1. Huevos Rancheros - Lavanda Cafe

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When the city comes alive in the magical light of morning, there is no better way to start your day than with a plate of Huevos Rancheros from Lavanda Cafe. After all, breakfast is the specialty of the house and every dish is as beautiful and flavorsome as this one. Karla Becerra Martinez, the chef and a graphic designer by training, is masterfully creating some of the most beautiful and delicious dishes in San Miguel. She has incorporated many of her mother’s recipes into the mix, including this ranchero sauce. Don’t these perfectly poached eggs look like little balls of Oaxaca cheese? After the eggs are poached, they are placed on corn tortillas, topped with a sweet, semi-fiery red-chili sauce, then garnished with a pile of red caramelized onions Hungry travelers make this spot a morning ritual.

2. Pozole - La Pozoleria

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There is a holiday almost every week in Mexico and the dish that’s served for holiday meals and at weddings, quinceañeras and birthdays is Pozole. Pozole, which means “hominy,” is a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. This deep-rooted culinary tradition is made at La Pozoleria with chicken or pork, pepitas, tomatillos, epazote, spice and a handful of jalapenos. A cure-all, the medicinal brew once had ritual significance. La Pozoleria makes you feel like you’re exactly where you should be when you sit down to eat a bowl of soup … at home. As the pozole simmers, an open kitchen allows the scents to fill this restaurant with everything that reminds you how comforting a bowl of soup is, no matter how perfect the weather is outside.

3. Organic Greens - The Restaurant

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There seems to be no rules for what comes out of the kitchen at The Restaurant, other than it has to be good-looking and full of flavor. Chef Donnie Masterton has always cooked with fresh ingredients purchased from farmers and ranchers in San Miguel, many of whom are located within a 5-mile radius of his restaurant. This superb shaved Brussels sprout and kale salad with pecorino cheese, almonds and lemon vinaigrette is a work of art. Don’t blame us if you want to eat it every day. We do, too!

4. Tacos al Pastor - Andy’s Tacos

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Tacos al Pastor delights the hungry traveler looking for an authentic taste of Mexico. Just follow the smoky aroma to our favorite taco cart, Andy’s Tacos. Andy’s Tacos reached cult status last year when it was featured in the Wall Street Journal. An institution, the tacos are renowned for their just-right spice. Pork is marinated in dried chilies and spice and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Shaved onto a hot grill, it’s finished off to a crispy perfection and the grilled onions compliment the heat of the red chipotle salsa and the sweetness of the pineapple. Although it opens when the sun sets, the 7 a.m. closing accommodates partygoers searching for an after-hours feast and are still intoxicated by the magic of an all-night fiesta.

5. Flautas - El Tucan

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Get a taste of the best flautas in town at San Miguel’s favorite cheap eat, El Tucan. Deep-fried perfection, these rolled tacos are stuffed with chicken and evoke memories of all the things we love about food that is thrown into a vat of oil to be cooked. Alex, the owner, cooked in Chicago for years. But don’t let his perfect English fool you. He turns out some of the best Mexican food in San Miguel. So how does he make a platter of these delicious, deep fried chicken flautas healthier? By smothering them with so many fresh vegetables, you forget they ever saw a pan of oil to begin with.

6. Mixiotes - El Pato Barbacoa y Mixiotes

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Mixiotes, made of pit-barbecued lamb, is the reincarnation of your mother’s Sunday pot roast at El Pato Barbacoa Y Mixiotes. Cut with the bone and seasoned with pasilla, guajillo and spices like cumin, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves, cloves and garlic, it is wrapped in small bundles and cooked in the ground overnight. Pilar and Jose Luis, the owners of this small thatched-roof palapa, treat all their guests like family, and by the time you’ve finished eating, you’ll swear an oath to come back. We can’t decide what we love more, one of the best dishes we’ve eaten in San Miguel or the owners. You make the decision. We love them both.

7. Ceviche - La Parada

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With the beach a seven-hour drive from San Miguel, the most sought-after dish in town is seafood. At La Parada, the ceviches are legendary. Ceviche is raw fish or seafood that is “cooked” by marinating in citrus juice. La Parada does a novel take on conventional ceviche by using salmon in the citrus, then topping it with snow pods, seaweed and cucumber. Wash it down with a cool Pisco Sour and you’ve just taken a quick trip to Lima, compliments of Chef Alexandra Gutt, who is responsible for heightening the profile of mouth-watering, Peruvian flavors in San Miguel.

8. Bakery and Desserts

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San Miguel is filled with bakeries and restaurants serving Mexican desserts that are often just too beautiful to eat. The exquisite dessert pictured above, Burnt Caramel Ice Cream with Marshmallow Sauce and Salted Spanish Peanuts from The Restaurant, takes sweet indulgence to the next level. It’s the one dessert you’ll go home dreaming about. Good enough reason to come back, don’t you think? Petit 4 Bakery turns two of our favorite indulgences, chocolate and tequila, into desserts to write home about. Take a cooking class from Chef Paco Cardenas. He provides a superb culinary introduction to the city. Cumpanio has better-than-Paris croissants and brioche. Pair with a Conga, a mixture of tropical fruit juices, climb into the coveted window seat and wish away your morning. Remember, you’re allowed to daydream. You’re on vacation.