San Miguel de Allende – The Welge Report

 

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Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines.  This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for San Miguel de Allende .

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Recognition:  We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides.  In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.

 

San Miguel de Allende

 

Birding Opps:  Info for our birding friends.  In and near San Miguel de Allende you can see these species: Caracaras, Cowbirds, Common Grackles, Meadowlarks, Larksparrows, Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes, Vermillion Flycatchers, Killdeer, Brown Towhees and Cassin’s Kingbirds.

Check out the birdwalks at Audubon Mexico (audubonmex.org/birdwalks.htm).

Here’s a great report on Birds of Passage (birdsofpassage.wordpress.com) that includes amazing photos.

El Charco del Ingenio (elcharco.org.mx/Ingles) offers lots of birding opps.  Our Cousin Renate recommends the Tuesday tour.

Shopping:  San Miguel offer a mix of art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques.  In the following blog we suggest a few places to find the next thing you can’t live without.

Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)

Day One:  Head for the Museo Historico de la San Miguel de Allende – Tu-Su: 9-5, Cuna de Allende 1, Centro, 52 415 152 2499

 

Here Ignacio Allende was born who was one of the most renowned heroes of the Independence of Mexico.

The museum has two levels.  On the ground floor, we see the features of the region since the Pliocene and the pre-Hispanic first settlements.

The top floor rooms show aspects of social and cultural life of San Miguel including trade, crafts, education and training of militias.  The ground floor rooms are a reproduction of Allende’s home.

Nearby is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel - North side of El Jardin,

The original parish was built in 1555, rebuilt in 1690 and in 1880 Don Zeferino Gutierrez built the neo-gothic façade that we see today.

The Parroquia is not a cathedral. It is a parish church and the location for many of the town’s fiestas. It is the  symbol of San Miguel.

Inside is the notable image of the Lord of Conquest created from corn, bulbs and other materials.

Lunch is at El Pegasso – B,L,D: M-Sa,  Corregidora 6, 415-152-1351.

Mexican, American and Asian cuisine are all offered here.  The Kung Pao chicken has lots of veggies, peanuts and hot peppers.

Poblanos are stuffed with fruit and spices in a creamy walnut sauce.  The Aztec soup is excellent as are the fish tacos and chicken mole.

The beer is cold.  Save room for the raspberry cheesecake and the pecan pie.

To appease our artistic side we’ll visit Fabrica La Aurora – M-Sa: 10-6, Su: 11-3, Calz de la Aurora SN, Aurora, 52 415 152 1312.

Fabrica La Aurora is home to over forty galleries, studios, shops, and restaurants.  The large warehouses that housed spinning machines, cotton and maintenance equipment now have artists busy at work in their studios.

Globally recognized artists have found a place to develop their creativity and exhibit their works. Large walls, plenty of natural light, and inviting open spaces create the perfect environment for artistic inspiration.

New exhibits, contemporary art galleries, furniture, interior design stores, antiques, jewelry, linens and home accessories co-exist in this wonderful space.

For some reason the Zocalo in San Miguel is called El Jardin or the Main Garden.  At any rate it’s a great spot to hang out and do some serious people watching.

In addition to the people watching there are the ubiquitous vendors selling balloons, ice cream, and fresh-roasted-corn-on-the-cob slathered with mayo, white cheese and chili powder.

On the North side there is a public Wi Fi “hot spot” where we can check our email.

Note:  Our Cousin Renate highly recommends the Walking Tour at 10 AM on M, W, F. It benefits – Patronato Pro Niños - a non-profit foundation that has provided medical and dental care for the needy children of San Miguel and its surrounding villages since 1970.

Nearby is an interesting gallery – Casa Diana – Recreo #48, 011 52 415 152 0885.

This B & B has been featured in Architectural Digest and the gallery offers a variety of paintings, sculpture and photos.

Tonight we have reservations at 1826 Restaurant –B,L,D: Daily, Rosewood Hotel, Nemesio Diez, Zona Centro, 52 415 152 9700.

A good starter is the octopus dusted with chicharone served with a panela cheese or the tuna ceviche and apple wrapped in avocado.

Our main is the pan-roasted snapper with caramelized onions.

Our wine is the Montefiori Chardonnay.  For dessert we like the banana cake with chocolate and peanut brittle.

Day Two:  A very popular spot for breakfast is the Café Rama – B,L,D: Daily, Calle Nueva 7, Centro, 52 415 154 9655

The juice selection is impressive as is the fruit bar with granola and yogurt, my favorite.  The eggs Florentine are poached and served on a bed of crispy potatoes.

The chilaquiles are tortilla chips with red or green salsa, chicken, a poached egg and hollandaise.

A visit to El Centro Culturál Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”—Bellas Artes- M-Sa: 10-6, Su: 10-2, ernández 75, Centro, 52 415 152 0936 will knock your socks off.

