Monday, October 28, 2019

30 MORE Reasons to Love San Miguel de Allende Right Now

A love letter to San Miguel de Allende…we could write a long one.

Where else can you open your front door and get the best view of fireworks every weekend or discover that the breakfast of champions is really masquerading as a torta stuffed with carnitas?

Just walk in Centro early evening and you’ll fall in love with SMA all over again.
Revelations are an everyday occurrence in SMA but don’t blink because chances are you’ll miss something, like this high wire act, captured by my friend Hal Schade. There are magical things going on every hour of every day; you just have to look for them.
Living your best life here is easy; a festive and colorful reality for anyone who embraces the culture and celebrates the many things that make SMA special. With Vinedos San Lucas, the Voladores de Papantl, amazing chefs, restaurants and guest chefs, classes and day trips, 101 Caras de SMA, french bakeries, affordable designers, Cerveceria Hechicera and Cava El Garambullo, SMA has many reasons to celebrate. In fact, there are so many under-the-radar reasons why people love SMA, we quit counting.
If the first 30 reasons we published back in July weren’t enough, here are 30 more.
Buen Provecho!
Vinedos San Lucas
Situated among the flourishing vineyards, olive groves and lavender fields, this property gets more beautiful as each wine season passes. The photographs of the grapes are from a month ago, when we visited San Lucas just before the harvest.
With abundant wines and spirits, lavender ice cream by Helados las Garcas, never-ending food, incredible international music and horse drawn carriage rides through the vineyards, this event was stunning expression of just how far this vineyard has come in organizing what we thought was SMA’s event of the year.
Vinedos San Lucas
Km 26 Carr. Querétaro -San Miguel de Allende, Pie de Gallo, Gto.
                                                             Photo: 101 Caras de San Miguel de Allende 
101 Caras de San Miguel de Allende
Two years in the making, one of SMA’s most beloved authors, Daniela Doig, celebrates the city by delivering a literary and artistic project about the people who give SMA its heart and soul. Many different sectors are represented including some of SMA’s best chefs. Erik Zavala Kugler is the extraordinary photographer of this book; well-known for his timeless black and white images.
The book will be presented at a ticketed event on November 13, 2019, at Plaza La Estacion in San Miguel de Allende.
Nómada Cocina de Interpretación
Celebrated chefs, Marco Cruz and Sofia Antillon, mark the third year anniversary of Nomada on November 3rd. These two chefs were on the ground floor of the emerging food scene in SMA three years ago; forever altering the profile of dining in SMA. This restaurant has been in our top three favorite restaurants in SMA since they opened.
Today, we ordered a Pork Tlayuda that was better than any we’ve had in Oaxaca and fabulous fish tacos. What we love about this restaurant is that they change their menu often. The Wednesday night tasting menu is renowned; one of the best deals in town, especially considering the quality of their food.

Like Pablo Nacacio before her, Marco personally trained Daniela in the kitchen and we’re hearing wonderful things about her food.

To rave reviews earlier this year, the chefs opened 3 Tonala, at Tonalá 171 in Roma Norte, Mexico City.     
Nómada Cocina de Interpretación
Hernandez Macías #88, Centro
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 Noon – 10:00 PM
Tuesday: 12:00 Noon – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Cava El Garambullo
If you thought you knew a lot about wine, think again. Natalia Lopez Mota studied Food Chemistry with a specialty in Sensory Analysis at UNAM. She continued with a Master of Science in Oenology,Viticulture and Terroir and studied in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. She is probably one of the most knowledgeable wine expert in SMA. Natalia and her Bosnian husband, Branko, who is also an oenologist, serve as the behind-the-scenes experts for many of the vineyards in SMA; few people know them directly. A Professor and Wine Consultant, she has visited more than 50 wine regions in the world and works as a consultant Oenology, Viticulture and pairing development in San Miguel de Allende for specialized programs with wine training professionals, sommeliers, chefs and wine enthusiasts.
Natalia and Branko started their own winery, Cava El Garambullo, located just up from El Vergel Bistro and Market using all natural fermentation. They produce 4,500 bottles a year.
I pictured this winery in black and white, much like a small vineyard in France, with color reserved for the food and vines. Their hours are Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 17:00 PM by Reservation only. Connect with Natalia on INSTAGRAM: @el_garambullo_cava or by email:
Cava El Garambullo’s orange wine is remarkable so we already see a pairing with Chef Marcela Bolano’s duck in our future. Stay tuned.
Cava El Garambullo
Hacienda La Romita Carretera SMA – Dolores Hidalgo 3.5 KM, 37700, SMA near El Vergel
Monday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Make reservations to visit by calling 55 256 36871

Chef Marcela Bolaño
Chef Marcela Bolaño is probably most famous for being a chef contestant on the television series, Top Chef Mexico – 2nd Season, but here in SMA, she’s renowned for bringing great, Mediterranean flavors to the table.

