Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Week of Cheap Eats...Without Sacrificing Your Weekend Splurges

Recently, I did a series of three posts to highlight the places in San Miguel where you can eat for under 100 pesos. There are many of them and the list continues to grow with at least 5 new restaurants opening this past month.

Based on that listing, here is a week of cheap eats that you can enjoy without cutting any of your favorite splurges. You'll get some of the best food in San Miguel.

My indulgences? A Margarita on Friday night after a busy week, a bottle of Chardonnay on Saturday night to share with friends and of course a morning Croissant.

The Weekly Total: $88.23 with tips.

Yes, in some cases you can eat cheaper at home but some people prefer going out and others do not like to cook. It's a matter of personal preference.

You'll notice that Friday and Saturday are the only days that run over $10.00 a day. I like to splurge on the weekends.

With only a little over $10.00 in this budget for liquor and a long list of other options for eating, it's possible to get this total down even lower, especially if you don't drink or opt for something other than a steak on Saturday night. You can also combine eating at home with going out and probably do better on your spending.

Ordering appetizers, alcoholic drinks or desserts is the easiest way to blow a budget and drive up the total on your bill. So what can you do?

Appetizers Are Your Meal
Some restaurants serve large portions of appetizers. You and your partner can order a few and still come in under budget.

Drink at Home
Drinking out is the quickest way to ring up a tab. As I mentioned before, have friends over for an at-home cocktail party before you go out to eat. Or invite them over for an after dinner drink.

Desserts Are A Luxury
If you've got a sweet tooth and really crave a dessert, eat in and go out to enjoy dessert and coffee.

Always Eat A Healthy Breakfast...

This week, make breakfast every day in your own kitchen. I like smoothies because they are easy, healthy and you can switch out the flavor depending on what fruit is in season.

Agave Syrup (The Sweetener) = 69 pesos
Yogurt = 26 pesos
Cranberry Juice  =27 pesos
Strawberries - Leo = 20 pesos

Total $142 pesos = $10.93 (5@ 29 pesos each = $2.23)

Street food: A Mexican Feast of Menudo and To-Die-For-Tacos

10 AM
Doña Bola
Calle Calzada de La Luz and Calle Amado Nervo 1A
Colonia Guadalupe
Menudo = 30 Pesos

Large bowl of Menudo from the only place in San Miguel that brews it for seven hours and for which you can actually smell it cooking as you walk down the block.

After 7 PM
Andy's Tacos
85 Insurgentes
2 Tacos al Pastor = 18 pesos.

These are so delicious, you'll fight all of the aficionados just to get a front row seat.
If I dream about these again tonight don't wake me up.

Daily Total: 48 pesos= $3.69

Not a Calorie Counting Day...

Correo 29
Croissants and a Conga = 52 pesos

Better than the ones you've eaten in Paris Croissants for just 14 pesos. Pair it with a Conga for a total of 52 pesos.

I'm hooked on both and if I had no discipline at all, I would be here for breakfast every morning... in the prime spot- the window seat.

3 PM
El Tucan
Hernandez Marcia's 56
Flauntas = 30 pesos

My go-to favorite when it comes to Mexican. The flour tortilla version tastes just as comforting as a chicken pot pie.

This dish is topped with so many fresh vegetables you forget the meal ever saw a pan of oil in the first place.

Daily Total: 82 pesos = $6.31

Tuesday Market Eats and a Cajun Feast...

9 AM
Rodriquez Family Barbacoa
Section 3, Aisle 3 –Tuesday Market
Barbacoa = 20 pesos

I love Barbacoa for breakfast and The Rodriguez Family Barbacoa stand is my first stop at Tuesday market. I get a half cup of the caldo without vegetables and extra Barbacoa and then load up with the just chopped cilantro, onions and of course lime.

This is not just a cold weather feast. 20 pesos.


Bautista Brothers Carnitas
Section 2, Aisle 1-Tuesday Market
Carnitas = 26 pesos

More often than not someone is bringing out a fresh tray of Carnitas or I have a perfect sense of timing. Bautista Brothers offers them in a torta or a hot, fresh-made tortilla. Either way, you'll swear you're in Carnita heaven. Torta 26 Pesos.

7 PM
Hidalgo #12
(Split) Soft Shell Crab Sandwich = 58 pesos

OK, not perfection but when you're craving crabs and the ocean is hours away, this is the next best thing.

Besides, a side dish of onion rings are near perfection.

