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Carol Schmidt


Aug 13, 2005, 2:42 PM

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SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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The way to make a small fortune in San Miguel is to start with a large fortune and open a restaurant.

We have our favorite splurge restaurants where dinner and a Diet Coke will be not more than $15 each. These include Nirvana (big plate of wonderful arrachera and sides for $11), Harry's (my fried oysters plate is $11 now), and El Bacha Lebanese ($14 for the buffet Wednesday-Sunday after 5 pm). We'll try the food at Finnegan's again under its new ownership, especially when they have their set menus of international cuisine (Indian food Aug. 17). Sometimes we'll go to Casa Payo or Tio Lucas since friends love those, and I wouldn't refuse Romano's.

Our average restaurants are Ole Ole at $6.50 for a combination plate of fajitas, La Buena Vida for breakfast or lunch for around $5, La Fonda/Aqui es Mexico with combination comida meals for as low as $4.50, Barbecue Bob's for jerk chicken at around $5 a half chicken and sides, and Hecho en Mexico because of their salads and their vegetarian platter for around $6. La Boca is someplace we'll return to since they have the same sandwich menu as Casa Mia did, and we loved that one. We love breakfast at Cafe la Parroquia and go almost every Sunday for brunch, $15 for two. The Lazy Fish Taco on Mesones has big grilled fish tacos for $1.50. A couple of those and potato salad and cole slaw with Diet Cokes is around $12 for two.

When we're near the end of the month but still want to go out we'll have four burritacos and a Diet Coke at Tortillas de Harina on Mesones between Hidalgo and Reloj for $2. It's only open from around 10:30 am until around 3.

We don't even think about going to the more pricey ones like the Sierra Nevada, Santa Monica, La Capilla, and Restaurante La Puertecita. Not on Social Security.

Mostly we cook in--Norma is a gourmet cook who makes better food than any restaurant in town.

So what restaurants do you actually go to over and over again?

Carol Schmidt



MARIA CUERVA

Aug 13, 2005, 3:20 PM

Post #2 of 36 (3683 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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I prefer to eat at home. But if I am on the move my favorite places to eat are at the Comedors in El Mercado de San Juan de Dios. Frijoles, arroz, chile rejellenos, tortitas de papa, nopalitos, tortillas, agua de fruta. All this for two costing only 55 to 65 pesos at most. Delicious! What a meal!
If I am pressured to go to lunch with someone then I can feel comfortable eating at the place Carol mentioned on Mesones. They do have some okay tortillas de harina with different fillings to choose from. So other than small local places on side streets that offer good prices and good food, all the rest I find very expensive. I have no interest in seeing and being seen nor the desire to pay for that priveledge in U.S. prices. Different value systems.....
I hope not to offend anyone with my opinions. The best(?) restaurants have cockroaches and lots of pesticide sprayed on all the counters. I love East Indian flavors and so try not to think about it when I order it to take home.
That's not in San Miguel so not pertinent I guess.
My family and I thru out my life while traveling had to eat in restaurants all over Mexico and other countries. There never was a restaurant kitchen my mother trusted or thought clean enough. She never believed a word they said and pushed her way into every kitchen to personally inspect it. Thus my dislike and dis ease in restaurants. On the other side of this, I can say that I have never gotten sick while eating in any country so my care seems well taken.


(This post was edited by cuerva on Aug 13, 2005, 4:24 PM)


Brian

Aug 13, 2005, 5:02 PM

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Re: [cuerva] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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My favorite restaurants (which happen to be very inexpensive) are Cafe Colon on Mesones near the antique Pemex pump and a buffet on Ancha San Antonio with the words "Comida Casera muy Mexicana". It also has an Indian sounding name like XOCHINOCO or similar. Near the intersection of Ancha and Guadiana. All you can stuff for 45 pesos. Few gringos although for my wife and I, that is not a meaningful criterion for selecting restaurants here.

saludos

Brian




Anonimo

Aug 14, 2005, 6:34 AM

Post #4 of 36 (3634 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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We've only been in SMA once, years ago, in the 90s. But we do remember an excellent pizza and a tasty, "safe" salad at La Grotta.
Also, Aquí Es México served a superior Chile en Nogada (No excessively creamy white sauce on it, which I hated in Mexico City.) However, it took the lady chef/ owner a long time to pepare it. My wife had something like pork loin in a walnut sauce, maybe with fruit, too(?) sort of a "nogada", too, eh?

I truly enjoyed tacos de carne asada at a taco stand against a church wall one evening.
La Colmena Panadería had good stuff to take away.
There was a "Meson San José", or something, a sort of mini-mall in a courtyard, on Mesones that served excellent combination breakfasts at reasonable (but not rock bottom) prices.