Chef Marcela Bolaño is a SMA treasure. She’s the chef who is fun, playful, caring, confident, curious, passionate and beautiful inside and out. Her partner and sidekick, Ximena de Leon Campomanes, is her balance; a modern day yin and yang. She’s highly sought after as a guest chef for food festivals and other culinary events. In November, she will be one of the chefs at Millesime in Mexico City.
Meet Marcela's new sous chef, Carolina Ramirez. Marsala, cocina con acentos celebrates its third anniversary on December 7th. Don’t miss the dinner; it’s one of the best celebrations of the year.
Marsala, cocina con acentos
Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias #48

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday Brunch: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Closed: Tuesday

Linnea Rufo Events
Private chef Linnea Rufo’s parties are legendary. Not only does she create delicious menus but she could write a book on the art of elegance and good taste. Her property is one of the most beautiful in town; she’s well-known for her long table dinners. We also love the fact that Chef Linnea Rufo celebrates her own love of SMA by flying the colors of Mexico over her magnificent property every day.
We recently learned that Chef Rufo is a highly accomplished Yacht Chef, having entertained on her 40’ sailboat in Connecticut where 300 miles of coastline hugs the shore of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Linnea was previously the Innkeeper, Owner and Executive Chef at The Bee and Thistle Inn in Old Lyme, CT. She has expertise in a wide-range of cuisines and has collaborated with chefs like Jacques Pepin and Dorie Greenspan. Her more than 30 years of comings and goings have been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, the Huffington Post and Zagat.
Now the Queen of SMA Style, this incredible breakfast tells her story. Who else would use homemade Chocolate Carrot Cake stuffed with cream cheese to make French toast? This was possibly the best French toast we’ve ever eaten.
One of the things we also love about this chef is that she has a wondrous sense of adventure; this trip we explored the underground tunnels at Cayote Flaco. Contact Linnea at

Year Round Celebrations
Recently, at one of the most remarkable events of the Alborada and the Celebration of San Miguel Archangel, Patron saint of San Miguel, this year we were totally mesmerized when we were photographing the Voladores de Papantl, not taking our eyes off them for a single moment. We often wondered what was going through their heads when they were anticipating the ritual and what crossed their minds as they threw themselves into the abyss with wide open arms in their chilling descent back to the ground. Now we know. Every picture tells a story; here is theirs.
The next celebration is Day of the Dead, our favorite holiday and the most colorful event in Mexico. Festivities begin the evening of October 31st and continue through November 2nd.  
Querencia + Pura Vida Kitchen + Q DeliChef Esmeralda Brinn Bolaños of Querencia leased the building across from Via Organica and will team up with her long time pal, Alicia Wilson Rivero, owner of Pura Vida Kitchen, to open a larger Querencia (long overdue), a deli with take-out foods and Alicia Wilson Rivero’s Pura Vida Kitchen Cooking School.
Via Organica has decided to focus on education, moving their operations to their ranch in the country.
Watch for a soft opening in November. The chefs will start out serving chicken soup to the neighborhood and since both chefs have a heart in their logo, it’s bound to be pure love for the community, especially the people of Colonia Guadalupe who always support their own. 
Querencia + Pura Vida Kitchen + Q Deli
Margarito Ledezma # 6A
Colonia Guadalupe, San Miguel de Allende
Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Q Deli: to be determined
Pura Vida Kitchen: to be determined
La Calaca
La Calaca, a 30 year old folk and ceremonial gallery can be properly classified as a museum. Every time we go in to see the owner, Evita Avery, she gives us another history lesson on Mexican folk art. The gallery sells antiques and folk art; contemporary pieces made by the Grand Masters of Mexican Folk Art that come from village and cultural traditions in every type of material. The antique pieces include retablos, ex-votos, saints, nichos with carved images or religious prints, cofrade pieces, masks, old pottery, papier mache molds, textiles and Carnival rifles.
Our favorite shop in SMA? How did you guess?

La Calaca
Mesones #93
Daily 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Closed Sunday

Ten Small Businesses
SMA is a city of small businesses where residents and visitors honor the contributions of entrepreneurs every day by buying local. Here are some of the small hotels, shops and services that  landed on our A list:
Where else can you come face-to-face with the time honored traditions of France; the ones you can smell, and taste? Bakeries were on our checklist when we moved here and SMA now boasts THREE French bakeries:  
Cakes and Pastries: Petit Four  celebrated their 20 year anniversary last year having survived the test of time. Everything created at Petit Four is handcrafted from the finest ingredients, baked in small quantities several times a day to ensure freshness and flavor.