Daily Total: 84 pesos = $6.46

Mexican Comfort Food and Peruvian Delights...

10 AM
El Pato
Calzada de la Estacion 175
Mixotes = 50 pesos

As I've said before, you can't get comfort food any better than this. One of the best dishes in San Miguel. Reminds me of my mothers pot roast.

5 PM
La Parada
Recreo 94

Are you surprised that all of the ceviches run 25 pesos for the small portions except the Salmon with snow pods, seaweed and cucumber is 35 pesos. Eat two and you have a meal for just 60 pesos.

Daily Total $110 pesos = $8.47

A Chicago Dog and ThBest Tacos In Town...

1 PM
Chucho's Gyros
Below Ten Ten Pie on Sterling Dickenson
Gyros or Chicago Dog=35 pesos

The dog has flavor and Chucho finally has those Chicago ingredients down to a science. No ketchup please.

Not unusual to eat two but today, I'm on a budget and one does the trick.

6 PM
La Azotea
Umaran 6
2 Jicima taco
90 pesos

The best taco artisan taco in San Miguel? The thin sliced Jicima shell and the fried leeks puts this taco in a class all it's own.

Daily total $125 pesos = $9.62

A Meal In A Bowl and Southern Italian Delicious...

1 PM
La Pozoleria
Calzada de Luz 51A
Green Pozole 38 pesos = $2.92

This Pozole is so good, I would eat it every day...and probably will when January rolls around. I even love it when it's San Miguel hot...if I can remember what that is.

7 PM
Hotel Sautto
Hernandez Marcias 59

This is a splurge day. What's on my menu?

Amatriciana, made with fresh tomatoes, smoked pancetta, garlic, onion and basil. 85 pesos.

Margarita Hotel Sautto. 60 pesos

Daily Total: $184 pesos = $14.16

Upscale restaurants today: Moxi, Hansens and a bottle of Chardonnay

9 AM
Hotel Matilda- Moxi
Aldama # 53
Breakfast = 55 pesos

Yogurt, fruit and granola + fine china + pool view = Best Breakfast Deal In Town.
55 pesos.

3 PM
Calzada de la Aurora 12
Steak Dinner = $109 pesos.

Nothing better than ending the week with a great steak. Hansen's serves the best with fries and a salad. It's a 1-4 PM special for $109 pesos.

La Europa
Canal 13
Bottle of Antares Chardonnay from Chile = 58 pesos

If Chamonix (Sollano 17) serves this Chardonnay, it's good enough for me. They charge 60 pesos a glass. You can buy the entire bottle at La Europa for just 58 pesos. Can't believe that I like a Chardonnay this cheap!

Daily Total:$ 222 pesos = $17.09

Grand Total $76.73 + 15% = $88.23

Many readers tell me if they're under $100 a week they are happy especially when they're this well fed.

Now, grab the list again and plan your restaurant outings for next week. 

Yes, you're likely to change a menu item or two or three but that's part of discovering why eating out in San Miguel is so much fun.

Buen Apetito!

SMA Shorts July 15, 2014

Photos from readers
Mary Tullbane
Sea Salt at 4825 Minnehaha Ave in Minneapolis, MN,USA.

Their menu changes daily to accommodate all the fresh seafood available from COASTAL SEAFOODS! Calamari looks amazing doesn't it?

César Mascorro Pérez
Thai Noodle Soup at The Nit Noi Cafe,1005 Dairy Ashford in Houston,TX,USA.

If you want to find out more about authentic Thai food, go to Valen Dawson's website Eating The Globehttp://eatingtheglobe.com.

Valen is now based in Thailand after living and blogging in San Miguel.

A gift...

Someone asked me the other day what the best thing is that I've given to my son?
That was easy. A lifetime of adventures.

Bar Matilda...

The new bartender at Hotel Matilda, Alberto “Riesler” Morales Perez, has created a signature drink for Bar Matilda called Handu.

It's made of vodka infused with cactus, then scented with lavender and accented with local fruits called Otomies citrus and topped off with Perrier.

Was it good? 2 drinks = 1 over limit = We'll do this again!

As part of its overall plan to put Bar Matilda on the national map, the Matilda will be developing most of its own ingredients. The hotel will also hold mixology clinics, cocktail contest and tasting events and even host appearances by guest bartenders. 

Who would you like to see behind the bar at Matilda? Let them know when you are attending one of Alberto's upcoming events.

