Four different people had sent me emails about this new restaurant. But the name of it. Fit&Pig. What the aitch was a fit and pig? Maybe some obscure Mexican food reference? Maybe something like the obscure (to me) ten ten pie?
Anyway, one of those four emailers was a very trusted fellow, fellow food blogger, Bob Glaze. If Bob liked Fit&Pig, I was pretty sure I’d like Fit&Pig. I asked Bob if he’d join me there for lunch.
Fit&Pig is on restaurant row, that dusty stretch of Salida a Celaya, where a young couple with a dream to own their own restaurant might just find a place with a reasonable rent.
The dreamers in this case were Lucia Castro and Ricardo Maho. After stints at both Disneyland and South Seas Island Resort in Florida, they’ve returned to Mexico to open a humble but ambitious business of their own.
Bob and I corralled one of the two outside tables and it took only seconds before we had to blurt out the why Fit&Pig question.
“Well, there are two sections on the menu”, said Lucia, “salads and sandwiches. The salads are the fit part and, because there are lots of pork products on the sandwich side, that’s the pig.”
I simply hmmmmed. Bob, who helps travellers know “Where to eat in San Miguel de Allende” on his globalphile.com website, was more direct.
“I think you should change it, definitely change it”, said Bob. “A restaurant owned by Lucia and Ricardo, Lucy and Ricky. I can see your logo inside a heart, just like in that old fifties show.”
Lucia was left a little speechless for a few seconds. Finally, she looked at us and asked, “Are you ready to order.”
I’d already spotted a sandwich I wanted on the pig side but I also wanted to try a salad.
“They’re awfully big”, said Bob.
“Share the beet with me?”, I begged.
We were on. The beet salad split in two. The very popular grilled cheese sandwich for Bob and the cochinita on baguette for me.
Now I can’t eat cochinita without thinking of the film where I first learned of the dish.
Once Upon A Time In Mexico isn’t a particularly good movie. Even though it has scenes of San Miguel, Guanajuato and Selma Hayek. But it has a subplot about Agent Sheldon Jeffrey Sands (as played by Johnny Depp) constantly ordering his favorite meal, Cochinita Pibil. In the drawled words of Agent Sands:
“It’s a slow-roasted pork, nothing fancy. It just happens to be my favorite, and I order it with a tequila and lime in every dive I go to in this country. And honestly, that is the best it’s ever been anywhere. In fact, it’s too good. It’s so good that when I’m finished, I’ll pay my check, walk straight into the kitchen and shoot the cook. Because that’s what I do. I restore the balance to this country.”
My usual San Miguel spots for plates of Cochinita Pibil are either La Posadita or La Casa Del Diezmo or, if I just want it on a taco, El Manantial. This was the first time I’d seen the dish offered on a baguette. I was helpless to order anything else.
Panio, the baker of the town’s very best baguette, is almost directly across the street from Fit&Pig. I was hoping they’d be Fit&Pig’s choice for their bread. They were.
The baguette was stuffed with fall-apart pork with those familiar Pibil flavors of orange, cumin and guajillo chiles.
“I use only the shanks and give them eight hours in the oven in my sauce”, chef Ricardo told me.
The addition of a slice of a provolone cheese really did “work” as Lucia had promised it would. On the side were homemade pickled onions and cukes and some crispy-skinned baby potatoes that had me thinking why do other restaurants even try to make French fries out of our local waxy whites. I had another sandwich to add to my San Miguel favorites list.
Globalphile Bob’s grilled cheese used to be served on plain white bread.
“It was good for nostalgia’s sake but people like the baguette better”, said Lucia.
There was a generous amount of white cheddar on the nicely browned baguette and the side of roasted tomato soup, picture-perfectly topped with dried herbs, was “an ideal accompaniment” according to Bob.
The menu at Fit&Pig is fairly limited and, as Bob Glaze warned, it would be almost impossible to eat a salad as big as the restaurant serves as well as one of their sandwiches. But I’ll be back. I want to try that tomato soup, I want to see how Fit&Pig’s Cubano sandwich compares with some of San Miguel’s torta shops, and Lucia Castro has hinted that the next time she serves me the cochinita, she may be able to side it with a beer.
I left Fit&Pig trying desperately to get the I Love Lucy theme out of my mind and with an instant fondness for Lucia and Ricardo and a strong desire to see them fulfill their dream. Now if only they’d called their restaurant Lucy & Ricky.
Fit&Pig is located at Salida a Celaya #24 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The restaurant is open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday; 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday; closed Monday. The restaurant does not currently offer delivery service.
You’ll find Bob Glaze’s food and travel blog at globalphile.com.