The best Day-of-the-Dead bread is at Petit Four; made with the New Zealand butter they’ve used since the day they opened. We crave the cakes and pastries they create for special occasions including birthdays, weddings and Quinceañeras. Petit Four is at Mesones # 99-1
Bread: We’d call this a boulangerie but besides the fantastic bread, Marulier makes some of the best French pastries around. Chef Magda Elisa Pablos, the former chef at El Vergel Bistro and Market, now at Casa de los Leones Bed and Breakfast, buys Marulier’s Hogaza Pan Rustico to make French toast and Café Muro gets their rolls and pastries here. Sebastian, the owner, recently introduced us to some new breads, which included a heavily seeded baguette and the most amazing bagels we’ve ever eaten - try the parmesan. He makes them fresh every morning, pulling them out of the oven about 9:30 AM.
Marulier’s breads and pastries are also sold at La Sabina in Mercado Sano. Marulier is located at Plaza la Lucieruaga, Local 31.
Tarts: This tiny pâtisserie, Patrisserie Pasteleria Francesa, is located in a complex on Hernandez Macias and specializes in tarts and pastries. We devoured the lemon meringue the day we went, along with several, freshly made cookies. The meringue was delicious and not too sweet. The ownership group is from Mexico City. A super friendly Patrice Carre manages this tiny bakery with a communal table to take pastries, coffee and conversation throughout the day. The pastries are made with produce that is in-season so look for eye-catching, fresh tarts that will take you back to Paris. Patrisserie Pasteleria Francesa is at Hernandez Macias #43
The Brooklane: With a modern, New York style, the highlight of staying at this distinctive property, designed by American architect Harold Forster Van Dine, is the breakfast made by its Creative Director, Esteban Betancourt. Esteban was also one of the principal designers, creating much of the hotel’s furniture. With ten things on a rotating menu, we tried three of them: The Eggs Benedict with home cured salmon, French toast made with freshly baked brioche and their signature dish, Shakshouka with a poached egg. All of the dishes were outstanding. The good news is The Brooklane is open to the public for breakfast, by reservation only Thursday – Sunday from 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon. Make a reservation by calling at 415-121-0255 or emailing them at Many of the extras offered at this property make it a delicious bargain. The Brooklane is at Callejon De Volanteros #7.

Hotel Petra: We love this picturesque, new hotel property where Chef Antonio de Livier’s Birrieria Jonacho is the anchor restaurant.

What makes this place an exceptional bargain is the price ( just $1,200 pesos weekdays and $1,500 pesos on the weekends) especially considering the location across the street from Marsala’s restaurant on Hernandez Macias.
The property was recently renovated and has a beautiful courtyard and terrace. Hotel Petra is at Hernandez Macias #47.
Street food is a journey into the center of a city’s culture. Need a few reasons to get up early or chow down late after an all-night fiesta involving a bottle of tequila? Here are the top three, quality street food spots in the city. And here’s to making it home by sunrise if you happen to close down Andy’s.
El Pato
Calzada de la Estacion 112
Bautista Brothers Carnitas
Guadiana #2
Carnita Torta and Gorditas de Migajas
Andy’s Tacos
Insurgentes and Hidalgo
Tacos al Pastor
Leter Shop Studio + Café: What makes this shop so special besides the coffee is that the owner, Cristina Ramirez, also makes high quality T-Shirts, coffee cups, coasters, luggage tags and other customized items at extremely reasonable prices. What sets her apart is that the items are different from many of the other items you see in town. Cristina Ramirez is an artist; she’ll create just about anything for the asking including a T-Shirt printed with MEXICANA across the chest to celebrate your Mexican residency. $200 pesos. The Leter Shop Studio + Café is located at Salida Real a Queretaro #98.
El Jonuco Electrico: We had a recent disaster and broke a necklace that's a very important part of a photo shoot. We went to three, different jewelers in SMA and all of them told us the necklace couldn't be fixed.

Out of total frustration, we went to see Juan in his electrical and hardware store on Juarez. After explaining the situation, he looked at us and smiled… Nothing that a little strip of light leather and a bottle of brush on Kola Loka couldn't fix. Juan is a genius, always surprising us with his myriad of skills. El Jonuco Electrico is at Juarez #23.
Ruby Joy’s
So how does this sound when you’re too lazy to cook? A restaurant that delivers really good, healthy food at a reasonable price using locally grown, organic, sustainably farmed, high quality, responsibly raised and hormone free products. Ruby Joy is the only delivery restaurant in SMA, making any of her dishes Gluten-Free, Vegan, or Vegetarian. Ruby Joy’s also does full catering with a wide variety of services, cuisines and cocktails. They can accommodate up to 130 people at their event site for weddings and other celebrations. The best thing is that everything on the menu is under $190 pesos; the charge for delivery is just $40 pesos. The portions are huge; with many dishes, you’ll have leftovers for another meal.
Ruby Joy has a theme delivery every month. The past two month it was Thai, then Indian, which prompted us to try it in the first place. This month they did a pumpkin carving party October 27th at their place with live music from Gypsy Cowgirl, autumn food and beverages and pumpkin contests. Watch for her specials and events on her Facebook page - Ruby Joy's Delivery Only Restaurant.
The only problem we had was waiting in line behind these starving customers, Ruby Joy’s dogs - four of the 80 dogs she’s rescued since she came to SMA. Just another reason why we love Ruby Joy.
Ruby Joy’s Delivery Only Restaurant
Ruby Joy’s Catering
Phone: 415-690-782
Monday – Friday 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM

Ram Ramirez and Eduardo Perez Calvo worked together at La Azotea and were the team to beat when it came to customer service. Ram has joined the team at Rustica, fast becoming one of the best restaurants in SMA; not only for its great tasting, healthy food but also its drinks.vI had three new ones this past week; all of them fabulous.
We also LOVE their organic desserts, made by Denise Rosenfeld. Her peanut butter cookies are to die for; the best in SMA. Also try the Beet smoothie. We crave it every day and we don’t even like beets.
Salida a Celaya #34
Wednesday – Monday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday: Closed
Trazo 1810
We are constantly amazed at how the quality of seafood in inland Mexico improves, especially at Trazo 1810. General Manager, Alonso Barragan, is from the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo area of Mexico and grew up with good seafood. They are so conscious about the quality of the fish, they are currently evaluating two programs, the La Buena Pesca out of Veracruz and Pesca con Futuro out of Baja, as an option to meet their goal of promoting sustainability of marine life in Mexico.

Trazo also has a high level of commitment to its customers and after three years, 70% of the clients are local. It’s going through a renovation, investing in new furniture and uniforms for the staff. New bar menus reflect their commitment to a healthier product. All the syrups are now made with fruit sugar; a natural rather than refined sugar. With a new menu every six months starting in November, they’ll kick off International this week. Live music will bring in Friday and Saturday nights from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM. La Cava, the wine cellar downstairs was recently refurnished and will do wine tastings twice a month. It’s open Friday – Sunday nights from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM.
We had Thanksgiving there last year and it was both delicious and affordable. The 2019 Thanksgiving menu should be coming out shortly with a few new surprises from Chef Paco Gonzalez, much like the lunch we had with the most amazing, fresh scallops, not to mention the lemon filled dessert.
Trazo 1810
Hidalgo 8, Centro, 37700 in Casa 1810
Phone: 415 121 3501
Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM Daily
SMA Designers
One of the elements of fashion in SMA are the gorgeous designs created by SMA fashion designers Jose Yanez, Claudia Bo and Laura Reyes. I have some originals in my wardrobe; owning a few classics from each designer. Their creative designs rival much of what you’ll find in Mexico City. A key factor - all three of these designers are very reasonably priced.
Jose Yanez:
Jose Yanez Designs
Phone: 415 170 0946
Fashion Photo: Colin J Dunn
Fashion Model: Vanessa Romero
Photo Jose Yanez: Susan Knight York
Claudia Bo:
Claudia Bo Designs
Insurgentes #118, Centro
Phone: 415 109 3868
Fashion Photo: Del Sol Photography
Photo Claudia Bo: Susan Knight York

Laura Reyes:
Laura Reyes Art and Fashion Showroom
Recreo 50-A (next to the bullring)
Daily 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
Phone: 415-101-7481
Photo Laura Reyes: Susan Knight York
Fashion Photo: Al Rabi Arredondo 


If food is spiritual, Bovine is the place to go for the divine experience.

I popped in for lunch in advance of the 2nd Anniversary party for one thing: I hadn't eaten a good steak in such a long time and I couldn't wait to go back to the states to have one. The steak - a Bavette: a flank steak with a French Béarnaise sauce and Bovine's famous French fried potatoes. I never eat steak with a sauce but this was an exception; Béarnaise and steak is the ultimate match. Don’t forget that for anyone who can’t live without French onion soup, Bovine’s is our soup of choice. Without a doubt, it’s the best soup in SMA, along with the peach and tomato salad. Two and a half hours in, I finally took my last bite, passing on one of my favorite desserts, Lemon Pie.
Celebrate new chef, Gerardo Contreras Michel, who worked at Paul Bentley's Mi Amor Hotel in Tulum before coming to SMA. His food is unforgettable.
Canal 16, Zona Centro
Tuesday: 7:00 PM –11:00 PM
Wednesday – Sunday: 1:00 PM –11:00 PM
Monday: Closed


Oktoberfest SMA
We ushered in the fall with Oktoberfest SMA, where beer was freely flowing, great food was on the BBQ and plenty of friends and family were in the mix.
We were the judge this year, naming Chef Armando Prats the winner with his whole pig roasted over an open fire on yet another, handmade grill. The sauce was Meerrettichsahne: a fresh horseradish cream with applesauce. The pig was bathed in a brine made of apple vinegar red wine, piloncillo, salt, bay leaf, onion, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme and tarragon. Chef Prats and his team started roasting the pig at 5:00 AM.

