Her only retail outlet is that box on her head. Her storefront is the beach. Her backdrop is the Pacific Ocean. Her overhead is the sky. Her cash register is a fanny pack.
This week I reached out for a big ol' piece of banana cream pie from the Pie Lady of Yelapa, a small fishing village that time forgot on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Admittedly, this is one of the stranger prepared delicacies I've reviewed for this column. But I heard about this incredible pie that's sold only in Yelapa … and I've had flimsier reasons for picking a vacation destination.
Once, I planned my whole summer vacation around eating lunch at Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba in Naples, Italy — the world's first pizza joint. It opened in 1738. I ordered a medium sausage pie and a Coke Light. It would have been nicer if the cook had taken the cigarette out of his mouth when he made my pizza.
I took a three-day vacation in Mexico because a buddy told me about a Pie Lady who makes the most incredible pies in Yelapa, 45 miles south of busy, sunbathing Puerto Vallarta. Pie? I'm so there.
It's easy, just a little tricky, to get to Yelapa. First you fly into Puerto Vallarta. Then you take a cab to the dock, and hop a boat to Yelapa. There's no paved road to Yelapa, and no airport. The boat costs $10 each way and takes about an hour. Sit in the back and strap yourself in for a thrill ride. It's a speedboat.
Beware of imitations. When the boat tied up, a woman met me on the dock and practically shoved pie in my face. "Best in Yelapa," she said.
"That's not her," the boat skipper said. He pointed to the other end of the beach. "She's down there."
The Pie Lady is Chelly Rodriguez, and she's been baking and selling pies in Yelapa for more than 20 years. Her mother created the business, and Rodriguez took it over when her mother "got too old." Now Rodriguez starts baking pies at 6 a.m. every day. And I mean every day — she couldn't remember her last day off. "Years ago," she said.
Read the rest at Live It Up Vallarta.
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