El Arrayan, Puerto Vallarta’s newest Mexican eatery, celebrates its grand opening. The restaurant began with a soft opening in November 2003. Spearheaded by owner Carmen Porras’s search for authentic Mexican food in Puerto Vallarta, El Arrayán (kitchen design, menu, etc.) is inspired by her friend and colleague, Carmen Titita (Mexico City’s famous El Bajio restaurant), who has earned James Beard’s praise for her work.
“My mission is to showcase genuine Mexican food of the region, exclusively using the highest quality ingredients and service and offering a complete, authentic experience for our guests,” said Porras. “El Arrayán prides itself with a friendly and casual attitude, allowing guests to feel at ease and making every effort to fulfill special requests - the phrase “no hay” (“we don’t have it”) doesn’t exist here - if it’s possible, requests are met and accomplished with a smile.“Porras preserves the traditions of Mexico by employing authentic tools and ingredients while preserving traditional regional recipes, many from her own family. Reflecting the influences that historically have changed the way of cooking in the region, El Arrayán’s menu largely utilizes Jalisco’s wealth of lakes, forests, beaches and flatlands. Their dishes include pre-Hispanic ingredients such as chile, cactus paddles, avocado, beans and corn, in addition to originally European ingredients brought to Mexico that are now staples, such as pork, beef and cheese, among many others. Naturally, the bar offers an extensive variety of tequilas and regional liquors as well as international selections and “agues frescas” (Mexican fruit coolers).The restaurant’s name evolved from Porras’ memories as a child of visiting candy shops with her mother for “dulces de arrayán” while on holiday in Guadalajara. She also remembers an arrayán tree at her great-grandfather’s house in Guadalajara, which is there to this day. The trees, which feature flowers with four petals and a small edible fruit, are prevalent in the Jalisco region of Mexico.