HIGHWAY 5 SOUTH ●BUTTONWILLOW
Kern National Wildlife Refuge Exit 278, 10811 Corcoran Rd., about 20 mi. N of town, in Delano. Kern County is dubbed "America's Birdiest Inland County."
Tule Elk State Natural Reserve Exit 253, about 5 mi. S of town. This small herd of tule elk is near extinction. The elk are most active from late summer to early autumn, which is mating season, and you’ll sometimes see males lock antlers then. Pack along your binoculars.
Exit 257. A complex of services appears here after a particularly desolate stretch of road heading south.
Taste of India 20687 Tracy Ave., (661) 764-6464. Outside it looks a bit forlorn and faded; inside, the large open room is decorated in too much red. I did find myself wondering how the turban-wearing Indian owner found himself in this remote spot. You can choose the level of spiciness, and I’ve heard good reports about the naan, chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, malai kofta, and saag panir. I intend to try the samosas next time. Wraps are a specialty and good for take-out. It is good to know that this spot has an official “A” cleanliness rating, and the air conditioning provides cool relief from the road.
Tita's Pupuesria 20643 Tracy Ave. Choose from either this comfortable, clean fast food-style restaurant, with air conditioned inside tables as well as an outside patio—or the Lunch Box Truck (Lonchera) with a more limited menu that is set up on the other side of the motel for truckers in a hurry (it sometimes moves and offers only sheltered outdoor picnic tables). Authentic freshly made Salvadorian 6-inch pupusas are the specialty (they are made with thick hand-shaped corn tortilla base and filled with soft cheese (queso) and choice of ground meat paste. The pork and cheese filling is popular, and I can attest that the bean and cheese is delicious. They are served with salsa and chips and a traditional bucket of curtido cabbage slaw. Portions are large, and prices are small. The menu is extensive and includes good enchiladas and tacos (the chile verde is very good) as well as hamburgers, and tortillas are handmade. Table service is available, but many people just order at the counter then seat themselves.