This place is very special.  The building was originally constructed in 1755-65 as the cloister area of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception (Las Monjas).  This former place of prayer and contemplation is now a “Church of Art”.

Classes in drawing, painting, ceramics, weaving, photography, printmaking, music and dance, gallery exhibitions, concerts and other arts-related activities go on all year.

It’s also been called the most ambitiously landscaped cloister in all Mexico.  In the 1960s, the lovely convent cloister became Bellas Artes, the San Miguel outpost of the national arts and culture institute.

On the ground floor of Bellas Artes you’ll find exhibit galleries, the dance studio, the ceramics studio and the Café Las Musas.

Along the north wall of the cloister is a mural by Davíd Alfaro Siqueiros. The Siqueiros mural is a powerful abstract that makes a strong impression as soon as you walk into the room.

Lunch is at La Parada – L & D: W-Su, Recreo 94, 415-152-0473.

For a starter we share the octopus stuffed with black olives and avocado and a potato dumpling with pepper lemon mayo.

Then we have the sautéed chicken livers with a chili soy sauce, a small salad and potatoes or sautéed beef tenderloin tips with an onion, tomato soy sauce, potatoes and corn.

They have great pisco sours and mojitos.

Earlier we called up  Bill LeVasseur to make an appointment to see The Masked Museum that Bill calls The Other Face of Mexico -  Cuesta de San Jose #32 | Cuesta de San Jose #32, 415 154 4324

The Casa de la Cuesta is a B &B with a gallery that offers a unique look at Mexican culture through its crafts.

Items for sale include paintings, indigenous textiles, hand made paper, masks, handcrafted toys, Milagros and more.

It’s time for a walk in the Jardin Botanico El Charco del Ingenio – Paloma S.N., Las Colonias, 52 415 154 8838.

The Botanical Garden of El Charco del Ingenio is a unique and open space with points of interest for everyone.

It is a natural monument, a wildlife habitat, a botanical collection, a historical site, a center of environmental education, and a recreational space for all the community.

The botanical collection represents the richness and biodiversity in Mexico  exhibited in different areas of the garden that include:  the Conservatory of Mexican Plants (the spacious original greenhouse that also houses aquatic plant species and fish native to this region) and the Area of Rescued Plants on the western side of the garden.

The succulent collection is made up primarily of Cactaceae, along with other families of succulent plants, mainly Crassulaceae, Bromeliaceae and Aqavaceae.

Back to San Miguel for dinner at the Berlin Bar & BistroD: Nightly, Umaran 19, 52 415 154 9432.

This is a neighborhood hangout that’s into the art scene.   They feature one of our favorite local artists Peter Leventhal plus emerging artists.

Their menu includes coconut crusted prawns, grilled asparagus with Serrano ham, salmon cakes and bratwurst with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.  They have a fun bar and wine list.

Day Three:  Many call Cumpanio Restaurante y Panderia – B,L,D: Daily, Correo 29, Centro, 52 415 152 2327 the best bakery in San Miguel.

The coffee is exceptional, but it’s all good.  We like the chilaquiles almost as much as their pastries and breads.

If you have a meal here other than breakfast try the chocolate truffles.

An important place to visit is the Casa de Cultura Banamex who restored the Casa del Mayorazgo – M-F: 9-2, 4 calle Canal, 52 415 152 1004.

 

This is one of San Miguel’s grandest colonial palaces and the former home of the wealthy Canal family.

Inside the carved wooden doors are displays of black pottery from Oaxaca, Huichol masks, Guanajuato ceramics, and other collector-quality folk art.

The courtyard porticos and fine stone-and-wood carvings are gorgeous examples of colonial-era San Miguel.

The next stop on our docket is the handicrafts market located near the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, along Andador Lucas Balderas between Calle Colegio and Calle Loreto.

This market takes up three city blocks and is full of stalls selling regional products.

Since San Miguel de Allende is such a special destination we decided to make our last dining experience here a special event and we chose Nirvana – B,L,D: Daily,  Camino Del Cortijo a Montecillo de Nieto, 52 1852194.

We begin with their almost famous watermelon gazpacho or the Thai soup with curry, cream and coconut milk.

Our red snapper is assertive,  but our favorite is the stuffed chicken breast with a mole sauce.

If you’re a lamb chop lover theirs is very good with a toasted garlic sauce.

A very compatible wine is the ’13 Uriel Adobe de Guadalupe Rose.  For dessert you must order the Nirvana sorbet made with oranges and basil.

As a lagniappe we suggest a horseback ride at the Xotolar Ranch – 415 154 6275.

The Morin family provides a horse riding adventure through the country side where we see breath taking views.  After the ride we enjoy a ranch lunch and a cold beer.

 

Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,

Dick & Dee Welge

© 2015 R.E. Welge All Rights Reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Web Site Rules and Regulations of The Welge Report.  Any business use without permission forfeits your right to “chilaquiles”.

 

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