Seafood ceviche with avocado on a tostada shell

We've been to Pitillal once before while visiting Puerto Vallarta. We ended up having a little walk, and a light snack, and I had a delicious Michelada that was topped with shrimp. It was glorious. This time our trip to Pitillal was going to involve a food tour and we were going to get a taste of the local cuisine.

There are a few tour companies in Puerto Vallarta but the only one that offered a decent walking tour of Pitillal was Vallarta Food Tours. On the day of the tour, we were to meet at the Centro in Pitillal where we were waiting for our guide, Amanda. It was so hot in fact, my dad went to purchase refreshments; and by refreshments, I mean beer. But not just any beer but Sol con Clamato. One of the best damn beers you can get in Mexico (IMO).

Jump to:
Taco's Neto
Pichi
La Dieta Tacos
Birrieria Villaseñor
Antojeria Pibil
La Tia Anita
Villaseñor Paleteria
Other articles on Mexico

It was a good thing that the tour was just about to start too because that beer started my appetite. Tacos, here I come!

Taco’s Neto

First stop, Taco’s Neto where we are going to have our first taco. Carnitas! Carnitas are made by cooking the pork shoulder in very hot lard and crisping the edges. Then you lower the heat and slow cook it for an extended period of time so the meat doesn’t dry out. Once the cooking process is complete, they chop the pork, put it in a corn tortilla, and top it off with Pico de Gallo, Salsa Mexicana, pickled onions, or whatever salsas you enjoy.

As we learn about all the different types of tacos Taco’s Neto offers and the differences between them, we enjoy some Agua Frescas or refreshing water as it’s roughly translated. We were offered hibiscus iced tea, cranberry, or guava. As pointed out by our guide, the cranberry agua fresca goes well with vodka (but I already knew that).

Agua Frescas are pretty easy to make. The basic recipe is ¼ fresh fruit, ¾ water, sugar, and ice. I’ll have to try making some and I’ll share the recipe with you. I do love a good agua fresca. My favorite is the citrus.

Pichi

A staple restaurant for locals is a seafood favorite, Mariscos Pichi. We are tasting two items from their menu. The first is a shrimp broth made from the shells of the shrimp and various seasonings. It is their amuse-bouche, or welcome to their restaurant dish. After the soup, they brought ceviche on a tostada. The ceviche was made of octopus, shrimp, and scallops, and topped with avocado and pico de gallo.

Growing up I wasn’t always a fan of tostadas simply because I always managed to break the crispy tortilla and my food would fall all over the place. We learned a trick that day though that changed my entire tostada life! The trick is you use a fork. While you hold one side of the tostada with your hand, you use your other hand and the fork on the opposite side for support. This way, your odds of breaking the entire tostada are lower. It’s a game-changer. Trust me.

La Dieta Tacos

Up next, tacos at an unusually named establishment called La Dieta Tacos, or the diet tacos. Now we’re talking! Do you know how many I can put away? Especially if they’re diet tacos! Haha!

We tried their carne asada tacos which were on a bed of beans and topped with onion and cilantro.

I never did get the reason why they were called diet tacos...maybe as a joke?

Birrieria Villaseñor

As the name indicates, we have arrived at a restaurant that specializes in birria. Birria is a dish that originated in the state of Jalisco. It was mainly used for celebratory occasions, and the sometimes necessary, hangover cure.

Traditional birria is made with lamb but it is now common to use beef or the more popular, goat. You start by placing the garlic, meat, bones from the meat, guajillo chili, cacao seeds, bay leaves, cumin, and a few other spices into a clay pot and braise it overnight.

There are 4 different ways you can eat birria: One is by only eating the broth. Second, have it as a stew with the meat and broth. Third, with the meat in a (corn) tortilla, or last but certainly not least, as a taco dorado (fried taco).

The fried taco is simply meat and taco dipped in the broth and then pan-fried until crispy. As for toppings, you have shredded cabbage, onions, lime, and guajillo chili sauce.

Antojeria Pibil

This place. I don’t even know what to say about it except it was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I wanted the recipe but haven’t had any luck. Yet. I’m talking about Cochinita Pibil. Pork is cooked in the Yucatan style and uses annatto, which is a spice from the achiote shrub. It is turned into a rub and marinade using dried chilis, vinegar, Naranja agrias, or sour orange, aka Seville orange.

Cochinita Pibil was traditionally made with suckling pig but now, any pig will do. It is cooked in a pit with wood, and stones, and covered with dirt and banana leaves. The pig is cooked by the smoke and the heat from the stones.

It’s served on a corn tortilla, bed of black beans, and pickled onions. The original Mayan recipe called for the toppings of onions, vinegar, habanero pepper & oregano. Habanero peppers originated in the Amazon but now the Yucatan is the largest producer of the pepper.

La Tia Anita

You can best describe La Tia Anita as a Mexican Diner. It was one of the first versions of a restaurant in Mexico. People opened their homes to sell food and they specialized in pozole, sopes, and tamales. Our guide described tamales as maíz (corn) dumplings. It’s made with maíz dough, the filling, then you fold it over and wrap it in a corn husk or banana leaf then steam it.

