Supermarkets, Bakeries, and Organic Groceries
The king of national supermarket chains is Comercial Mexicana, Mexico’s K-Mart with groceries. The quality is generally good to excellent, and the prices match those in the United States and Canada.
Much closer to downtown is the big, locally owned Supermarket Gutiérrez Rizo (Constitución and Vallarta, just south of the Río Cuale, tel. 322/222-0222 or 322/222-6701, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), a remarkably well- organized dynamo of a general store. Besides vegetables, groceries, film, socks, spermicide, and sofas, it stocks one of the largest racks of English-language newspapers and magazines (some you’d be hard-pressed to find back home) outside of Mexico City.
South of Cuale, don’t miss stopping by the charming neighborhood bakery, Pays de Catalina (Basilio Badillo 317, tel. 322/223-2682, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), a few doors up the street from Casa de Los Hot Cakes. Here, the longtime owner-baker continues to put out a scrumptious menu of goods, from big, crunchy cookies and cinnamon rolls to get-’em-while-they’re-there croissants and crisp apple tarts. Also south of Cuale, pastry lovers enjoy visiting Pie in the Sky (Lázaro Cárdenas 247, near the corner of P. Suárez, tel. 322/222-8411, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily). The highlight here, besides good coffee, apple and mango pie, and chocolate cake, is their indulgently scrumptious brownies.
On the north side of town, rival Panadería los Chatos (8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) offers a comparably fine selection at two locations: in the Hotel Zone (Fco. Villa 359, tel. 322/223-0485) across from the Hotel Sheraton; and farther north, in the marina (tel. 322/221-2540).
Health-food devotees have an excellent south-of-Cuale option in Agro Gourmet (corner of Basilio Badillo and Pino Suárez, tel. 322/222-5155 or 322/222-5357, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.). Besides home-grown lettuces and other vegetables and herbs, it also offers a trove of hard-to-get cheeses, breads, ravioli, pesto, tahini, hummus, and much more.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition