Friday, July 28, 2023

Chef Ana Cecilia Alvarez

We first met Chef Ana Cecilia Alvarez in 2017 when she was the Sous-Chef at MiVida. She first went on our radar when we watched her plate dishes for the SMA Food Festival that year and then we ate her cooking. We were officially in love with her food. She was one of the best trained Sous chefs in SMA and she was always in plain sight until Covid; a time when restaurants were fighting just to stay alive.   

Chef Cecy Alvarez braved it and went on her own, cooking at Cien 24 with her husband, Haniel Cruz, during the pandemic. She’s been there for the past two years. We’re so happy to find her again when we recently wrote an article on the 100 new restaurants in SMA. Cien 24 was one of them.

We use to eat with Cecy nearly every Sunday at MiVida. We can still close our eyes and remember every dish she served us; incredible Italian specialties and the most amazing desserts and gelato.

When Cecy graduated from La Universidad Tecnolog√≠ca in SMA, she did her internship at Restaurant Il Grecale in Novello, Italy. She also took baking from Chef Christophe Rhedon in Mexico City and classes in contemporary Mexican cuisine and Mexipan’s artisan ice cream making with Italian master, Angelo Corvitto. She was the Chef-in-Charge at Casa de Path in Los Senderos and later took the position as Sous-chef and baker-in-charge at Mi Vida Restaurant. You never had to call MiVida to make sure the head chef was cooking that night. You knew that Cecy was there when Greta wasn’t and that the food would be just as good. Consistency was one of their trademarks.

We’re always an easy target for an American breakfast and Chef Cecy Alvarez made us a plateful of traditional Americana: Eggs, Bacon and a slightly sweet pancake; just the way we like it. We weren’t looking for any gold stars on presentations in this tiny eatery but they were totally there. She makes absolutely everything from scratch, still uses quality ingredients and serves everything the way you would if you trained at a first rate restaurant.

Serving traditional Mexican dishes, some with an Italian twist, Chef Cecy Alvarez is here to stay. Receiving 5 star reviews from everyone who has eaten at her restaurant, its comfort home cooking at its best and from the likes of all the people dining in Cien 24 today, it felt awfully good to be back home again. 

Cecy believes that motivation is the key to success so every day she wakes up with a great attitude; certain she’s doing what she loves the most. This ray of sunshine admits that she’s not very flexible - she likes things pretty perfect and perfect it always is. Written above her kitchen now are the words that she lives by: “Cien 24…with effort and dedication.”

We can’t think of a more dedicated chef to the art of cooking in SMA than Chef Cecy Alvarez.

Cien 24

Umaran 124 Centro

San Miguel de Allende 37700

415 111 5206

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM except closes 2:00 PM Sunday  

Closed Wednesday

Chef: Cecy Alvarez




Monday, July 24, 2023

Atrio: One of the Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende

 This is the first in a series of posts on the 2023 Best Restaurants in SMA. After 10 years of documenting the gastronomy of SMA, we think it’s only fitting that Atrio should be the first post…

As you know, we only write about restaurants that we love and Atrio is on the top of our list of places to go in SMA.

I have been a champion of Atrio since day one when they opened in 2017. Not only have they consistently dished up fabulous food and service but they also have one of the best views in SMA; completing the perfect trifecta for dining.

Chef Arturo Sandoval keeps reinventing himself; always trying new things and putting the finest dishes on the menu to change up your choices often.

Atrio is always on top of their game; whether it’s Martinis at the table from Abraham, a piping hot plate of Rib Rice from Miguel or Laura, the mind reader, who knows your drink before you even ask for it. We can only think of a handful of other restaurants that give such exceptional service. This, of course, is thanks to popular restaurant manager, Luis Vela, and the staff.

We’ve sent thousands of people to Atrio over the past six years and if there’s one place that hits a near perfect score, Atrio is it. Excellent food, precise attention to detail, flawless execution and outstanding service define their dining profile.

CONGRATS to owners Chema and Chus, Luis and the entire staff and to Chef Arturo Sandoval who joins an elite group of chefs with food in this category.


Cuna de Allende 3, Centro

415 688 1405

Opens 1:00 PM Daily

Closes: 10:30 PM Daily

Reservations are recommended

News from Chef Marcela Bolano

Chef Marcela Bolano has asked me to post this for her and I am honored to do so.

I’ll post my thoughts soon as we all process the news.

RESPECT: Chef Matteo Salas

If there’s one person I’ve grown to respect over the years, it’s Chef Matteo Salas. He returned last week from Europe for a series of dinners featuring talented chefs; all the architects of memorable food. Joining chef Salas on Saturday was Jesus Vasquez Reyna, the chef at Aperi, and Juan Emilio Villasenor, owner of La Cocinteca in Leon and the master of cooking over fire and smoke. The 10 course meal was another one for the books; admitting that I say that every time I eat with him because the experience is, without exception, always the best. 

The Amuse Bouche was an Oyster with Xoconostle and Habanero and a Ceviche Tart that I can still taste. The Pulpo with Chorizo and truffle sauce was sourced from a new vendor who specializes in only two Pacific treasures: octopus and soft shell crabs. The main dishes, the Duck with Mango and Sweet potatoes and the Short Rib with a Cecina mole, put us all over the top. The dessert was served in three courses. In fact, the only thing that was missing from the Chefs Table that night was you.

The wines and spirits were world class – a local and much-loved Casa Dragones Anejo and a wine by Vino de La Reina (no relation to Chef Jesus Vasquez Reyna although we could officially call this his wine now) Pinot Noir 2021 Valle de San Vicente. It’s one of our new favorites with many fruit aromas, a floral element of roses and gardenias and traces of that magical ingredient, chocolate. Every time we dine at the Chefs Table, we discover a new wine that we love; one we’ve never had before. The Chefs Table at Aperi is the primary place for an education in food and wine and, spirits and Chef Matteo Salas is the best of all chef educators.

There was so much light and shadows in the kitchen that night, the photos from this event are left to the professionals. There were several there, including the great, Mexican photographer, Ignacio Urquiza. I left my Nikon at home but did snap a few with a cell phone. The one of Matteo and I was taken by Ignacio’s wife, Laura Cordera; the famous, Mexican food stylist. It was so remarkable to be in the company of so many people who inspire me. 

I mentally wrote my name on the back of the chair at the head of the Chefs table at Aperi. It has a prime view of the kitchen and is the only place to watch a captivating feast in play. Studying these chefs was like watching a perfect ballet - every step in sync; every movement better than the last. The performance was so effortless that I wanted to replay it in my head to remind me why I love to eat with these chefs. The incredible flavors and presentations were better than the anticipation of it all and to tell you the truth, the wait for this dinner nearly devoured me.

To be there to witness the transfer of this holy grail of eating from one great chef to another left me speechless until now. And when it was over, savored, appreciated and enjoyed, the Chefs Table returned to its owner, Chef Jesus Vasquez Reyna, the remarkable, young chef who trained as a Sous chef under Chef Matteo Salas and is now the Chef at Aperi; the place where Matteo was, just five years ago. 

Aperi, I’m happy to report, has finally come full circle. 

Aperi/ Quebrada 101 - Centro, San Miguel de Allende 37700

Phone: 415 152 0941

Daily 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM except Tuesday closed

Chef: Jesus Vasquez Reyna