To be honest, I’m not a huge meat eater. Yet, I’m not a vegetarian either. I will splurge every once in a while on a “meat feast” and one of my favorite places to go is a little known restaurant perched on the side of the road on the way to Lake Atitlán.
La Colina is little more than a wooden shack and that is precisely what’s so delightful about it. Pulling off to the side of the road, you step out into the crisp, cool air, greet the family and order the traditional plate of juicy chorizo. In moments the air beneath the little wooden shelter fills with a hearty smoke, rich with the succulent smells of the sausage. The meal arrives on a wooden plate with grilled potato, grilled spring onions, black beans, and Guatemala’s infamously pungent cheese. Lime, salsa, salt and picante are also provided to garnish the meal to your liking. Of course, freshly made tortillas are part of the experience. But, these tortillas are extra special – they’re my favorite, the blue ones! I always order the rich, cinnamon flavored hot chocolate to warm my hands and my belly as I impatiently wait for my food. I delight in the little clay cups that the hot chocolate comes in – formed in an ancient shape meant to lock in the warmth.
I first discovered La Colina when a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go out for lunch. Thinking he meant eating out in a restaurant here in La Antigua Guatemala (LAG), I obliged and had no idea I was up for the wonderful little road trip, little more than a half hour outside La Antigua. The drive to get there is just as much a part of the experience. Every once in a while it is nice to escape the colonial town of LAG and venture out into the surrounding rolling hills. The road winds up and around until you suddenly find yourself passing through small mountains, with valleys dipping below a sky blanketed in puffy clouds that appear close enough to caress.
text and photos by Laura McNamara
© 2009 – 2020, Laura McNamara. All rights reserved.