Sunday, May 28, 2017

San Miguel de Allende: The Best Food - On and Off the Street

The first thing to forget about when you come to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is counting calories. There are so many great restaurants in town, it’s hard to decide where to eat next.

One of the choices that’s often overlooked, or dismissed, is eating on the street. Mexico has one of the best street food cultures in all of Latin America and San Miguel is no exception.

One thing is certain: you meet the most interesting people when you eat on the street. A food or language lesson is often had for the price of a couple tacos. I’ve learned more about Mexican food and culture from the people I’ve met on the street; how diverse it is and how little I knew about street food until I started eating it.

It’s been almost 50 years since I had my first bite of Mexico – daily Queso Fundido from a tiny, outdoor restaurant near the University of Guadalajara. In fact, I had been craving it for many years until I found what tasted like an exact version of it last year at El Tizoncito in Condesa, Mexico City. It was the ultimate street food experience for me; waiting all these years for the same flavors to hit my mouth again. Making your own quesadillas from a bubbling pizza tin of Queso Fundido, together with a basket of hand-made tortillas, salsa verde and a shaker of salt to me is a natural restaurant to street transition.   

I didn’t grow up in Mexico but street food is in my DNA. It’s no secret that, like most Mexicans, I love to eat and more and more street food options have become available - some of them in the restaurants. Street food has had an impact on restaurant menus all over town and some of the best chefs are keeping it interesting and creative as they move street food indoors.

Last year, Chef Marco Cruz of Nomada Cocina de Interpretacion took his staff to Northern Baja - Ensenada and Tijuana - to broaden their knowledge of Mexican street food. He even cooked with the renowned Queen of the Cart, Sabina Bandera, at La Guerrerense in Ensenada. When he came back to SMA, he created a street food tasting menu at Nomada Cocina de Interpretacion that he constructs every Monday night. Although that trip was inspiration, his primary influence came from his street food of choice: his mother and grandmother's cooking.
 
Chef Michael Coon, who owns Casa de Cocinas and cooks street food from all over the world at his tasting dinners in SMA, recently said that many of his best meals have been street side. The grilled fish in Laos, the high-fire hawker stands in Thailand and Cambodia all the while eating on the crowded streets and eating fish in Kerala, India on the beach, barefoot in the sand, have all influenced his cooking. “Street eats are the ultimate delight,” he says.
Chef Alan Carias of the beautiful, new rooftop restaurant Trazo 1810, inside Casa 1810, says “Street food is the heart of gastronomy around the world as it feeds more than half the world’s population. We’ve adapted many of these simple but delicious recipes to the menu at Trazo 1810. The Pita and Lamb is a good example: we added an Arabic marinate to the lamb and the chili sauce is taken from the Mexican influence of tacos.

Chefs have also adapted the street food they remember as children…

Chef Alexandra Gutt of La Parada use to love to eat anticuchos (beef heart skewers) and picarones (similar to buñuelos, a type of doughnut with the principal ingredients being squash and sweet potato) for dessert on the streets of Peru. “Now you see a lot of this same food – the street food of the people – being sold in fancy restaurants”, she says. “I’ve adapted some street food to our menu in order to remember my childhood, like the chicken livers, the sandwiches and a lot of the specials.”

When Chef Donnie Masterton was a kid, his aunts and uncles use to take him to different taco stands in the seedy parts of downtown LA or Hollywood. “I didn't know we were eating "street food" and I can say for certain that no one was calling it street food back then. Those late night tacos trips stayed with me and because of them, I became a more adventurous eater. I’ve always been an avid lover of food prepared on the street - from a cart, a folding table or off the back of a pickup truck.” 

Chef Masterton recently traveled to Morocco on a research mission for their soon to open Mediterranean restaurant, Fatima. He says of the night market in Marrakesh, one of the largest street food markets in the world “It was complete sensory over load; I could have spent the next year there trying all the different food stalls. From that one visit, it changed the direction of Fatima from a fine dining experience to a more informal and casual way of dining.” They are currently building a custom tagine stove for Fatima and brought back different spices to formulate their own blends. “We’re trying to create food as authentic as we tasted it on that trip to Marrakesh.”
So, get ready to eat and check out the information in red on the three great food festivals coming your way in SMA this summer.
 
If you need a reason to get out of bed early, let it at least be for food or if you stay out late to savor that last taste of fiesta, follow it up with a taco fix before you head home to bed.  

And don’t forget to savor the sunrise; in San Miguel de Allende, it’s almost as delicious as the street food.
 
Buen Provecho!
 
Andy’s Tacos
Corner of Insurgentes and Hidalgo
After 7:30 PM until sunrise

For a transcendental taco experience, Andy’s is the real deal. When the lines are five deep, you know you’ve found the best taco on the streets of San Miguel. Written up in the Wall Street Journal, his savory al pastor is legendary; pork marinated in dried chilies, spices and pineapple, then slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie, fried, sliced and covered with a spicy, red chipotle salsa. Always a favorite of partygoers looking for the after-hours feast, some of our favorite regulars are kids – one who whispered to me just last night that it was her favorite excuse to stay out late. Mine, too!

Bautista Brothers Carnitas
Guadiana #2
7 AM until they run out

In a torta, piled on a plate or in a handmade tortilla, Carnitas - made by simmering pork in lard until tender - is at the top of our list of favorite street eats in SMA. You’ll find Bautista Brother’s pop-up stalls all over the city, including several at the Tuesday market.

Bautsita Brothers at Guadiana #2 is an institution. It’s the original location where everything is made for the entire Bautista Brother’s operation. Give up looking for another place to eat carnitas; we think the flavor can’t be matched by any other restaurant in town.

El Conejito
Pass Fabrica Aurora on the right and then take the first left. It’s halfway down the street on the right.
8 AM – 2 PM

The weekends can’t come soon enough. The Arteaga Navarro family runs this popular red and green tent, opening every Saturday and Sunday at 8 AM. You’ll see women from the neighborhood carrying large buckets filled with menudo to bring home for their afternoon comida.

If options are what you're looking for, look no further; El Conejito serves Consome, Beef Menudo and Lamb Barbacoa, and also offers a selection of tacos and gringas filled with Barbacoa, Montalayo (the stomach of a lamb that’s filled with chopped organs, chiles, herbs and spices), Costilla de Res (Beef Short Rib), al Pastor, Alambre (grilled beef topped with chopped bacon, bell peppers, onions, cheese, salsa and avocado) and Quesadillas.

There’s never any reason to go home hungry with all these choices - we never do.

El Tucan
Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias 56
9 AM – 4 PM

Hole-in-the-wall doesn’t even begin to describe SMA’s favorite cheap eat. It’s a small restaurant but the interior makes us feel like we’re eating on the street whenever we go there.

We love the Flautas de Pollo - rolled tacos stuffed with chicken and topped with a large salad of healthy vegetables. The eating experience will make you forget they were cooked in a pan of oil to begin with. The owner, Alex, cooked in Chicago for years and speaks textbook English. Come hungry - there are five in an order but you can get two or three if you’re not that hungry. It’s one of the best meal deals in town at 45 pesos.

Mario’s Taco Stand
17A Cinco de Mayo
10 AM – 1:00 PM

Cuban born Mario must be doing something right; he’s operated this little stand for over a year now. Try the tasty Tacos de Res with pickled vegetables. He also makes tacos from head and tongue and has a variety of sausages to spice up your morning. Mario’s got a large following on Cinco de Mayo so get there early. No seats at this cart but who cares if you have to stand when the food’s this inexpensive and good. The only thing needed here is salt.  

Rodriquez II
Calzada de la Estacion #52
8 AM – 1 PM

Part of the large and delightful family Rodriquez, son Victor has been operating this tiny store front for a year. Even at 11:00 AM on a weekday, this place was packed. Victor slow-cooks the meat until it is fall-off-the-bone tender. It’s seasoned and infused with flavors; the broth made with the drippings from the roasted meat. Order a half a cup of broth (Caldo) and toss in a side of barbacoa. Pile on the chopped onions, cilantro and squeeze in a lime or two. Talk about the perfect breakfast! You’ll find the rest of the Rodriquez family serving up our favorite brand of barbacoa at their stand in the Tuesday market. To locate it in the far tent, just follow your nose.

