I’m in Toronto, hibernating with Mama Bear. Or maybe it’s Mother Hubbard because our cupboard is very bare.
Our restaurant round-ups are called food delivery apps and we’re struggling. After seven days in the cave, after seven different apps, after burgers and sushi and Chinese and chicken and ramen, we’re itchin’ for something high class. But all we’re finding is burgers and sushi and Chinese and chicken and ramen and this and that. What we really want is the world’s finest cuisine.
We want French food. Nous voulons de la nourriture française. Queremos comida francesa.
That, unfortunately, isn’t possible. For French is almost always fancy, almost always froufrou. And, understandably, the fancy-dan places in Toronto have all locked their doors.
So it came as a bit of a shock, a huge measure of jealousy, and a lot of respect when I found out that, in San Miguel de Allende, El Vergel was still offering pick-up and delivery throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The best French food in San Miguel, no let me change that simply to some of the very best food of any kind in San Miguel, was still just a phone call away.
I started to dream. If I was there, what would I order for the first course.
Onion soup. Such a classic. But it always fills me up too much. No, it would be the salmon tartare. El Vergel’s salmon tartare never has too much citrus or too much vinegar. The taste of the salmon stays first and foremost on the tongue while the fine dicing of the onions and ripe tomatoes stays well in the background.
Next, the main. And you might be surprised by this one. A lot of consideration was given to the almost impossible to find in Mexico duck confit. And a little thought went to the very traditional trout amandine…but not right after the other fish course. No, my main course might shock you. For my choice of main would be the mac ’n’ cheese.
“That’s not French. That’s not fancy,” you might say. But that might be because you’ve never tasted El Vergel’s mac ’n’ cheese.
El Vergel makes a version of what the French call Macaroni Lyonnaise. And what a version! The heart of the dish is a rich, red wine sauce made from oxtail. And there is almost as much Gruyère cheese in the pan as there is pasta.
Dessert? Absolutely no decision to make there. Don Day’s Wife will tell you that, in my misspent middle-age, I would do crème crawls, walking from restaurant to restaurant to restaurant to solely sample their crème
I prefer my crème brulée unadulterated and that’s the way El Vergel usually makes it. No hazelnuts, no lavender, no pistachios, no citrus zest. Just the basics…cream, egg yolks, vanilla and sugar. El Vergel’s crème brulée is as good as I’ve ever eaten.
OK, enough fantasizing. Time to go back to my Toronto search on Skip The Dishes, GrubHub and Door Dash. Enjoy your French dinners, San Miguel. Wish I was there.
El Vergel is located at Camino a la Alborada 17, Predio la Alborada, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. To view their menu, go to https://elvergelsanmiguel.com/menu/. For pick-up or delivery, telephone 415 110 2254 or 415 110 2063. The hours for ordering are Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.