The only activity planned for Lent today was a vigil at San Felipe de Jesus, at the same church where the first vigil was held. This vigil was noticeably less attended than the first one. After all, there are 36 days worth of vigils and activities, so it makes sense for people to pace themselves.
In any case, for me, it was the opportunity to once again visit the church I love photograph more than any other church in or near Antigua. Yep, San Felipe Church.
Not a cloud in the sky…
Today’s vigil was in honor of Virgen de Dolores. Typically, these images are “role players” and carried in platforms – known as andas – behind images of Christ.
Small alfombra, too far away…
This was the least elaborate of the display I’ve seen so far. Its length made it difficult to see the rather small alfombra near the altar. Here’s a closeup of the altar:
I really need to get a zoom lens…
Other than the kid who was taking care of the display and touching it up, there were hardly 15 people there at any point in time.
Trimming candle wick
Traditional Guatemalan Food
Since we arrived at lunchtime, we figured we’d go have a traditional Guatemalan lunch at one of the places locals highly recommend for home-cooked meals in San Felipe – the aptly named “Comedor San Felipe”.
Pretty it ain’t…
Now, something to explain here. There are many places to eat in Antigua, from street stalls to high-end pretentious cuisine. Comedores are way down on the totem pole – sort of like greasy spoon diners.
The closest place to find comedores in Antigua are the ones at the Mercado – none there any local has ever recommended. When people mentioned this place, I half-expected a small restaurant, not actually a comedor, which is the sort of place I normally don’t go to unless recommended to me, as was the case with this one.
Decorations? This place really didn’t have any. But clean it was, which is more important than dusty plants or old, faded paintings.
Simple tables and benches at Comedor San Felipe
In the back of the kitchen, the owner and her assistants prepared the ingredients for the stews, which were later to be cooked right out front, next to the lady preparing the blue-corn tortillas.
Front of the restaurant
The place was fairly big and even though there wasn’t much activity in town that day, a stream of people kept coming into the place.
We sat down and ordered off the menu of the day. All dishes are Q35 and include sides, tortillas and a drink, which that day meant tasty horchata (rice drink). Other drinks can be ordered for an additional cost.
Sorry dear, no soda for you
Wife and I ordered the traditional regional stew, pepian de gallina (spicy beef stew) and carne asada for our daughter. By the way, I have to make a note here. When ordering chicken dishes, you’ll sometimes see something-something de gallina or such-and such de pollo. Well, what’s a gallina? Chicken. What’s a pollo? Chicken. In English there isn’t a distinction between the two, but in cuisine, absolutely.
A pollo, what most of us consume in the US, is a chicken that has reached full size (takes about two months, less if being pumped with hormones and chemicals). A gallina is when that chicken has been allowed to reach full maturity – usually five months. It’s like talking veal and beef.
Is there a difference between the two? Some people swear there is – I can’t tell. What is different is the texture – gallina meat is a lot tougher than pollo is, something that leads to ridiculous reviews online when people complain that the chicken in their caldo de gallina (chicken stew) is somehow too tough. It’s supposed to be that way. If you want your chicken to be tender, make sure pollo is what you order, not gallina. unless you’re ready to duke it out with your meat.
Pepian at Comedor San Felipe
The pepian de gallina was good – wife agreed, though my only complaint was that the stew wasn’t hot enough temperature wise, just lukewarm. The carne asada was great though, really tender and tasty and one of the best I’ve had in any of the cheap places I’ve been to. I’d probably order that next time around.
Carne asada at Comedor San Felipe
After leaving stuffed, we headed to Mercado San Felipe next door to pick up some sweets.
Lots to choose from…
Tomorrow is back to Santa Catarina Bobadilla to catch the procession – the first of the season! – leaving Sunday at 11:00 am.
More traditional Guatemalan dishes here!
Have you visited San Felipe yet?
How was it? Share below!