Tacos Don Santos
Clavel 8 off Refugio Sur
6:30 PM – they run out

All you really need after a Happy Hour of partying is an order of Don Santos Tacos. Their Tacos de Costilla are renowned but it’s the Tacos de Res that are the chef’s little secret. Thin strips of beef are cooked with cow intestines and chorizo, chopped and placed on in a tortilla then heaped with a mound of onions, cilantro and some of their delicious, peppery salsas that add an additional layer of flavor to this dish. Try the tasty red salsa which is especially popular, made with tomatillos and cascabel chilies.

Located in an unmarked, cobblestone alley, Don Santos earns its praises by serving genuine Mexican street food; some of the very best in SMA.

Tacos Mesones
Corner of San Francisco and the Jardin
7:30 PM – they run out

Location, location, location! It’s no wonder they do an enormous business in the Jardin after dark. You’ll get another version of al pastor and you don’t even have to ask for the pineapple and fried onions.

I like it crispy and if you do too, ask for it "bien dorados". Add just a splash of salsa unless you love the burn. Tacos Mesones also has another cart that operates nightly on the top of Mesones.

Some say you either like Andy’s or Tacos Mesones. You be the judge!

Tamales La Chapis
Insurgentes by Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri in front of the fountain
7 AM until they are out

The Tamale Verde con Carne de Puerco - finally, a tamale with masa that not dried out, flavorless and uninspiring. Street cooks Maria de la Luz Tovar Hernandez and Educardo Alonzo Zarate Cruz make these fiery husks laced with spicy, green chilies. A limited menu of five other varieties will also tempt you. Enjoy your breakfast on the nearby plaza and watch the sun come up. An experience that’s pretty darn hard to beat for the price. They also have a stand inside the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez. 

I never really loved tamales before until I had Tamales La Chapis.


Taqueria Brasilia
Salida a Celaya 20A
7 PM – 12:30 AM Closed Sunday


Anther order of al Pastor? Por Que No? I always swear I’m going to eat something different but every time, I order the iconic Tacos al Pastor. If you like them thinly sliced, the kind you find in Mexico City, you'll love this indoor-outdoor spot on Samida a Celaya. We’re also addicted to their version of baked potatoes, stuffed with porky bits of al pastor; an overload you’ll savor to the very last bite.


Taqueria Gonzalez
133F Calzada de la Estacion
6 PM – 3 AM

One of San Miguel’s best-kept secrets, this stand, located down from the bus station, has some of the best Tacos al Pastor in San Miguel. With a combination of sweet, sour, and smoky flavors, this marinated pork is slow cooked on a vertical rotisserie and not picked off until it is close to perfect; perfect, in my Taco bible, is caramelized and slightly crunchy. Top it with the colorful orange chimichurri sauce made with vinegar, oil, garlic and Chili de Arbol and you’ll savor that flavors that al pastor enthusiasts are devoted to.

It’s Mexican street cooking as it should be: fast, cheap and fabulous. Count your blessings…and your change.

Street Specialties…
Caldo@ Andy's Tacos
Corner of Hidalgo and Insurgentes
7:30 PM – 4 AM

Now I have two good reasons to go to SMA’s most celebrated street food cart - the other being Caldo, made with the scraps, bones and drippings of the meat. Without exception, everyone who has tried this caldo loves it. And yes, it’s as flavorful and intense as it looks.
Not limited to cold weather consumption, I see people drinking it in the dead of the summer heat.
Gorditas de Migajas@Bautista Brothers Carnitas
Guadiana #2
7 AM – they run out

Migajas are what’s left in the bottom of the pan after cooking carnitas and they are one of the most flavorful things to eat on the streets of SMA. The crumbs are tucked into a pocket of masa and hand-formed into a neatly-stuffed gordita.

It’s also fun to watch them being pulled off the hot comal without even burning a finger; you’ll understand that this is a skill that takes plenty of practice to master.

I can put myself into a Migajas-induced coma without any effort at all but they are so rich, you’ll probably want to order just one.

