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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEntertainment | Restaurants & Dining | October 2008 

The Irreverent Chef: Things to Bring From the "Old Country"
email this pageprint this pageemail usLiana Turner - PVNN

I haven't been to the United States lately, and it seems like the longer I stay here, the less I miss from North of the Border (except for my family, of course.) Now that I am planning a trip, though, my mind constantly wanders onto the same subject... What should I bring back?

When I first moved here nearly fourteen years ago, there were many items that people brought with them, not only because of price issues, but also because some things were just not available here in Puerto Vallarta.

That has changed drastically in the last ten years, and even more so in the last two. Now we can get just about anything we could possibly need. For years, I said if we just had Trader Joes, IKEA and Home Depot, I would never have to leave again. One down, two to go.

Some of the things that others here obsess about, I don't really understand... like Half and Half. If you really need it all you have to do is mix equal parts whole milk and heavy cream, and there you go. Also, yellow lemons... yes, they are pretty, but their flavor pales in comparison to our own Mexican (Key) limes. There is not a recipe that I've seen that is not improved by the substitution of our limes for lemons. Now, we can usually find the yellow lemons here anyway, but they are more expensive. I do like to use them for decorative purposes, though.

This is a list of things to bring that I found in one of my columns from 2005, (with updated notes for 2008):

Mae Ploy Red (and Yellow) Curry Paste - Sometimes available at Productos Orientales on Panama Street, but I'm not crossing it off the list completely yet.

Flying Horse Sweet Chili Sauce for Chicken - Now available at Productos Orientales

Good Green Jasmine Tea

Finger Cots (like little condoms for fingers, so if you cut yourself it is possible to continue cooking. Keeps the bandage on and dry)

Kalamata Olives - Now available at Costco

Xantham Gum (for making wheat-free breads)

Good Bras and Underwear (nothing to do with cooking, but just as important)

Food Processors - Now at Liverpool

Quality Cosmetics - Available at Liverpool

Printer Cartridges (only on the list because of the shocking prices here)

Nice Cotton Kitchen Towels

Seattle Coffee - Starbuck's has arrived, and other Seattle style coffees at Costco.

Albacore Tuna in Water - Now at Costco

Boca Burgers (wrap well if you bring them in luggage. They're frozen)

Heinz Ketchup (ketchup here too sweet) - Heinz not a problem anymore. Readily available.

For this trip I am also adding to my own list:

Pyrex Measuring cups, 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup, with metric measurements as well

Micro plane graters (the best for lime and lemon zest)

Magnetic Knife Strips (for mounting on the wall. Keep knives out of drawers so they stay sharp and away from careless wandering fingers)

Linens and curtains from IKEA, and probably 15 other things from there that I don't really need but can't resist

Kitchen Timer

A Really Good Pepper Grinder, and a Rock Salt grinder too, while we're at it.

Instant Read Thermometer for testing meat doneness (a must for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkeys!)

All kinds of other fun kitchen gadgets

Tweezerman Tweezers (the BEST!)

I'm always interested in knowing what other people bring, for whatever reason. If you have a special list feel free to share it with me at lianasea(at)

Paradise Bakery & Catering News: We will be closing for a one-week vacation from Monday, October 27th and re-opening on Monday, November 3rd.

The Irreverent Chef, a.k.a. Liana Turner, is the chef and owner of Paradise Bakery and Catering. Serving the "Best Cinnamon Rolls in Vallarta," along with delicious sandwiches, salads, main dishes and yummy sweet treats every day but Sunday, and providing all styles of catering services, from pre-prepared meals to-go for informal gatherings to full service elegance for dinners, cocktail parties, wedding receptions and special events, Paradise Bakery & Catering is located at Sierra Aconcagua 299, Prolongacion Brasil, Colonia Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-5133 or visit

Click HERE for more articles by The Irreverent Chef

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