One of the reasons these tamales stand out is because, during the masa-making process, lard is whipped with ice to make it lighter and airy.

I have eaten a lot of tamales in my lifetime and I can honestly say, these were the best damn tamales I have ever had in my life. In all my time, I have had 2 bad tamale experiences. This was definitely not one of them.

Villaseñor Paleteria

As we finish up the food tour, we need a palate cleanser. No better place to do that than at a Paleteria, which is a Popsicle Shop. Here you can purchase paletas de agua (popsicles), and paletas de Leche (milk-based popsicles similar to ice cream). Paletas are all-natural and made with fruit juices, fruit puree, and/or herbs.

My paleta of choice is the mango con chili. It’s just as it sounds. Mango with chili flavor and just delicious.

I was so full! Good thing the Pitillal Food Tour was coming to an end. I love food, especially love Mexican food and I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough food, but I did. Now all I wanted to do was get back to the resort and float in the pool.

Photo by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

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LGBTQ+ Healthcare Issues

The Dobbs decision, otherwise known as the court case that overturned Roe v. Wade, has resulted in confusing medical situations for many patients. On top of affecting access to abortions for straight, cisgender women, it presents heightened risks for LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole. Flipping the switch on reproductive rights and privacy rights is a far-reaching act that makes quality care harder to find for an already underserved community.

As the fight against the Dobbs decision continues, it’s important to shed light on the full breadth of its impact. We’ll discuss specific ways that the decision can affect LGBTQ+ healthcare and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.

How the Right to Bodily Privacy Affects LGBTQ+ Healthcare

When the original Roe v. Wade decision was made, the bodily privacy of people across the United States was protected. Now that bodily autonomy is no longer guaranteed, the LGBTQ+ community must brace itself for a potential loss of healthcare rights beyond abortions. This includes services like feminizing and masculinizing hormone therapy (particularly for transgender youth) that conservative lawmakers have been fighting against this year, as well as transition-related procedures. Without privacy, gender-affirming care may be difficult to access without documentation of sex as “proof” of gender.

As essential services for the LGBTQ+ community become more difficult to access, perhaps the most immediate effect we’ll see is eroding trust between healthcare providers and LGBTQ+ patients. When providers aren’t working in the best interest of patients — just like in cases of children and rape victims denied abortions — patients may further avoid preventative care in a community that already faces discrimination in doctor’s offices.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just a Women’s Issue

While the Dobbs decision is often framed as a women's issue — specifically, one that affects cisgender women — it impacts the transgender and non-binary community just as much. All people who are capable of carrying a pregnancy to term have lost at least some ability to choose whether or not to give birth in the U.S.

For transgender and non-binary individuals, this decision comes with the added complexity of body dysmorphia. Without abortion rights, pregnant trans men and some non-binary people may be forced to see their bodies change, and be treated as women by healthcare providers and society as a result.

The Dobbs decision also opens up the possibility for government bodies to determine when life begins — and perhaps even to add legal protections for zygotes and embryos. This puts contraceptives at risk, which could make it more difficult to access gender-affirming care while getting the right contraceptives based on sex for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Overturning Reproductive Rights Puts IVF at Risk

Queer couples that dream of having their own children often have limited options beyond adoption. One such option is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which involves implanting a fertilized egg into a uterus.

While IVF isn’t directly affected by the Dobbs decision, it could fall into a legal gray area depending on when states determine that life begins. Texas, for example, is already barring abortions as early as six weeks. To reduce embryo destruction, which often occurs when patients no longer want more children, limits could be placed on the number of eggs that can be frozen at once.

Any restrictions on IVF will also affect the availability of surrogacy as an option for building a family.

How Can LGBTQ+ Individuals Overcome Healthcare Barriers?

While the Dobbs decision may primarily impact abortion rights today, its potential to worsen LGBTQ+ healthcare as a whole is jarring. So how can the community be prepared?

If you’re struggling to find LGBTQ+-friendly providers near you, using telemedicine now can be an incredibly effective way to start developing strong relationships with far-away healthcare professionals. Telemedicine eliminates the barrier of geography and can be especially helpful for accessing inclusive primary care and therapy. Be sure to check if your insurance provider covers telemedicine.

If you’re seriously concerned about healthcare access in your area — especially if the Dobbs decision affects your whole state or you need regular in-person services that may be at risk — it may be time to consider moving now. While not everyone has the privilege to do so, relocating gives you the ability to settle in areas where lawmakers better serve your needs. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly, so preparing and making progress on a moving checklist now can help you avoid issues later.

The Dobbs Decision Isn’t LGBTQ+-Friendly

The Supreme Court of the United States has proven the power of its conservative majority with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the effects of the Dobbs decision don’t stop at affecting cisgender women’s abortion rights. In states with bans, it also leads to forced birth for trans men and non-binary individuals. Plus, the Dobbs decision increases the risk of other rights, like hormone therapy and IVF, being taken away.

Taking steps now, whether it’s choosing a virtual provider or considering a move, can help you improve your healthcare situation in the future.