Mio Bistrock SMA
Julian Carrillo 7
2:00 PM - 9:30 PM - Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Lorelai Cordova, sister of Maye Cordova and Aunt of Jimena Tamayo Cordova, who own Garambullo Fonda Gourmet, opened this delightful food truck in Colonia Guadalupe in a colorful, little lot that's full of local charm and adorable, mismatched furniture.


Lorelai, who cooked in Acapulco, Cuernavaca and Italy, specializes in Mediterranean food and has a large variety of seafood on the menu. We delight in everything she cooks, especially the lamb burger.

Mixiotes @ El Pato Barbacoa y Mixiotes
Calzada de la Estacion 175
8 AM – 2:30 PM Closed Tuesday

El Pato is on the rise... now #18 on Trip Advisor.

The next best thing to your mother's pot roast, Mixiotes is a traditional, pit-barbecued meat dish made of lamb that’s cut with the bone and seasoned with pasilla, guajillo and spices. It's then wrapped in small bundles and cooked in the ground overnight. At this thatched-roof palapa at the end of Canal Street, this restaurant would have a line around the block every day if it were located in Centro. Take a doggy bag; it's even better the next day for breakfast. Without a doubt, it’s one of our favorite experiences for street food in SMA.

In a category all their own…

Tacos Don Felix
Fray Juan de San Miguel 15, St. San Rafael
Friday - Saturday 5:00 - 11:00 PM/ Sunday 2:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Don Felix and his wife Gloria began cooking at the street cart they opened just three blocks from their house in Colonia San Rafael in 2005…and the rest is history. After two years, it became so popular, they transformed the first floor of their house into a restaurant.
If anyone wants to know how to do a start up cart on the streets of SMA, just ask Don Felix; he’s the expert. Undoubtedly the King and Queen of great Mexican food in SMA, they also serve over 500 meals a day to local high school students.
 
I wish I would have been here in 2005 to witness this slice of culinary history – street chandelier and all - but people who were here still talk about the cart with so much reverence; so much so that we don’t think there will be anyone more respected than Don Felix and his wife Gloria, who we affectionately call the best loved Chef in SMA… because she is.

Take it to the street!...
We’ve eaten plenty of dishes in restaurants over the course of the past year, many that would hit the mark of a perfect street eat.

Baja Fish Taquito
Calle Mesones # 11-B
11:30 AM – 8:00 PM

At Mesones 11-B, Baja Fish Taquito has been serving up cóctels, tacos and tostadas using fresh seafood from Baja. What better late night street food celebration than a Cóctel de Camarónes: a shrimp cocktail served in a lime-and ketchup-based sauce. Take a shot or two of mescal to wash it all down. Street food just can’t get any easier than this dish.


Berlin
Umaran #19
5 PM – 1 AM Closed Sunday

We’re crazy about Berlin’s fish tacos; made with catfish, lightly breaded and served with a side of chipotle mayo. These tacos live up to all the hype of honest to goodness street food.

Cold fish instead of Cheerios? You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the leftovers for breakfast.

Birdies Burgers
Doce 18 at Relox 18
10 AM – 10 PM

I rarely see 4 AM but I might stay up for Birdie’s Burgers, one of SMA's top food addictions.

French fries with a double dose of Cheddar cheese, crema, bacon and green onions paired with a mini-slider of Canada de Virgin beef with American cheese, griddled onions, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and secret sauce, all on a sesame seed bun, and you’ve just found the holy grail of street food.
Broaster Chicken
Calzada de la Aurora #1A
Opens 11AM

You can feel the fried chicken love at Broaster, where the batter and the cooking method (pressure frying) makes these birds fry up exceptionally crisp. Now, create a sauce - let’s say pineapple habanero or spicy chipotle- and you’re ready to do an all night food crawl through the streets of Guadalupe. Don’t miss the murals and who doesn’t love cold chicken for breakfast?

La Crepe du Chef
Insurgentes 120
10 AM – 1 PM and 6 PM – 9 PM Closed Monday

We love it; portable, French, fast food to go. Try the delicious cajeta crepes but careful; they’ll become a habit that’s seriously hard to break. We know, we’re speaking from experience.