Diagnosis: Incurable!

How To Cook Perfect Shrimp…

After shrimp is thawed and deveined (most shrimp you purchase will already be deveined), season with olive oil and your favorite spices. I like to use Cajun seasoning or simply salt and pepper.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat.

Place shrimp on their side until edges start to become pink, about 3 minutes.

Flip shrimp, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Note to self...

Next year pay attention to your catholic calendar. Missed the feast of Corpus Christi.
How did that happen? Love that holiday.

Aging gracefully?

World Cup. Mama Mia, San Miguel de Allende.
Standing room only.

Southern Cooking...

Here are some of the fantastic Southern foods I ate when I was in Oklahoma recently for my son's engagement party.

Did you know in the South we never count calories?

Around Chitown: City Seats Chicago

Update: Improving the BLT:

I am not only bringing the bread from Mivida to Alex at El Tucan for my BLT but also the bacon.

I love BLT's but only with quality ingredients. There is a bacon here called tocino con grasa. Not sure why it's called that because it has more meat on it than any other bacon and it's sliced super thin. You can buy it at Samy's Grocery Store on Insurgentes.

Good thing I finally have American's favorite summer sandwich down now that it's half way through the summer.

Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar

With a menu just 2 month-old, Luna is dishing out some high-quality appetizers at much more affordable prices. Just ask half of San Miguel who have eaten here already and tell me they are going back for more.
Bonus: The killer view. I think it's one of the best in San Miguel.

The Pear, Blue Cheese and Arugula is enough for 2-3 as an appetizer at $115 pesos.

The ribs and Calamari rings glazed with Chipotle are their real specialties.

I had the Calamari rings the second time I was there and they were like no other Calamari I've had before. The Chipotle glaze was fantastic.

Lots of appetizers on the menu for sharing. Don't you just love splits?

In my own little corner..
Lots of inspiring ideas come from my little corner of the house.
A research nook, nap spot and work space all rolled into one.

My favorite summer flowers?
Gardenias, Peonies, and Lilly of the Valley.

Geez, sounds a bit like a wedding bouquet.

Stay tuned but you'll probably be waiting for a really long time.

Interesting buys:
Saturday Organic Market

La Pulga

Tuesday Market

A Man Bouquet... courtesy of the Tipsy Bartender.

I like all of her fun gifts and creative drinks. You can always find something new to try on her site. www.tipsybartender.com/

Cherry Street Farmers Market - Tulsa,Ok

This area of Tulsa is filled with great restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, and little, funky vintage shops. It's also home to one of the best Farmer's Markets in Oklahoma with nearly 90 vendors.

It's a fact that seasonal, sustainable food is better tasting and so much better for you. Just ask all of the customers at the Saturday Organic Market each week.

I tagged along with son Tommy and fiancé Jessica while they bought for the week.

The Other Mexico...

"To experience a more genuine Mexico without seeing gringos at every turn, look to these quieter alternatives on the coast."

Instead of Cabo San Lucas... head to Todos Santos.
Instead of Puerto Vallarta... head to San Pancho.
Instead of Cancun... head to Tulum.

Some thoughts on living inland...

All my life, I've been around water. In fact some of the best times I've ever had has been at the beach.


Get out the snorkeling gear. I feel a seacation coming on!

Always plan so that you have something to look forward to.


Chitown: Summer In The City

Make me an artist...

That's a tall order even for local Mixed Media expert Jane Dill who tried to teach me and three other would be artists that it's all about how you see it...or is it how others see it?

Stay tuned for a post next week.

Still perfecting my mole recipe...

Almost there is something many chef's have said for years before they ever "get it right."

Just ask Rick Bayless. His Oaxacan black mole, a dish of extreme dimension and mastery, took him 20 years to perfect.

Madison Half Marathon...

Whimsical drawing by friend and running partner Bonnie Urban as the two of us crossed the finish line at the Madison Half Marathon.

After all, running is a necessity when you love eating as much as we do.

Remember, our hearts still belong to more than just our significant other... courtesy of Reddit.

Welcome Twitter friend Stephen Zwick of the LA Examiner. Follow all of his posts at LA_Chefs.
Fiorella’s New Orleans
1136 Decatur St in New Orleans
Southern Fried Chicken

Eat here. Diet at home!

Welcome "home" food blogger Don Day and super-chef/wife Sharon! 
Hungry for a good meal.

Buen Apetito and Good Eating San Miguel!