Puerto Vallarta (Rapid City, SD)

After meeting my fellow hikers for our Fitpacking trip along the Centennial Trail, it was time for a big dinner to fuel us up for our trip. The group settled on Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican restaurant located on the north edge of town, on Lacrosse Rd just north of I-90.

As I perused the menu while sipping on one of their drink specials (a nicely-composed pineapple Margarita), it was good to see a lot of options. Back in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, our Mexican options are rather limited in selection, and often in quality and spice level as well. Puerto Vallarta was a nice return to the broad menus that I like at most Mexican restaurants, with a good range of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales, combo plates, and the like. I ended up settling on the carnitas; I enjoy a really good carnitas, with tender shreds of salted, marinated pork. Too often this is dry chunks of pork, but the version of Puerto Vallarta was quiet good: tender, well-seasoned shreds of pork, still moist, served up with some very flavorful refried beans and a pleasant-and-not-overly-salty rice. A simple meal, but a delicious one, and everything I was craving in a basic, traditional Mexican dish.

Carol opted for another classic, a chicken mole enchilada plate. Again, this was a classic dish executed well: the chicken was nice, tender shreds, the mole sauce rich and chocolately without being sweet, the cheese not overly heavily applied… and the same good refried beans and Mexican rice. Another solid success.

While South Dakota isn’t generally known as a hotbed of good Mexican restaurants, Puerto Vallarta was quite pleasing; the food was good, the spicing level quite good, the drinks nicely made and plentiful, and the service extremely friendly and efficient. I’d definitely consider a return visit if I’m back in the area

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