They’re a sure fire way to sweeten up your day and I'll admit, sometimes mine needs a little sweetening. This might just call for a second helping.

Delica Mitsu San Miguel de Allende
Calzada de Luz #49, Guadalupe
12 Noon – 4PM

There’s ramen on the streets of Japan so why not a noodle salad in Mexico? We could even commission artist Marti McGinnis to design a HappyArt cup for it to be served in; you know, the kind with all the whimsical animals on it.

We’ll even serve it with a side of Sake. Did I hear you just yell Kanpai? 

Dona Bola
Corner of Calle Calzada de La Luz and Calle Amado Nervo
Sunday 7 AM – 2 PM

This restaurant is practically an outdoor experience anyway so why not bring it on the street? With 50 kilos of tripe, Doña Bola's starts the cooking process every Thursday morning with both tripe and pork trotters (pigs’ feet). You wouldn't find this one in the guidebooks; it's all word of mouth and totally worth the Sunday morning cultural experience.

El Tucan
Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias 56
9 AM – 4:00 PM

Crispy skin with a few bites of tender, flavorful meat on the bone; some of the best street food we’ve had everywhere so why not in SMA. Try some of Alex’s appetizing salsas: the honey, morita pepper and chili de arbol sauce, the smoked pineapple and halapeno peppers or the X-Salsa: chili de arbol, chili jalepeno and tomatillos. In addition to fried, he can probably do a smoke-roasting technique that guarantees a crispy skin. 

Truthfully, we just like the crispy skin.

Genesis
Relox 34B
Saturday 9 AM – 7 PM  Sunday 10 AM – 3 PM Monday – Friday 9 AM – 8PM

Genesis always select the best fruit and squeezes it right in front of you; reasons enough for it to be our favorite go-to spot for juice and ideal for the streets of SMA. I don’t even mind drinking it at room temperature when it’s this fresh.

Huarache Rancheros
El Huarache Veloz, San Juan de Dios Market

Since 1986, this stand in the Mercado San Juan de Dios makes huaraches on-the-spot; an oblong, masa base that’s dressed with selected toppings such as salsa, potatoes, onions, or meat then covered with a load of ranchero cheese. You’ll also find another one of their popular stands in the Tuesday Market.

La Azotea
Umaran #6
3 PM – 10:30 PM

From what could be their already famous version of upscale street - the Jicama Taco - to their latest with chicken and coconut, we think many things on the menu at La Azotea can easily be transported to the street of SMA. And talk about a great location; they’re just a stones-throw from the Jardin.

We’ll guarantee this one to be the most delicious bang for your buck. It is now at just 50 pesos.

La Pozoleria
Calzada de la Luz #51
12 Noon – 9 PM

Red or green, pork or chicken - when you find a to-die-for pozole spot, you’ve found the ultimate culinary treasure.

Our favorite stand, Pozoleria y Antojitos La Guera, Calle Mario Talavera #1 in Col. Guadalupe, recently closed and we’re pleading for them to open another location. Now just try convincing all the people who love La Pozoleria down the street.

OK, we’ll admit, it’s open… and it’s our second choice.

La Sirena Gorda
Hernandez Macias #85
1 PM – 12 PM except Sunday closes at 8 PM

Sirena Gorda means the Fat Mermaid and it’s a spinoff of the original restaurant on Barranca, which has been in San Miguel since 1920.

We like the Torta Ahogada de Chamorro (Pork Hock Torta) that’s stuffed with pork, avocado and red onions and smothered in a sweet sauce of tomatoes and chili peppers. Take the sauce on the side and this would be a classic version of street food for a quick, take-away lunch.

Mercado Rural
Colonia Guadalupe

We love this market so much because everything about it feels authentic and everything that’s made to eat here is street food anyway so this one was a no-brainer. 

 
Mercado SANO
Ancha de San Antonio #123
8 AM – 8 PM

There are plenty of food items in Mercado Sano that could easily be brought out to the streets; like homemade tortillas from Tuna Maria and our favorite Pasta Carbonara at Spaghetteria La Cucina di Afrodita. I love this velvety pasta so much, I would even forgo silverware. If you want a truly sensual connection with your street food, this is it! 