It was a back-to-back win for Chef Prats; Chef Marcela Bolano also chose him as the winner last year. We adore this talented chef, having cooked for Ambassadors, Prime Ministers, Presidents and celebrities. He owns Banquetes with clients all over the world and is also the President of the Association of Chefs of San Miguel de Allende. 

The Bar at the R
It’s no secret that the Bar at the R reminds us of a place we use to hang out at in the 70’s. We love The Bar at the R for its long list of appetizers; perfect for sharing with friends. Many of the bites are Asian; something you don’t find everyday in SMA. Just name anything off the menu and we’ve tried it. What’s our favorite dish? Can’t help you there; we like them all.
Look for renowned DJ’s on the late night track. This is one of our favorite bars in the city.
The Bar at The R 
Sollano #16
Hours: Opens at 6:00 PM
Closed Monday
Our favorite hearty and savory fall food is a shank, here in Mexico called Chamorro, that’s been mastered by a number of SMA’s best restaurants.

We give all of them a high rating so don’t stop until you’ve tried them all. Above are La Dona's and La Unica's; both of them delicious.

La Dona
San Francisco #32, San Miguel de Allende
Monday - Wednesday 12:00 Noon - 10:00 PM
Thursday - Sunday 12:00 Noon - 11:30 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
La Unica
Diez de Sollano y Dávalos 14, C
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 1:00 PM–11:00 PM
Thursday, Friday 1:00PM–2:00 AM
Saturday 8AM–2AM
Sunday 8AM–11PM
Restaurant and Bar Margaret in Hotel Amparo  
Calle Mesones #3  
San Miguel de Allende, Gto
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Breakfast and coffee: Daily starting at 7:30 AM
Sunday Comida and Chicken Dinner: starting at 1:00 PM 

El Manantial
Barranca #78
Sunday, Monday  2:00 PM–10PM
Tuesday - Saturday 1:00 PM–12:00 AM
Berlin Bar and Bistro
Umaran #19
Monday – Saturday: 5:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight
Lizette Angel is the owner of Tres Angeles, a furniture rental and flower center and Charlie’s Sweets, a sweet, breads and cakes business where they also set up dessert tables and decorations for events. We’ve known Lizette for six years and she’s a perfectionist; everything on her watch is never less than perfect so when she took over her uncle’s restaurant, Lolita, when he retired this year, we weren’t at all surprised… or disappointed. She’s a natural after helping run major events at her husband, Daniel Estebaranz, restaurant, Bui Cocina de Campo. 

Our favorite time at Lolita is breakfast - eggs with a large pile of bacon. With 2 for 1 Margaritas and Mojitos during the week, free refills on Cafe Americano, special Tortilla breakfasts and Menudo from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday, organic Coatepec coffee from Veracruz,  great Pozole on the dinner menu and 90% of the bakery done in house, Lizette Angel and Chef Fernando Guarneros aim to please. We’re going back for the cheese stuffed deep fried olives. Not sure how they’ll taste in a Martini but we’re making bets they’re going to be our new standard.
Restaurante Lolita
Salida a Celaya #52
Daily 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM except Sunday closes at 8:00 PM

