Many cultures have a thing for handheld, pastry-wrapped savory pies. In England, the half moon–shaped bundle is called a pasty. In South America and much of Mexico, they’re “empanadas.” But in Hidalgo, Mexico, the snack goes by “paste” because it was introduced by British silver miners.
Last year, Hildago native Jorge Santana, his wife, and two friends brought the goods to Aurora via their small shop named Los Pastes. Tucked into a strip mall off South Parker Road, the eatery sells nine varieties of the baked goods (plus breakfast and dessert versions). All are crafted from family recipes. Choose two or three turnovers ($2.50 apiece), and combine them with a soup or salad (also $2.50) for a bargain of a meal.
On a chilly night not long ago, I ordered a bowl of posole, a traditional Mexican soup made with hominy and shredded chicken. Santana advised me to garnish the soup with a sprinkle of oregano and a dollop of salsa roja for depth. For my pastes, I chose beef and potato, chorizo and black bean, and chicken mole (my favorite of the bunch). Two house-made salsas—a standard red and a verde—made for perfect dipping sauces. The pastes’ crusts were thinner and doughier than that of other empanadas I’ve had, but Santana said he and his co-owners use the monikers interchangeably.
My meal left me plenty full, so I took dessert—a smaller paste filled with a sweet rice pudding called arroz con leche—to go. When I indulged later that evening, I decided I didn’t care what the treat was called. Pasty, paste, or empanada—I’ll be back for more. 3140 S. Parker Road, Aurora, lospastes.com.