Panaderia La Buena Vida
Hernandez Macias 72 Int. 5
8 AM - 5 PM Daily except Sunday 9 AM - 3 PM

These tasty, Mexican Empanadas are splendid for the street, especially when filled with ham and cheese (jamon con queso). In fact, we can recommend the entire list La Buena Vida makes; we’ve tried and love them all. Of course, we already know her enormous doughnuts can be downsized into perfect, portable bites. Fried-to-order are among our favorite street eats. We love them hot and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

And at what point does sheer pleasure turn into overindulgence? Just checking!

Raspados
Mercado San Juan de Dios

I looked, asked around for months and finally found a Raspados stand in Mercado San Juan de Dios. This business has no name but who needs one when you’ve got the market on cold, refreshing drinks on another hot day in May?

This stand was filled with kids. Kids know all the sweetest secrets, don’t they? Raspados are the Mexican version of a snow cone - cups of shaved-ice are covered with flavored syrups. Tamarind, Mango, and Lime are all great choices but we order the Pina, our favorite Mexican flavor. Ask for extra ice if you think the toppings are too strong for your taste. The ice is purified and the line was long with the temperatures topping over 90 degrees for the third week in a row. Enter from Indio Triste. It’s just a few stands over in the market. 

San Agustín Chocolates and Churros
San Francisco #21
Monday – Thursday 8 AM – 11 PM / Friday 8 AM – 12 PM / Saturday Sunday 9 AM – Saturday 12 PM and 11 PM Sunday

I’m not giving up sugar any time soon after tasting these; try one drizzled with sweet, warm cajeta. They’re on the street now anyway but we love the taste of San Agustín’s, especially when they’re sided with a cup of hot chocolate. It’s already a popular favorite with the kids - even the big ones - so why not bring these treats outside?

Besides, we know a few million people who want to meet Margarita.

Taco Lab
Doce 18 at Relox 18
10 AM – 10 PM

The best meal deal in Doce-18 would be ideal for the street. The crispy, three taco combination, is listed under appetizers; try the combination plate - one each of Pork Belly, Fish and Short Rib. And doesn’t Chef Donnie Masterton already have a taco cart?


Too Good to be True: The High End of Street Food…

B’ui – Cocina de Campo
The Pic Nic and Sabina Bandera
On the equestrian grounds at Otomi’s residential area outside of San Miguel de Allende. Km 2 Camino a San Miguel el Viejo, C.P. 37 700, San Miguel de Allende

Three of the best chefs in Mexico: Dante Ferrero, Javier Plascencia with his Sous Chef Pedro and Benito Molina, delighted us with their upscale version of street a few weeks back for the Big Pic Nic at B’ui cocina de campo in Otomi.

Last weekend, Sabina Bandera, Ensenada’s Queen of the Cart, made her famous tostadas de mariscos for the hungry crowds.

Watch for more weekend special events from Daniel Estebaranz this season at B’ui. We think the food is picture-perfect for the streets of SMA, even the streets in Otomi.
Casa de Cocinas
Colonia San Antonio

We recently got another taste of Michael Coon’s Okonomiyaki pancake. It’s made with cabbage and shallots and is topped with crispy pork belly, bonito flakes, Japanese mayo, bulldog sauce and toasted nori. This is just one of many “street food” delicacies that Michael has cooked at his tasting dinners at Casa de Cocinas. Bring on the Asian and those little noodle donuts he created and he’ll take over most of the streets in Colonia San Antonio.

Finally, great Asian food in SMA and I'm celebrating.
 
El Vergel Bistro and Market
El Vergel #17
9 AM – 6 PM except Friday and Saturday close 9 PM

Seriously, we can’t think of a single Mac and Cheese that’s as good as this Lyonnais Macaroni and Gruyere cheese with red wine braised oxtail. This recipe from Lyon, France is seared and braised for about 8 hours with wine, beef broth, vegetables and herbs. Mix in pasta, béchamel and a Mexican, gruyere style cheese from Quesart in Jalisco and you have a street food that needs to be sold by the bucketful.

And I’m first in line!