The Photographic Gallery
One of the first photographers we met in SMA was Jo Brenzo, owner of the Photographic Gallery. The gallery holds meet ups every Saturday for local and visiting photographers. A resource center for photographers, it has first-rate classes, workshops, exhibits and meetings.
If you want to improve your eye, sign up for private classes or better yet, gain a wealth of knowledge by spending a week with Jo on one of her photo tours. Limited space is available for: Cuba, November 16-26 (SOLD OUT); Oaxaca, December 18-27; Chiapas, January 10-19, 2020 and Argentina, March 12-25, 2020.
She taught a Street Photography class back in October here in SMA. Due to its popularity, she’ll repeat the class next year.
The Photographic Gallery
Mesones #57, Centro, San Miguel de Allende
Monday – Wednesday: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Thursday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM/ 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Chef Gabriela Landin is the 28 year old, Mexico City born chef at Ka’ban, a new restaurant in SMA. She previously worked in La Virgen de la Cueva in Guanajuato, Grupo Vidanta in Nuevo Vallarta, Agahta in Mazatlan and La Cusp in Real del Monte. The chef describes her cuisine as a tour of Mexico, much like her career. The food offerings are interesting and different, with the new menu still in the works. Pictured here with her staff are husband and Pastry Chef, Ariel Caballero, Sous Chef Mauricio López, Parrilla Joel Pool Dzib and dishwasher Uriel Godinez.
The General Manager of Ka’ban is Mike Espinosa, the former head Mixologist at Quince. He’s also runs the speakeasy, Xibalba.
Try Chef Gabriela Landin’s unique Burrata dish, made with a marmalade that gives it an exceptional flavor and also the wide bean soup; a family recipe that recently brought a famous chef to tears.
The location to book is the wine room; a cozy table for 6 on the second floor.
Hernandez Macias 43B
Daily 1:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Closed Tuesday
Cerveceria Hechicera + Mama Mia Campestre
Meet Juan Francisco Fuentes, a Brewmaster at Cerveceria Hechicera, where we went to do a beer tasting, specifically the Habanero, which is the only beer not available at Mama Mia in town where one can enjoy all of their other brews: Sortilege, Pale Ale, IPA, Porter and Miel.
Mama Mia Campestre is also on the property where we visited with the chef, Chef Cecilia Sanchez, who we met at the Lamb and Mezcal Festival  just this year. She prepared a delightful meal; much of it grown at Rancho Luna, their organic farm which also has a retail store. Although I expected the dishes made with their local produce to be fabulous, like the pear and buratta salad, I was surprised and delighted by the flavor of the wood grilled Arrachera, sourced from Sonora; I would definitely order it again.
Enjoy retreat is a wonderful pairing. Together, Cerveceria Hechicera and Mama Mia Campestre, make for one spectacular day out of the city.
Cerveceria Hechicera + Mama Mia Campestre
Carretera al Santuario de Atotonilco KM2.180, 37894 Atotonilco, Gto.
Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 Noon – 8:00 PM

Sunday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Dog Friendly
One can’t possibly be in a bad mood at Zumo. Everything is dressed in yellow; the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness and if the color doesn’t instantly put you in good spirits, the views of San Miguel de Allende and the food will.
Zumo’s chef, Mexico City born Marcela Lopez Sanchez, attended the Cordon Bleu and did a yearlong internship at one of the best restaurants in the world, Arzak, in San Sebastian, Spain, a famed 3 star Michelin restaurant. She’s becoming rather famous for fusing Mexican ingredients with Spanish and French regional cooking styles. Marcela was recently promoted to head chef and after tasting the flavors of her Jamaican ribs, we think her global style and her passion is a perfect match for the kitchen at Zumo. It’s also wonderful to have another female chef in SMA; the list is growing.
Their breakfast is one of the best deals and meal in town - $150 pesos for coffee, tea or juice, a plate of fruit with yogurt and granola, and a main course – mine was fried eggs with chorizo and bacon, baby potatoes with parmesan, rosemary and tomato and toast with soft butter with pina and apple and cinnamon marmalade. Zumo's menu is so different from many of the other restaurants in SMA. The hamburger is certified Angus beef. With something for everyone, the vegetarian options include Chili Mora Vegetable Lo Mein and Latin Special Stir fried vegetables. I’m in for the Tasting Menu at $1100 pesos which includes a favorite, Chocolate Covered Oranges with Himalayan Sea Salt.
Catch a 2X1 Happy Hour, Monday – Friday, early - from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Sunset Vibes with Acoustic Band Sonora Groove will rock your Wednesday nights from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Zumo’s Sunday Brunch is from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM for $380 pesos + a 15% tip. Make a reservation as it gets crowded.
Housed inside Villa Limon, with luxury accommodations and a catering operation in full swing, Zumo is a sweet surprise for anyone also looking for the full ticket.
Zumo Restaurant
Quebrada #93
Daily 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Day Trips
Day trips from SMA? We’ve done Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, Mineral de Pozos, Santa Rosa de Lima, Atotonilco, Tequisquiapan, Bernal and Queretaro just for starters. We’ve even accomplished Mexico City and Guadalajara in 48 hours.
SMA is just a few hours from these neighboring cities where you’ll get another view and taste of Mexico. Last month, we did Leon, were some of the best eats were found both on and off the street.
Hotel Amparo
Hotel Amparo officially opened its doors this year; a Small Luxury Hotel of the World property owned by Taylor Goodall and Mariana Barran de Goodall.
Hotel Amparo offers a number of classes to locals and their visitors; the most recent being embroidery, taught by owner, Mariana Barran de Goodall, who is also the owner of Hibiscus Linens, a traditional textile and needlework company based in Houston. We also popped in on their Yoga and Jewelry making classes.Contact the hotel for a complete list of their courses.
TEQUILA TASTING: Let us fine tune your appreciation for the nectar of the gods. Do you have a favorite tequila? Let’s compare bodies and bouquets. We will sip some artisanal varieties - smoky dark añejos and exclusive extra añejos. Let us surprise you with some hidden gems discovered on our travels. A total of four, carefully hand-picked, quality tequilas will be sampled. $55.00 USD
ARCHITECTURAL WALKING TOUR: View buildings representing more than 400 years of architectural styles while discovering the indigenous symbols to their gods hidden in plain sight for hundreds of years. You’ll never look at San Miguel’s Architecture the same way again once you’ve learned the secrets! $12.00 USD
SALSA AND COOKING CLASS: Amparo’s cooking class let you immerse into Mexico’s extraordinary food culture through cooking experiences; either with a traditional Mexican cookery hands-on workshop where you can rediscover the aromas of Mexican spices while using a “molcajete” to make a salsa or mole. Explore new corners, colors and artistic murals through a culinary market visit or let us indulge you with a laid-back gastronomic experience. $60.00 USD
JEWELRY CLASS: You will learn the techniques on how to create a headpin out of wire, and then connect stones to each other through wire-wrapped loops. You will then learn how to complete your design with attaching ear wires. The lessons will also introduce you to basic color theory, and you will experiment with how to mix different colors together to create striking gem combinations. You will practice combining both texture and color to incorporate both into your designs $95.00 USD.
MARGARITA MAKING CLASS: If making and consuming margaritas simultaneously sounds like your kind of evening, grab a few friends and book a Margarita Master class! Learn how to make the perfect Margarita in our 90 minute class with our expert bar master, Gabriel Avila at Hotel Amparo. $45.00 USD

