The road to San Miguel de Allende from Guanajuato (or the airport in Leon) passes through what literally feels like the middle of nowhere in Mexico’s high desert. But just when you think this part of the world is completely barren and deserted, you’ll pass through a tiny hillside village called La Sauceda. Blink, and you’ll miss it. There’s no sign announcing the city limits or even the name of the town. But you’ll know you’re here when you see dozens of outdoor cafes lining the side of the highway, each advertising one or two specialties of the casa: “Tortas!” “Gorditas!” “Tamales!” “Tacos!” etc.
Roll down your window and slow down. Then stop the car, get out, and follow your nose. My favorite pitstop here is La Flor, whose specialty is gorditas — big, fat, puffy corn tortillas that are hollow in the middle, like pita, stuffed with your choice of all sorts of amazing options. Chicken en mole, green chiles and potatoes, barbacoa, carnitas… Expect to pay $5 to $10 to eat very, very well.
Across the street is a place called Buffet Dońa Chuy, where a dozen clay pots crowd the counter, each filled with a different type of stew: chorizo and potatoes, chorizo and beans, chopped beef and chilies, chicken in red chili adobo… Grab a plate and start helping yourself. The price, about $5, is inclusive of all you can eat. As soon as you start loading your plate, the woman behind the counter will throw some fresh tortillas on the griddle for you.
This article originally appeared in Mexico Today. For more travel inspiration and photos, I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.