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Pupusa Search: Victory on Imperial!

Still thinking about real pupusas -- okay, dreaming of real pupusas -- so last night I took my own advice: Go to the source.

Well, not quite El Salvador itself. But I happened to be up Imperial Avenue way, Grant Hill, at 25th.

Decided to take a hike east. Whistling “Singing in the Rain,” natch. Knew it was somewhere up here. I pass 26th, 27th, a couple of carnicerias, iglesias, mostly houses with dark little gardens.

Cross 28th…aha!

There, glowing in the dark like a mothership from beyond the clouds, she sits. El Salvadoreño. Pupusa Central.

Image

Kinda varnished golden inside. Looking warm, dry, and, even with it being a rainy Wednesday night and all, abuzz. Not packed, but no way empty either.

Inside it’s all varnished timber, gold-brown paint with green columns and painted ropes kinda lassoing each wall.

Image

Plus, huge black-and-white photos of places like the presidential palace in San Salvador.

A Bible’s open at a page highlighting a text. Wooden plaque has been chiseled to say “Welcome, Bienvenidos!”

Image

Francisco, the welcoming waiter

Luis, a Salvadoreño chowing with a bunch of gringo friends, says this is definitely the best pupusa place in town. And because it’s late (gone eight), I order what he’s having.

Also because it looks so fabulous. Big square platter loaded with pupusas, tamales, enchiladas, sour cream, frijoles, fried sweet plantain bananas, and yucca.

Not cheap. It’s the $16.99 sampler platter. But I figure this is for two, and I’ll take most of it home.

Image

Sampler platter

Image

Pork and cheese pupusas

Image

Chicken enchilada

Image

Yucca (cassava) fries

Image

Pork tamal

Image

Plantains

Image

Curtido (fermented cabbage) side

It’s all delish, specially the pork-and-cheese pupusa. Thick, generously stuffed oval tortilla, basically. Tang it up with a touch of salt and dip it in the sour cream…heaven.

Also, the deep-fried ground-beef pastel. Actually, most everything is fried. They have hot sauces in bottles, but as Francisco says, heat’s not a Central American thing.

I eat maybe a third, plus glug a nice bottle of Salvadorean Goya Cola Champagne soda ($2.25).

Image

He heh. Long as I can get it home through this rain, me and Carla’s got a midnight feast a-comin’.

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Still thinking about real pupusas -- okay, dreaming of real pupusas -- so last night I took my own advice: Go to the source.

Well, not quite El Salvador itself. But I happened to be up Imperial Avenue way, Grant Hill, at 25th.

Decided to take a hike east. Whistling “Singing in the Rain,” natch. Knew it was somewhere up here. I pass 26th, 27th, a couple of carnicerias, iglesias, mostly houses with dark little gardens.

Cross 28th…aha!

There, glowing in the dark like a mothership from beyond the clouds, she sits. El Salvadoreño. Pupusa Central.

Image

Kinda varnished golden inside. Looking warm, dry, and, even with it being a rainy Wednesday night and all, abuzz. Not packed, but no way empty either.

Inside it’s all varnished timber, gold-brown paint with green columns and painted ropes kinda lassoing each wall.

Image

Plus, huge black-and-white photos of places like the presidential palace in San Salvador.

A Bible’s open at a page highlighting a text. Wooden plaque has been chiseled to say “Welcome, Bienvenidos!”

Image

Francisco, the welcoming waiter

Luis, a Salvadoreño chowing with a bunch of gringo friends, says this is definitely the best pupusa place in town. And because it’s late (gone eight), I order what he’s having.

Also because it looks so fabulous. Big square platter loaded with pupusas, tamales, enchiladas, sour cream, frijoles, fried sweet plantain bananas, and yucca.

Not cheap. It’s the $16.99 sampler platter. But I figure this is for two, and I’ll take most of it home.

Image

Sampler platter

Image

Pork and cheese pupusas

Image

Chicken enchilada

Image

Yucca (cassava) fries

Image

Pork tamal

Image

Plantains

Image

Curtido (fermented cabbage) side

It’s all delish, specially the pork-and-cheese pupusa. Thick, generously stuffed oval tortilla, basically. Tang it up with a touch of salt and dip it in the sour cream…heaven.

Also, the deep-fried ground-beef pastel. Actually, most everything is fried. They have hot sauces in bottles, but as Francisco says, heat’s not a Central American thing.

I eat maybe a third, plus glug a nice bottle of Salvadorean Goya Cola Champagne soda ($2.25).

Image

He heh. Long as I can get it home through this rain, me and Carla’s got a midnight feast a-comin’.

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