SHOPPING TOUR: San Miguel used to be known for tinwork, glass, ceramics, and pottery from Dolores Hidalgo. Now there are interior design boutiques, young designer co-ops and printmakers, high-end and ethnic women’s clothing from Mexico City or Europe, bakeries, wine shops, and jewelry stores. Here you can find beautiful hand-made woven shawls and embroidered skirts and blouses from almost every state in the country. The galleries and furniture stores at Fábrica La Aurora are a full day excursion. Whatever you’re looking for, we will help you find the best shopping in San Miguel de Allende. $12.00 USD

 MARKET TOUR: Visit SMA’s oldest market. We will be guiding you through a handicraft area that extends for three blocks and going from stall to stall checking out the great food that is so fundamental to Mexican gastronomy, you’ll also be trying buñuelos, garbanzos, tacos placero, fruit slices and much more in this unique experience. One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to stroll through the cobblestone streets and markets with its beautifully painted colorful homes adorned with flowers, murals, and cactuses you can’t help but feel awestruck just wandering around downtown and its vibrant colonial streets. Visit a Mexican local bakery and sample some of their warm pastries. $12.00 USD
STRAW BAG PAINTING CLASS: It is painting and designing straw bags in your own unique way using paint. Straw bags are perhaps the most versatile bags out there, it’s both functional and fashionable. This is a great way to fully customize your own bag so that your bag becomes unique. $55.00 USD
No surprise that Hotel Amparo was just named the 12th best hotel in Mexico by Conde Nast Traveler. While you’re there, ask about owner Mariana Barran de Goodall’s gordita cookies; we’re pretty sure we’re addicted. Speaking of food, Bar Margaret’s chef, Kenten Marin, is one of the only Southern chefs in the city and has a new menu out this weekend. His renowned Chicken with White BBQ sauce just went on the regular menu and since we’ve been thinking about the dish since we ate it on the 4th of July, we went there last night; it’s one of our favorite dishes this year.
Hotel Amparo
Mesones #3, Centro, San Miguel de Allende
Phone: 415 152 0819
Weekly Specials: Birdies Burger and Taco Lab
There are plenty of restaurants that run weekly specials but we think the ones at Birdies Burgers and Taco Lab take the prize.  
The recent specials at Birdie’s was a BBQ brisket with chipotle mayo, pickles and sauerkraut and a burger with sauerkraut and homemade pastrami. The homemade pastrami was made by Chef JJ Castendada’s of Fatima 7 and Café Casa Blanca 7; the best pastrami in town. Chef JJ Castendada is also one of SMA's rising star chefs, having landed some great press in two of Mexico's major publications.

Both of these burgers were over-the-top, having an abundance of new fans after just one week on the menu.
At Taco Lab, Chef Donnie Masterton’s recent heirloom salad was also a huge hit.  You’ve got to love a chef that grows his own ingredients. This dish was better than a comparable variety found at a four star restaurant.

