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Grand Opening – Cantina El Gato Gordo

By Janice Zimolzak

Feed the Hungry’s annual fall event is a celebration of San Miguel de Allende’s culinary and musical cultures. Naturally, it takes place on a cobblestone street, but not just any cobblestone street: calle San Miguel is a privada, generally closed to the public, which winds through the mature and beautiful gardens behind the Instituto Allende.

Cantina El Gato Gordo on calle San Miguel
To benefit Feed the Hungry San Miguel
Sat, Oct 5, 6-9pm
Ancha de San Antonio 30

When you enter you will be met with such a profusion of vibrant shades of red, orange, green and blue that you couldn’t possibly be anywhere but Mexico. Your olfactory senses will be overcome by the aroma of roasting chilies, meats, veggies and just about anything one can stuff into a tortilla or wrap in a corn husk. Sumptuous salsas and tantalizing sweet and savory empanadas add to the flavor explosion. It wouldn’t be a fiesta without mariachis, street musicians, mojigangas, margaritas, tequilas, cervezas, vinos and a selection of flavorful aguas. Everything is included in your US$75 or 1,000-peso entry fee. Tickets are available at La Conexión, Solutions, online at or from any Feed the Hungry trustee or staff member. Get yours today.

Sixty percent of your ticket price is tax-deductible and will provide hot, nutritionally balanced meals to schoolchildren in the poorest of poor communities in the municipality of San Miguel. This year there will be a Feed the Hungry San Miguel booth where you can sample the quality and flavor of the food that we serve to the children in the Feed the Hungry school kitchens. You will be pleasantly surprised at how good these nutritious lunches taste.

The grand opening of Cantina El Gato Gordo is a newly featured cultural attraction at this, our third annual Calle San Miguel. Our Fat Cat may look like a tough guy but, typically, he is really a pussycat underneath that gruff exterior. So ladies don’t hesitate to pass through those swinging doors on October 5 and absorb the cantina atmosphere while you mingle with amigos new and old. Everyone is invited.

Want to know more about cantinas? The cantina custom actually began in Italy and Spain during the 19th century, when vintners spent endless hours in their cellars testing the fruits of their labor. Bread, cheese, friends, and card games were eventually included. The Spanish cantina evolved from the Italian word canteena, referring to the wine cellar or man-cave.

Hussong’s is the oldest cantina in Mexico. It was established in 1892, in Ensenada on the Baja California Peninsula by a German immigrant, living in the US. The cantina culture rapidly spread throughout the country and Mexico made it her own, furthering the man-cave tradition by forbidding entry to women and uniformed men – especially policemen. Hussong’s is also where Don Carlos Orozco concocted the first margarita in 1941and presented it to Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico. Once again, Mexico didn’t hesitate to make the margarita her signature cocktail, and they are now served in “Mexican Cantinas” in cities throughout the world.

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