FATIMA
Coming Soon

Inside the stunningly beautiful Casablanca Hotel, Chef Donnie Masterton will open his new restaurant, FATIMA, along with Cafe Casablanca. The Mediterranean menu will follow the Moorish trail - Greece, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia and all the rest - incorporating the use of a custom built tagine stove, a deck oven for flat breads and pita, a wood burning grill and a rotisserie.

How’s this for street food: Masterton's Lamb Shawarma Tacos, a dish that everyone fell in love with at Sabores San Miguel last summer, will be on the menu. 

To get your fix of LAMB this summer, along with a lot of really excellent Mezcals, go to the 7th Annual Lamb and Mezcal Festival in San Miguel on June 10th at Casa de Aves. It’s the best deal for the price.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/festivaldelcorderoydelmezcal/ for information.

Jacinto 1930
Doce 18 at Relox 18
1 PM – 9 PM except Friday and Saturday close 10 PM

There’s absolutely nothing on the menu at Jacinto 1930 that we don’t love two times over like the Ceviche and the Chicharron Gorditas.

We can’t stop ordering them; reason enough to put them on the street, don’t you think?

La Canica
Pila Seca #2, Centro, San Miguel de Allende
1:30 PM – 10 PM except closed Tuesday and close Sunday 6 PM

My Hamburguesa Asiatico was served in a Hello Kitty lunch bucket. Too cute, totally portable and ideal for the streets of SMA. Now, if only we could convince Bricio. Plenty of other dishes on the menu that qualify as street food as well. Besides that, it’s already called street food so we don't have to change the sign. 

La Prada
Recreo #94
12 Noon – 10 PM except closed Tuesday and close Sunday 9 PM

Ceviches, sandwiches, and Chicken Livers – Chef Alexandra Gutt’s childhood street food remembrances would all be wildly popular on the street and since there aren’t good potatoes in SMA, Potatoes La Parada - fry them, smash them and fry them again – would also be another street snack that would be high on our priority list. And did I tell you that I still miss russet potatoes?


Marsala, cocina con acentos
Hernandez Macias #48
1 PM – 10 PM Closed Tuesday Brunch Sunday

Marcela’s Summer Rolls and Rib Eye Tacos are the epitome of street food and don’t forget the Caramel Pudding; we can’t get through a week without ordering it at least once. And how about her fresh made pitas?

OK - let’s just move the entire restaurant out onto Hernandez Macias and call for a Sobremesa.

Moxi at Hotel Matilda
Aldama 53, Centro, San Miguel de Allende
7 AM – 11 PM

Moxi has a five star menu and a reputation to match. Enrique Olvera is the culinary collaborator at Moxi and one of the best chefs in Mexico. Olvera’s shaped a menu of traditional Mexican dishes with a contemporary fix that are transformative but give him a simple dish, like French fries, and he will craft a masterpiece worth of a drool. This plate of truffled indulgence is smothered in a pile of parmesan cheese.
 
It would be great if they could put this street food cart in Juarez Park - I could run 16 laps before I eat them…them as in seven healthy servings; one for each day of the week.

You can taste far more than just French fries this summer at MAG: Market of Arts and Gastronomy featuring world-renowned Chefs and Artist, July 13-16, 2017.
 
MAG’s Marché will be a Sabores-like event in Parque Juárez featuring more than 120 booths with leading restaurants offering tastings of food, spirits, beers, wines and cheeses with an art tunnel, art performances and art exhibitors. The vendors will set their own prices and we’re told that they are going to be reasonable.
 
Nomada cocina de Interpretacion
Nemesio Diez 2
 
If I ran a street food tour of SMA, my first stop would be at one of the highest-rated restaurants in SMA for tremendous food: Nomada cocina de Interpretacion. Everything on their Monday night Street Food Tasting menu is in demand and if they ever decided to put it on a cart and push it up Nemesio Diez, I might even volunteer to do the pushing.
 
Delivering it to my front door however, would be an even better option.  
 
The Restaurat
Sollano 16
12 Noon – 10 PM except Thursday – Saturday close 11 PM. Closed Monday.
 
One of our favorite dinners is inspired by the best flavors of Asia; eggrolls and pot stickers are the ultimate street food. Throw in all their taco dishes and ribs and the street food lovers in SMA would be over the moon.
 