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo


Cynthia7

Aug 14, 2005, 8:07 AM

Post #5 of 36 (3617 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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We likeJuanitas pizza on Orizaba. The Jacaranda Hotel, Hecho in Mexico, Ole Ole, steak at Romanos,Pollo Feliz on the by pass, La Gruta and Buganvilla for chiles en nogada..The Food Factory and Nirvana..The Matador for hubcap hamburger. We eat at home because we have good food there but when we eat out..we want it to be special. I have heard rave reviews about the Cajun Louisiana restaurant in the Atotonilco area but have not gone. Did go out to Patsy Dubois country house last Sunday for Mexican country cooking..it was good, fun and an adventure.


yea


Aug 14, 2005, 1:33 PM

Post #6 of 36 (3584 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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"The way to make a small fortune in San Miguel is to start with a large fortune and open a retaurant."

Hey Carol, that sounds strangely familiar like a phrase written in the new guide book to San Miguel de Allende by Joseph Harmes.


Gringal

Aug 14, 2005, 3:19 PM

Post #7 of 36 (3572 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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I think the "small fortune" phrase is an oldie but goodie, applicable to practically anywhere. True here, for sure.

Went to Finnegans today for the Sunday music (great fun) and had the chicken quesadillas (45pesos) which were the best we've had in town. Now if they would just put a few real lunch items on the regular menu.....


Carol Schmidt


Aug 14, 2005, 9:13 PM

Post #8 of 36 (3537 views)

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Re: [yea] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Maybe Harmes heard it three or four years ago from the same guy who told it to me. I haven't read his book so I didn't plagarize it from him. It's an old saw said about many cities.

Carol Schmidt


wmhwilson


Aug 15, 2005, 4:16 AM

Post #9 of 36 (3528 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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The phrase made it's rounds in Philadelphia,too !!!
Bill and Jackie Wilson
Wallingford,PA


wmhwilson


Aug 15, 2005, 4:20 AM

Post #10 of 36 (3526 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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While we are takingabout food (I'ts 7AM and I had some Greek yogur and honey) I wonder if nyone can recommend a link or book on navigating Mexican food. We have a Baja, had a ChiChi's and of course Taco Bell...but I think they are mod fast foot a la USA.
Thanks
Bill and Jackie Wilson
Wallingford,PA


Chumley

Aug 15, 2005, 5:23 AM

Post #11 of 36 (3527 views)

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Re: [wmhwilson] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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If you really want to know everything there is to know about Mexican cuisine, buy a cookbook written by Rick Bayless. We use his "Mexican Kitchen" book as a basic guide. Next to Diana Kennedy, he is the premier expert on Mexican cooking.


Carol Schmidt


Aug 15, 2005, 8:36 AM

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Re: [Chumley] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Bill and Jackie, go on over to the Mexican Kitchen forum on Mexconnect and you'll learn a lot for free. Rollie as usual has lots of photos of many Mexican foods being made, complete with recipes, on his website, linked there from several posts. I agree Rick Bayless's cookbooks are excellent,and Diane Kennedy's books are maybe even more recognized as the basic, best ones on Mexican cuisine.

I got the feeling you were asking more about what to order since San Miguel restaurant meals will bear little resemblance to what you get at Taco Bell. The restaurants oriented to gringos in Centro will have menus posted outside with their menu items in both English and Spanish, so you'll be able to pick up on the equivalents and order the same thing much cheaper at a little Mexican restaurant. Ask someone what they're having if you spot someone at a restaurant with a dish that looks tasty. (Be sure to say "Buen provecho," good dining, whenever you make eye contact with someone who is eating.)

If you have specific questions about food, you'll probablyl find them already answered over at the Kitchen Forum.

Carol Schmidt


song_of_joy

Aug 17, 2005, 9:21 PM

Post #13 of 36 (3430 views)

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Re: [Brian] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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I remember eating the absolute best chicken enchiladas of my life at a food stand on the plaza. They were red and spicy and served up on absorbent brown paper towels. That was 25 years ago when we'd drive from Guadalajara to San Miguel to go hang gliding.

A lifetime later, I was in SMA last month for a wedding, but went the respectable ("hotsy totsy") matron route this time.
: (

Can you still get those wonderful enchiladas?


jeana


Aug 18, 2005, 2:54 PM

Post #14 of 36 (3395 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Can anyone suggest a favorite place for chilaquiles? Also, I love dark mole, though I know it's more a specialty of other cities. Any favorite place in SMA for good chicken mole?

Thanks!
Jeana


gpk

Aug 18, 2005, 3:34 PM

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Re: [jeana] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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The restaurant Truco 7 in nearby Guanajuato has the best mole in the state of Guanajuato. The name of the restaurant is also the address.


