For Christmas 2019, my sweet husband was kind of at a loss for what to give me. I always just say, “Take me out to dinner sometime.” This is my standard answer for anything, and I know he might get tired of hearing it but it’s the absolute truth. Going out to eat is genuinely one of my favorite pleasures and we rarely ever do it, and boy did we not know what was coming in 2020.
So that year for Christmas he gifted me a single sheet of paper right out of our printer, entitled “Welcome to the 1st Annual 2020 Greater Manchester Area Mexican Food Tour!” This paper listed 6 different Mexican restaurants in our area, with a notation at the bottom: “*Alcohol included, **Kids Optional.”
Friends, this was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. It was basically a gift certificate to all the area’s Mexican restaurants and I was so excited. I was so looking forward to a year’s worth of great meals. Well, of course we had no idea that the world would come to a screeching halt in March 2020, but we did get a few of these visits in before that happened.
- Puerto Vallarta, 2nd Street
- Mi Jalisco, South Willow Street
- Margaritas, Elm Street
- Nuevo Vallarta, 2nd Street
Puerto Vallarta: Second St.
The tour started off on January 21 with my favorite Mexican restaurant in the area, Puerto Vallarta. I’ve been there a number of times and have never gotten the same thing twice, so it’s fair to say I’ve tried a good many things on their menu and I’ve always loved everything. Today I tried yet another new thing: the Tri Color Burrito, which is just as beautiful as it is delicious. Topped with salsa verde, cheese, and salsa roja, it looks like the Mexican flag! It’s also gigantic. I have never seen such a large burrito. The margarita, as always, was on point.
Mi Jalisco: South Willow St.
On January 27, we visited the newly opened Mi Jalisco Mexican Grill and Cantina on South Willow Street. I knew they had only been opened for a short time at this location, but I have been to their other location in Milford several years back, and it had been enjoyable.
For this meal I tried their queso fundido which they call choriqueso. It had nice flavor and the colorful peppers added on top were very festive and beautiful. For the lunch I tried the Special Lunch #8 which is a chicken burrito and a chicken enchilada covered in poblano sauce, served with rice and lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.
Another restaurant checked off my list for the Mexican food tour!
Margarita’s: Elm St.
On February 14, Dave and I took a Valentine’s Day lunch break and headed over to Margarita’s on Elm Street. I’ve long been a fan of their Tacos del Mar with the beer battered fish. Dave got their Original Fish Tacos to compare. For research, you know! And of course I was totally happy with my margarita flight of 4 different flavors.
Nuevo Vallarta: Second St.
We were making such good progress on our Mexican food tour by March. By then there were lots of rumblings of the pandemic, and restaurants were not as busy as they usually were. We went to Nuevo Vallarta on March 6 and we didn’t realize it at the time, but that would be our last visit to a restaurant for a long time.
Nuevo Vallarta is the sister restaurant to Puerto Vallarta, so I knew we’d be in for a treat! Even though I knew they have the same owners, for research purposes I wanted to be sure it was just as good as its sister just a few steps up the road.
Walking in, I can see that the decor is all very similar. I love the brightly colored chairs and benches, carved with traditional Mexican scenes and painted in bright colors. Nuevo Vallarta has an outdoor patio seating area which could be nice in the warmer months.
First things first! I had to order their queso fundido to see how it compares to Puerto Vallarta. I was beyond pleased that it was the same. I love it! The margarita was also perfect. Chips and salsa? Amazing.
For my meal I ordered the street tacos. They were absolutely delicious, but not as photogenic as I hoped because of the way they were wrapped in the foil. I managed to arrange them as best I could for the photos. That salsa de tomatillo on the side? Super hot!! It was perfect for the tacos but it sure did clear my sinuses.
And with that, our year long Mexican food tour was over by March due to the pandemic. While we continued to do takeout throughout the year, it’s just never the same as dining in an actual restaurant.
Here you’ll see our Cinco de Mayo feast that we ordered from Puerto Vallarta via Door Dash.
I also ordered Door Dash from Taqueria y Pastelitos To Go, which is on Valley Street. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of that order, but we enjoyed it!
Read more about Manchester area Mexican restaurants here!