You might also get a little music thrown in with this one.
 
Trazo 1810
Hidalgo #8
8 AM – 11 PM
 
We would love to see Chef Alan Carias’s delicious Bread and Spread on a cart, along with his Pita, which has been traditional street food forever.
 
We would even make room for some of Chef Abi Verde’s desserts; afterall, I’m going to need a sweet ending to this and I know the perfect one: Almond crumble, lime zest, baby basil and mint jelly, meringue, lime mousse and natural goat yogurt ice cream.
 
You can put mine in a to-go-cup; make it extra large!
 

Other Cities in Mexico to Get Great Street Food:
Guanajuato: Guacamaya Sandwich@Hidalgo Market
 
Ok, I'll admit this sandwich was a lot easier to look at than it was to eat. This signature street food sandwich is made of pork skin, fresh avocado, and a super-spicy pico de gallo that is added to a special sauce made with chiles de arbol. 

It’s one of the unhealthiest sandwiches on the planet, but it’s also one of the best.
Mexico City: El Tizoncito@Condessa

If we could pick just one taco stand in this enormous city full of them, El Tizoncito would be it. Tacos al Pastor, thinly sliced and the best quesadilla this side of Guadalajara, we also love their Cheese Chicharron and just about everything else on the menu.

El Tizoncito claimed to have invented Tacos al Pastor. In my taco bible, they did!

Oaxaca: Taco de Salsa@Mercado de Abastos

Chef Rodolfo Castellanos, owner of Origen Restaurant and 2016 winner of Top Chef Mexico, introduced us to his favorite taco stand in the Mercado de Abastos.
I’ll put Dona Vale’s tacos up against any I’ve eaten in Mexico, anywhere. The tacos use only three ingredients: tortillas, salsa and queso and I’ll tell you, her secret is all in the sauce.
It’s one of the most simple and delicious tacos we’ve eaten in the world…and we’ve eaten a lot of them.
Puebla: Cemita@Cemitas Las Polentas, Mercado del Carmen

This is one of my favorite dishes in Mexico. I’ve had it at many other places in Puebla but none of them compared to this one made at Cemitas Las Polentas. You’ve got to see the operation just to appreciate how much labor and love goes into this sandwich. It’s gigantic but somehow I managed to eat the whole thing.

If you eat only one thing while you’re in Puebla, have this sandwich. I’ve sent so many people here to eat and they’ve all said it’s the best… so it must be the best!
Queretaro: Taco de Chamorro@Don Chamorro

Smother the best pork leg taco in Queretaro with onions, cilantro and pico de gallo and you’re in for a serious feast. Pair with a Mexican Coca-Cola that will bring on a welcomed sugar rush. If you take it to go, you’ll fight the urge to break into the package on your way home; an indulgence you’ll probably not want to share with anyone, including the driver.

Tabasco: Cocina Chontal and La Cevicheria
Chef Nelly Cordova Morillo of Cocina Chontal made an extraordinary dish last year at SMAFF called Horneado de Cerdo en Barro, a pork dish; typical Tabasco comfort and fiesta food, that challenged explanation. It was served on a plate called comal de barro ahumado that’s smoked in a Barro oven for months before using. The flavors of this dish were both surprising and complex.

Don’t you think this dish would be perfect on a stick? It’s one of the most captivating foods we’ve eaten in Mexico.

Chef Lupita Vidal Aguilar received the Excellence Award to the traditional culture of Mexico. Her restaurant, La Cevicheria, rescues, safeguards and showcases the culinary values of the state of Tabasco. This award was granted by the Conservatory of the Mexican Gastronomic Culture during the World Forum of Mexican Gastronomy in Mexico City. It's was the first time anyone in the state of Tabasco has ever received this award, much less a woman.
 
Both these remarkable female chefs will be back at SMAFF 2017, June 30th and July 1st and 2nd at Otomi.

To see the tremendous lineup of celebrity chefs, musicians and art, go to https://www.smafoodfestival.com/ for all the details.

We have a long history with SMAFF and this festival is just too delicious to miss.

See you at all three food festivals this summer!