Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Culinary Delights in San Miguel de Allende

This is the first place I ever stayed in Mexico almost twenty years ago.  I'm delighted it's still where I left it! The hotel rooms surround the delightful central dining courtyard. 
American restaurants try. Entrepreneurs spend thousands on decor intended to foster a pleasant ambience and hearty appetites. Some places even attempt to emulate European sidewalk cafes although that usually results in a few tables placed on the city sidewalk with a view of passing traffic and the scent of gas fumes. In Mexico, though, you'd be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that was not unique, beautiful and charming serving delicious food at prices so inexpensive you are tempted to frame the check.
95 pesos is 5.71 US

My trip to San Miguel de Allende was, as usual, one of culinary bliss. Every restaurant was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

Because buildings have their facades close to the road while the interior courtyard contains the restaurant proper, there are often fountains, greenery and natural light to delight. 

You will want to eat slowly to savor each bite. When having breakfast, be sure to order the orange juice which will be freshly squeezed--none of that reconstituted stuff in Mexico. And, as I mentioned before, you can indulge without fearing the bill, so go ahead and order an extra appetizer or have a dessert, or two!

I bet you'll take photos of your meals, too!
On one memorable morning, I treated three of us to a pancake and muffin breakfast with coffee and tea for the equivalent of 5.71 US dollars!

My friends and I ate here my first night in town.  Musicians played on the stage at the right.
You will also discover that the bill won't be delivered until you ask for it.  A waiter would not dream of disrupting your pleasurable meal by anything so intrusive as a check, so it will be up to you to request, La cuenta, por favor.

Oso Azul is a delightful place for breakfast.
In any town with a sizable expat population, you will find a diversity of cuisines. San Miguel has restaurants ranging from Italian to Lebanese. There are, according to Trip Advisor, 45 international restaurants, 28 Italian ones, and 22 American. I wish I could have stayed long enough to try every one!

Even the simplest cafes will have items that charm the eye.
You will undoubtedly enjoy every moment of your visit in Mexico, but, perhaps, none so much as the hours you will spend in its restaurants. Buen provecho!
Ready for lunch!
Practicalities -
While I would urge caution when eating "street food" (As a general rule, it's okay to eat anything that is freshly prepared while you watch, but do not eat anything that's been sitting around for a while.), do not worry about drinking the water or eating produce in any restaurant.  Since Mexicans are just as prone to dysentery as visitors are, the restaurant would not remain in business if it were were careless about hygiene.
To save money, you might ask for water in a glass rather than a plastic bottle of water.  This will come from the large five-gallon drum of purified water that all restaurants have. Say, un vaso de agua pura por favor.  If you'd also like ice with your drink, say, con hielo. (pronounced con YEAH lo)
My fixed price lunch of soup, pork chops, rice, beans, butter and bread, tres leches cake for dessert, and a delicious watermelon drink to wash it all down cost the equivalent of $7.82.

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