Brian

Aug 18, 2005, 3:59 PM

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Re: [jeana] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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By "dark mole", I assume you mean mole poblano although one of the moles from Oaxaca is practically black. For those in San Miguel who can't make a quick trip to Puebla for this delicious dish, both Bugambilas and the Restaurant in the Posada San Francisco offer a very passable substitute. Mmmm..que rico y para chuparse los dedos

Brian




Carol Schmidt


Aug 18, 2005, 7:28 PM

Post #17 of 36 (3354 views)

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Re: [jeana] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Nirvana has excellent dark mole, on its breakfast menu, synchronizada or some such spelling, tortillas layered with ham and cheese and topped with eggs and the whole thing topped with delicious mole and plenty of it. Nirvana is on Mesones across from Teatro Angela Peralta, down a couple of doors from Tio Lucas that is on the corner of Mesones and Hernandez Macias. Breakfasts every day. Nirvana also has the best arrachera in town for 110 pesos. Good chilaquiles, too. A bit upscale but an absolutely beautiful restaurant with top notch service.

Cafe de la Parroquia has the best chilaquiles, to me--red or green, with chicken on top, around 40 pesos. Comes with tortillas and a bowl of beans, and a basket of rolls to start with butter, jam, and a wonderful green salsa with big chunks of avocado in it. It's on Jesus across from Galeria Atenea, in the same courtyard as El Tecolote bookstore. Closed Mondays, and it's only open until 2 Sundays, 4 the other days. At night it becomes La Brasserie, another restaurant for dinners.

Another place with good chilaquiles is in Belles Artes, a small restaurant tucked in the back in the first floor. El Correo, on Correo, just a block east from the Parroquia, has good chilaquiles as well.

Harry's for weekend brunch has chilaquiles served with arrachara, smaller portions of each, naturally.

Carol Schmidt


Brian

Aug 19, 2005, 6:16 AM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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I forgot to mention a third place with very good pollo con mole. It's Cha-Cha-Cha in Colonia San Antonio.

saludos

Brian




jeana


Aug 19, 2005, 12:13 PM

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Re: [gpk] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Thank you for the Guanajuato recommendation. I forgot to even ask about restaurants in Guanajuato, and I am going to spend a few days there as well. I have a feeling I'm going to fly back home in the cargo hold!

Jeana


jeana


Aug 19, 2005, 12:18 PM

Post #20 of 36 (3304 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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Thanks, Carol and Brian, for suggesting your favorites. I am sitting here at my desk in NYC --salivating. Don't you guys get really hungry when reading this thread? It makes me want to go out and get a great meal. I'm just hoping I can get in a little sightseeing in SMA between meals...

Jeana


pathall

Aug 22, 2005, 8:45 AM

Post #21 of 36 (3250 views)

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] SMA restaurants we go back to again and again

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You mention that Finnigan's is under new ownership. What happened to Patrick and Alejandra? DId they sell it completely?
Pat


Carol Schmidt


Aug 22, 2005, 8:59 AM

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More SMA restaurant comings and goings

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They sold it completely. Last I heard Patrick was in Ireland with his family.

If you remember, the original restaurant was called Los Amigos at the current Finnegan's location. Then those four partners split up and Patrick and Alejandra kept the current location and renamed it Finnegan's. The other two partners opened a new restaurant on Jesus which they called Amigos. That restaurant looked closed when we walked by yesterday. IMO it was too close a match for the better-established Cafe de la Parroquia just down the street. Restaurants do come and go, in SMA and every place.

And for more restaurant news, the vacancy left at the Hotel Sautto courtyard when Bella Italia moved into the Plaza Colonia walkway betweeen Hernandz Macias and Canal will now be filled by a pizzeria. They're building a genuine brick pizza oven there now. Some of the younger Sauttos have worked in pizzerias in the U.S.

Carol Schmidt


Chumley

Aug 23, 2005, 4:59 AM

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Re: [Carol Schmidt] More SMA restaurant comings and goings

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It opened last Thursday night with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring the mayor and a famous actor. It is called Toscana, and will be an upscale Italian eatery. And as for the current Finnegans "theme night" dinners, forget them. The Thai dinner was a travesty, and outrageously expensive.


Gringal

Aug 23, 2005, 9:29 AM

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Re: [Chumley] More SMA restaurant comings and goings

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And then there was the Indian dinner. Expensive, and very disappointing. Based on the sparse attendance, I suspect the "International" nights may be a passing matter. I like Indian food and wish someone would open up an eatery serving up delicious tandoori chicken and all the other great dishes I miss from the states. I also long for Thai food. Since there are so many great cuisines available here, I guess my palate is just spoiled rotten from living so long in the S.F. Bay area, where the dining choices ranged all over the globe.


not_ally

Aug 23, 2005, 12:24 PM

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Re: [Gringal] More SMA restaurant comings and goings

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Too bad about both Finnegan's and Amigos. Patrick and Alejandra were the best hosts around, and Amigos had the best deserts around.

Gringal, some of my friends and I were talking about doing international nights dinners amongst ourselves, between us we have many of the great cuisines covered (I cook Indian, Thai and Chinese myself). We figured that we'd do a different cuisine once a month so that each of us would only cook every fourth month or so. Maybe we should figure out a way to do it in bigger groups.
----------------------------
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly I discover there is no reason." John Cage
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