Mulatto Ville

WE ESCAPED the Mardi Gras celebration in our hardscrabble neighborhood over the weekend by heading to the Gringo-invested burg of San Miguel de Allende.

I always find San Miguel unsettling to the soul. There is something just not right about it. It’s about as Mexican as I am, which is to say legally yes, spiritually no.

Perhaps Disneyland, but better: Mulatto* Ville.

It’s a combination of two very different worlds. Two mindsets, two races,** two cultures. And they do not stir well.

Oil and water.

Walking around downtown San Miguel, it’s all I can do to not burst out in howling laughter. The rayon shirts, the Bermuda shorts, the Birkenstocks, the berets, the feathers in the hat bands, the old white women*** wearing native blouses, the art paint smeared preciously on khaki pants.

So one might wonder, why do you go there? The main answer is restaurants. Mulatto Ville has great places to eat.

I enjoy eating.

And this recent trip was also to visit an old friend from high school who was wintering there, a retired university professor who included Marco Rubio among her students.

Another beautiful day in Dolores Hidalgo.

We took a drive north to Dolores Hidalgo where we had not gone directly downtown in a long time. We were pleasantly surprised, shocked even.

It’s a wonderful city that’s been undergoing renovation for a few years. Most of the plaza has been closed to vehicles. The church has been painted. Much of downtown too.

Some good restaurants and hotels can be found. And, unlike San Miguel, which has horrible streets and sidewalks, Dolores Hidalgo is flat, smooth and easily walkable.

It’s also one of Mexico’s main sources of talavara ceramics,**** the quantities of which are astounding and beautiful.

Next time we flee our area due to Carnival, we’ll be staying in Dolores Hidalgo, not south in Mulatto Ville.

In Dolores Hidalgo I spotted nary a Birkenstock*****.

* * * *

* I am playing loose with the word, of course. A true mulatto is the offspring of one white parent and one black one, à la Barry Hussein Obama who “identifies” as black.

** Oh, I know Mexican is not a race, but bear with me.

*** Why does everyone complain about Old White Men but never about Old White Women?

**** The other is Puebla. FYI.

***** My second ex-wife, now an Old White Woman, used to cringe at my own Birkenstocks, so perhaps I should avoid this point. Nowadays I sport Crocs but only at home.

15 thoughts on “Mulatto Ville”

  1. Dolores Hidalgo is a great little town. Downtown parking can be tight, so the last time I was there, we parked at Soriana and grabbed a cab to Centro. The town is a little lacking in good restaurants, and I’m not talkin’ fine dining.

    After a while, the SMA restaurants lose their luster, and La Frontera begins to look like the best deal in town. Easy parking, good refilled iced tea, and brisket. But none of SMA’s restaurants can begin to hold a candle to Morelia’s Parrilla y Canilla and Santa Maria’s Rincon de Delicias.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: You are correct that the restaurant situation is not ideal in Dolores Hidalgo. I have seen worse, however, and I have my fingers crossed for the future. There’s a down-home, Mexican-style joint on the plaza that we like. It’s been there since the 1970s, says the menu, and it looks it, which is not a bad thing. The restaurant, not surprisingly, is named La Plaza. We dined there about a decade ago, and I don’t recall the details, but we did like it. We had coffee there Tuesday, and it was far better than average, which bodes well.

      There is what resembles a food court situation, new, on the plaza. It looks modern and promising. Not a fast-food kind of food court, just a number of places, butt to butt, that look high end.

      I’ve never had much of a parking problem downtown although it can be tight. We easily found a spot on the street two blocks from the plaza, a nice walk. But it was Tuesday.

      Now you tell me about La Frontera. Never heard of it. I found it on FB, and will go there the next time we’re in Mulatto Ville. God knows when that will be.

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    2. PS: We are ever in search of good Thai food. We tried two new (to us) places in Mulatto Ville. One was the Oko Noodle Bar, very conveniently located in the shopping center across from the Mega store (now renamed La Comer for some reason). The spring rolls were okay, and I had a bowl of Tom Kah Gai, a coconut chicken noodle soup. It was very good. We also had a pho with beef that was waaaay too salty, and at another meal I ordered a cold noodle dish that was meh. It was Vietnamese grub, and that normally screams for Hoisin sauce. There was none. No self-respecting Vietnamese table lacks Hoisin sauce.

      Throwing our hands up at Oko, so to speak, we went also to Orquidia Thai, which they claim is the best Thai food in SMA. The spring rolls were pretty good. We ordered Pad Thai, which we normally love. It was mediocre at the Orquidia.

      On Monday, we ate with my amigos at Hecho en Mexico, which normally delivers the goods. I had read somewhere online that it served a killer pastrami sandwich. The menu lists a Reuben, which I assumed was the sandwich in question. There was no listing of a pastrami sandwich. It was quite good, but a New Yorker would have rated it quite poorly.

      I’m looking forward to La Frontera. We’ll even drive over from Dolores Hidalgo.

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      1. Uh oh, now that Dolores has a museo del vino (http://www.mexico.mx/en/articles/5-museums-that-stimulate-your-5-senses?page=15; https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/museo-del-vino-en-dolores-hidalgo.html), the Birkenstockians wearing tablecloths as clothing may not be far behind.

        Open for lunch only, noon to 8 pm (remember, the MulattoVillagers eat early), and closed on Sunday, La Frontera has wholesome daily specials, something like meat loaf, fried chicken, grilled filet or salmon, fish tacos. Mammoth portions. Great matzo ball soup. There’s nothing fey and chichi about this place, but the patrons always seem to be enjoying themselves. The half Mexican, half Jewish, owner neglects an entertaining blog at https://guavatales.wordpress.com/

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  2. Funny thing is my hubby loved Delores. He said he would live there in a flash. We went there a few times, once with our American friend and once with our gardener and his son. We enjoyed a nice meal in a hotel that was cheap and some wonderful ice cream in the plaza. Frontera’s was a Friday meetup place with new friends for us for the three months we stayed in San Miguel. I ate a lot of different things but Peter was hooked on their drowned burrito. Hecho en Mexico is overrated in my opinion. I liked the rooftop on Baja Fish Tacos. Spent mucho time there.

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    1. Shelagh: Dolores Hidalgo is improving mightily. The first time I went there, about 12 or 13 years ago, I was unimpressed. But now it’s improving itself at high speed. It’s exceptionally nice. As for the ice cream, the town is famous for the ice creams sold in the plaza.

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    1. Ray: San Miguel is a unique thing down here. The immense foreign presence for decades now has created something or other. I’m not sure exactly what. Mexico Lite in part. It’s a good place to visit briefly, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. The Disneyland analogy is not all that far off the mark, though there are no Carnival rides. It’s a pretend place. You couldn’t pay me to live there even though in my first year down here I considered it. It was because I didn’t know any better at that time. The clownish aspect to many Gringos who live there full-time has been noted for years by many observers.

      Mexican beaches are also good places to visit in the winter. About eight months of the year, you’ll sweat your butt off, and you’ll be eaten alive by insects. Yet people actually retire there. Beyond me. I think most are boozers. Most Mexicans do not live in coastal areas. We’re not that nuts.

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  3. Oh, dear! This post is so not PC. Surely there will be hordes of social justice warriors raining opprobrium on your comments section any moment now.

    But SMA has its charm, just like Disneyland does. But one should not for a minute imagine that it’s typically Mexican. It’s its own hybrid with its own charms and detriments.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where it is once again, raining on the weekend.

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