When asked where I went on vacation, and on being told San Miguel de Allende, most look a little puzzled and ask, ”Where is that?” That’s ok…For those of you who have also never heard of it, San Miguel or SMA for short, is in the central mountains of Mexico, about a 4 hour drive north of Mexico city, and sits at an altitude of 6000 feet. So the weather is never very hot in the summer, nor is it very cold in the winter….a lovely temperate climate that has attracted quite a sizeable American expatriate community. Some 8,000 or so Americans make SMA their home. I can understand it…the cost of living is so much lower, while the quality of life is very, very good. I’m sure it’s pretty complicated, making a foreign country your residence, but it’s attractions, I get. And some of those expats have joined with Mexicans to bring some new ideas about things to San Miguel…including organic farming. It has brought a whole new lucrative market to small Mexican farmers, who like small American farmers, can find it tough to make a living without a niche. So when we stumbled across Via Organica, I was thrilled!
A lttle panaderia there sells the most fabulous croissants( I was skeptical of a whole wheat croissant, but it was divine) and lovely breads of all sizes and shapes. And just across the street is Via Organica, whose cafe is run in part by an American woman who moved to SMA about 15 years ago. She told me that she always knew she wouldn’t want to be idle, and would want to work at something….but what? “In San Miguel, it just comes to you…I don’t know else to explain it, ideas just come to you. And here is mine!”
There’s a sweet little outdoor restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch…that’s my breakfast you see in the picture…fresh papaya, and eggs al queso(cheese), served in a whole wheat tortilla cup. Yummy.
And they have an amazing selection of organic vegetables there that are grown on the Via Organica farm just outside the city…one day I saw a woman buying these larger than plate size, flat green leaves…I asked what they were and what she was going to do with them…..She said, ” I really don’t know what they are, but I’m using them as placemats on the table tonight.” Shoot, I thought, I can do that…and I did….they were lovely.
And Via Organica also sells organic agave nectar…that is the foodie’s latest darling sweetener…that supposedly doesn’t spike your blood sugar like regular sugar. I have bought it at Whole Foods, but let me tell you, in the land of native agave, it was a load cheaper in Mexico.
A roomful of holistic medicines is available for whatever might ail you, be it depression or menstrual troubles, or zits…oh, and on that subject, you may wonder…did I ever suffer from turista? The answer is mostly, no. I was told to be on probiotics before I left….and I had been anyway from my long stint on antibiotics…I never went off. That held me in good stead..I had one bout of upset stomach, nothing serious, for one day, and then it was gone. The house where we stayed, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow, did have its own water purification system, which helps tons..of course. But you can’t always be at the house, now can you?