cilantro chopped mixture. Warm the tortillas. Grate the cheese. Into the tortilla goes chopped grilled chicken, onions/cilantro, cheese, salsa – this is a chicken street taco as good as any taco stand in SoCal. And you can make enough tacos for a small army for $20! Go – now! I love Vallarta Supermarkets – you will too!