A 2x1 special is on the breakfast menu every Friday for $100 pesos and yes, we ate both; one of our favorite indulgences in SMA.
Birdies Burgers/Taco Lab
Doce 18 Concept House at Relox 18
Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM 
Chef: Donnie Masterton

Wood-fired chicken for two; a half order with leftovers to take home…bellissimo at $150 pesos. The pizza? Well, they’ve got this one down, along with the occasional Porchetta.
Linger in the beer garden, it's a Friday afternoon favorite. Fiamma now serves Dos Aves; SMA’s best local, artisanal brew. 
Salida a Celaya #6
Daily: 12:00 Noon – 10:00 PM except closed on Thursday
Guest Chefs
Who doesn’t like it when our local chefs bring in guest chefs, in this case Belmond Casa Sierra Nevada, especially when the team is put together by Chef Katsuji Tanabe, a major TV personality and owner of Barrio, LeKon Restaurant, Nixon Chops and Whiskey, MexiKosher NYC and Hussong’s Cantina with plans to open another restaurant shortly.
Along with Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the team included Chef Oscar Meza, a YouTube star who is famous for his all-Spanish L Capital channel; Chef Jose Sosa, the Executive Chef at Gibsons Italia; Chef John Tesar, owner of Knife, a four-time James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant and Chef Joshua Smith, the founder of Moody's Delicatessen and Provisions and prominent charcuterie chef and expert.
The Feast: Seared tuna with crust of machaca, chapulines and sesame seeds in soy, lemon and honey; Baby back ribs in chile BBQ sauce; Rack of Lamb in pistachio and mustard crust; Dry age farm 44 Rib Eye with mashed potatoes; Sausages: chipotle sausage, mole salami and regular salami and Tacos of Pork Belly.
Many of these guest chef events are intimate and provide time to talk with the chefs so don’t pass one up if you have the opportunity to go. I was thrilled to finally meet Chef Jose Sosa of Gibson’s, one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago.

The highlight of the night was a shared table with two charming and amusing guests: Andrea Cargill, manager of Chef Katsuji Tanabe and Vivian Aldana Sosa, wife of Chef Jose Sosa. It was also great to see Rose Ruiz back from her European adventure. The dinner was also served the next night to benefit The Red Cross.
The Tourist Center
Tired of driving around SMA on the weekend looking for a parking space? Park your car in the lot on Cordo (20 pesos @ hour) and take one of the new tourists buses (12 pesos @ ride) to Centro. It’s a short ride; depending on traffic, it took ten minutes.
The new tourist center, operated by the Tourism Council, is open between 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Inside the center, you’ll find a gift store where we found plenty of small, inexpensive, SMA give-aways, a play area for children and a coffee shop, Cardo Café, that’s owned by entrepreneur, Nancy Hoch, who also owns Geek and Coffee at Fabrica La Aurora, Local #3. Cardo Café is another great place to work. We love the large, outside table in front, free internet, great coffee, tea and pastries and a good view of Centro. Ignore the bus stop out front - the buses are parked out back and run about every 20 minutes from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. and on the weekends from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M.
This is a community project; the funds raised benefit the “Club of Peques in Development ”of the Municipal DIF that currently serves 320 girls and children.

Ten Year Anniversary: Cupcakes and Crablegs
Ten years ago, on September 6, 2009, I started a food blog, Cupcakes and Crablegs, and it changed my life. In those early years of blogging, for someone whose hobby was reading cookbooks and testing new recipes every Sunday, I looked at it as a way of reaching people who are as passionate about food as I am. It has given me so much more.
Over these past ten years, I have connected with chefs, restaurant owners, pastry chefs, sommeliers, bakers, farmers, cookbook authors, food providers, wineries, travelers, food critics, bloggers and every day people like you who simply love to eat.
In 2009 I did 100 blog posts; in 2010, I posted 628. In 2011, after two years of blogging, I was invited to the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago and suddenly, I was on every agency list in the city, getting invitations to restaurant and bar openings; all of this while juggling a full time job and traveling.
In 2013, I moved to San Miguel de Allende, where I went from 8128 restaurants in Chicago down to just 225. It was a year of adjustment for me. In our first year here, we missed the Chicago food scene, Martini Monday's, a perfectly aged-steak, fried chicken, a buttery Chardonnay, Saigon Sister’s banh mi sandwiches and a lot more. Then, something magical happened early that next year when I traveled to Oaxaca. One plate of dark, rich, wonderfully sweet and spicy mole negro convinced me to never look back. From 2016 on, a food revolution was taking place in SMA. Suddenly, SMA was the place to eat in Mexico and I was lucky enough to be here writing about it.
Funny thing about the posts I’ve done over the past ten years; all 1542 of them: I remember every one like it was yesterday - every restaurant and every dish. I do massive amounts of research before I select a restaurant to write about, devouring everything on both the restaurant and the chef. I think because of this, I can name my disappointments over the past 10 years on one hand. Which is my favorite post? The one I’m going to write tomorrow.
Thank you for sharing a decade of food with me. It’s been a delicious and joyful ride.
Salud y Buen Provecho!

All photographs ©Susan Knight York unless noted.