Thursday, January 8, 2015

Eating Mexico on $10 a Day?

Since late October, about the time I left for the states, the peso has been on a downward slide. Blame it on falling oil prices, Mexico's political unrest and several other factors, but I got one of my favorite meals on Saturday night, Tacos Al Pastor at Andy's Tacos, for cheaper than I had a right to expect. In fact, it was such an inexpensive indulgence, I trekked up to the other taco stand on San Francisco for another round.
My total bill for the night? $2.02 USD.

When was the last time you had a good meal for $2.00? I can’t remember.

If you're wondering where to spend some of that extra cash as a result of the favorable exchange rate, you can always count on leaving these favorites with a full stomach and a little extra change in your pocket...just enough for that nightcap on your way home.

Buen Apetito!

Don Lupes Mexican Grill 

A dream carnivorous, at Pila Seca 34, Javier fires up the grill and produces some of the hardiest Mexican meals in San Miguel. Give the boys who lunch something to talk about because this dish, the Parrillada, proves once again that there is nothing like meat- in this case steak, chicken, and chorizo with a taste of shrimp- to get to a man's heart. $155 pesos but it's big enough for 2@ $5.17 USD each. You’ll have to sing for your supper so tune up and give us your best version of Big Boys Don't Cry. Extra points for treating him to lunch.

Andy's Tacos

Every evening at 7PM, there’s a long line at Andy's Taco in Centro. The mere aroma attracts aficionados who jockey for one of the few seats and a small plate of savory Tacos Al Pastor. The pork is marinated in dried chiles, spices and pineapple and is slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie then covered with a spicy, red chipotle salsa. Andy's is a favorite of partygoers looking for an after-hours feast and still intoxicated by the magic of the fiesta. Hidalgo and Insurgentes. 10 pesos each/$0.67.

Want to make a new friend? Buy a plate for the hungry traveler standing next to you. 

El Rinconcito

At Refugio Norte 7, owners Mercedes and Miguel serve everything fresh, made from scratch and with local ingredients. How's that for eating local? This small, front patio in their home makes it a family affair and trust me everyone gets in on the act. Grilled Arrachera surrounded by beans, rice and an avocado tomato salad was the perfect Sunday comida. Pair this spread with an ice cold Victoria and your best friend. The bonus? Armando Manzanero's Mia as the background music. You'll swear you've been transported back to the 60's. Hey, and with this rate of exchange you can afford to splurge on Sunday dinner. Arrachera $110 pesos/$7.40.

La Hamburguesería Ruta 111 

Want to draw a crowd at lightning speed? Just take one whiff of beef cooking on the grill. At Salida Celaya y Esquina 5 de Mayo, this place looks like a 50's diner with the prices to match. Opt for the Junior burger and fries at 40 pesos/$2.69. It's bigger than the average minor. The bacon is fresh cut and is the crown jewel on this beefy bite. Order a malt if you want the whole package. Don't forget to wear the pants with the elastic waistband. 

Bautista Brothers Pop Up

Next to the Corona plant on Salida a Celaya, this po- up surfaces every Sunday with a prayer and a little extra change. Carnitas should come with a warning label. What makes these porky bits so addictive is that they are simmered in lard until fork tender. You can eat a pile of these without an ounce of regret. Yep, I know how to do a cheat day. 38 Pesos/$2.55; Torta 26 Pesos/$1.74; Taco 9 Pesos/$0.61. 

Hanks New Orleans Cafe

It's not my Gumbo but hey, 1219 miles from New Orleans it's the closest thing you're going to get this side of the border. This Creole in a cup is fat with chicken, sausage and shrimp and just like New Orleans, it's a warm-up before you go dancing in the parade. 12 Hidalgo. 84 pesos/$5.70.

Tortitlán  

After devouring this crusty shell filled with fresh tomato, lettuce, avocado, onion and a heavy dose of oven roasted pork leg (the Torta de Pierna), you'll swear this sandwich shop, located halfway up the Ancha, puts out the best Torta in town. Drown in salsa verde, pile on the fire-roasted peppers and onions and you don't stand a chance. Sandwich lovers of San Miguel, take note: this is how you do a Torta. Ancha de San Antonio 43. 40 pesos with a drink/$2.69