Thursday, August 30, 2012

my trip to san antonio

Last Sunday in living the cliché,  I headed the post with a panorama photograph of some of San Miguel's churches.

The shot was from the parking lot of the community church I attend when I am in town.  I have always wondered about the large white church on the hill  in the center of the photograph.  Like a Las Vegas hotel, it is further away than it looks.

But I finally got up close and personal with the building today.

I am certain you remember Al and Stew from peace center.  They asked if I would join them for lunch on Wednesday at a food truck. 

Who could turn down an offer like that?  The taco trucks in Salem serve up the best Mexican food in town -- even though I cannot convince some of my acquaintances to eat there.

Rather than spending time looking for parking, I decided to hike down the hill and across town to our meeting place.  I made much better time than I had anticipated. 

So, I decided to take a look around the neighborhood.

When I turned up one street, there it was.  San Antonio Parish Church.  Sitting on that hill since 1620. 

But you can see in the photograph at the top of this post, it has had some recent face lifts.  Such as the giant Bulova wrist watch on its  façade.

Unfortunately, the church was closed.  The interior will have to wait for a future visit. 

And there will be future visits.  If nothing else to dine at Hierbabuena -- the "food truck."

My first impression when seeing the truck was that it looked a lot like the Salem taco trucks -- if a bit spiffier.  After all, how much variation can there be in kitchens on wheels?

The truck sat next to several tables and chairs under an awning.  Nothing ostentatious.

The breakfast menu looked like what you would expect from a small café in Mexico.

But we were there for lunch. 

The owners have wisely limited their specials for lunch each day.  They had a vegetarian dish the details of which escaped my attention.

However, the meat choice perked up my ears.  Meat loaf with mashed potatoes and a mixed green salad.  Comfort food maximized.

Any lingering impression that this was merely a taco truck were gone with the first bite. 

The salad was filled with tiny flavorful orange and yellow tomatoes.  I am not a salad fan.  But I could have made a meal of the salad alone.

The meat loaf was moist and subtly spiced, and the mashed potatoes were creamy smooth.  The meal was filling without leaving me feeling as if I needed to be rolled back up the hill to the house.

I was going to stop there.  But Al ordered a flan that looked too good to pass up.  And it was. 

Unlike many of the flans I have tested in Mexico that have enough flour to qualify as cake,  this was pure custard.  Even creamier and smoother than the mashed potatoes. 

The conversation was even more interesting than the food.  We talked about the Salvation Army.  The Kroc connection to Chicago.  The recent narco burning barricades in Guadalajara.  My benighted legislative race in 1988.  And the odd state of politics in The States.  We concluded we were content to be living our lives in Mexico.

But the chat was cut far too short.  Stew needed to get to appointment.  It is probably fortunate for them they had an exit strategy.  I could easily have monopolized their afternoon.

It is days like this that remind me of how much I enjoy the simple pleasures of intelligent conversation played against the background of good food.

It also turned out to be a very enlightening day.  On my way back up the hill I discovered one of Mexico's mysteries.  I now know how Our Lady of Guadalupe gets herself up on all those walls.


Dan in NC said...

Don't know about your ankle, but your calves must be putting Schwarzenegger to shame! That walk up Tecolote is a stair-steppers nightmare! The V.G. is a luvly piece of work! Great colours, shading, detail - and on stucco to boot..!
Dan in NC

Babsofsanmiguel said...

The church in Col. San Antonio was built on a sacred indigenous site.  Hence the fact that it is higher then the surrounding areas.  This was done a lot by the Catholic Church and Spaniards to move the indigenous from their traditional beliefs to Christianity.......
The mural of the Virgen of Guadalupe has been a work in progress for many months.  It gets better and better.  Love the ladder sitting next to it!

Steve Cotton said...

The ladder was one of those shots that could not be passed up.  The painter was taking a break across the street in the shade with two young men.

Steve Cotton said...

My calves no longer qualify as veal.  It is a nice neighborhood mural.  With some associated tiles.

Tafreeburn said...

beautiful church-looking forward to the inside pix. the description of your meal made me so hungry.

have a great weekend!


Steve Cotton said...

Nice to hear from you again.  I was just thinking about you yesterday.

The inside photographs will need to wait untul next year, I think.  On Saturday, I am off to Morelia.