Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Juanita's Pupuseria

Juanita's Pupuseria Restaurant
Because my wife and I were apart on Valentine's Day yesterday, we celebrated a few days early and went off on a date while our daughter was in school. Our daughter almost ruined those plans be conning a teacher into believing she was sick enough that I had to be called to bring her home. As it turned out, it was simply a case of eating too much lunch and then running too hard at recess immediately afterwards. Daughter was forced to take a nap and not play the rest of the afternoon since she was 'sick' in an effort to nip that behavior off at the bud and she went to school cheerfully on Friday morning.

My wife and I walked her to school and then hit the road for a full day date in a neighboring town where we are in the process of relocating too because of my wife's job. We did some shopping for some supplies, got the batteries replaced in my watch and checked out a small but pretty neat airpower museum a few miles outside of town. I will try to write about that in a later post because on this post I want to talk about lunch.

I've lived relatively near this town my entire life. I was born thirty miles away, my parents though living 50 miles away, shopped there because it was about the nearest place from the farm with shopping available. Then after a stint in college and seven years of jobs that took me away, I ended up living just twenty miles away from it. I say this to show that I am no stranger to the town and thought I knew of all the places one might eat there. But in an effort to broaden my taste bud horizons, I did some internet searching and found a place that I had never eaten at. As it turned out, it was actually in a town another thirty miles away and I hadn't noticed that. Fortunately, I had written down a second place named Juanita's Pupuseria as a backup.

Although I knew the address and knew about where it was, I for the life of me couldn't picture it. In fact, we drove by twice before I finally spotted the bright orange store front you see at the top of this post. Begs to be discovered but in the urban clutter of the street, it was hard to spot. You will have to take my word on that since I didn't get a wider shot of the area.

The restaurant was the very definition of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You walk in the door and the entire place was only ten feet wide and maybe forty feet deep. Half of the eight feet was an enclosed kitchen, counter and food prep area and there were a half a dozen booths on the opposite walls. That was it. A younger me would have just probably turned and walked out but the older me said, heck, Columbus took a chance and so perhaps should I. We were also the only people in the place beside Juanita, her husband, son and grandson.

Pupusas Revueltas
We sat down and the son came over to greet us. Since this was El Salvadorian cuisine, one that I have never tried, I asked the son what he recommended. He immediately pointed to the list of pupusas which were in the appetizer section. They are a thick, hand-made corn tortilla filled with cheese and cooked pork, fried and served with some sort of cabbage like slaw and salsa. We ordered one serving to split between us and that turned out to only be one pupusa despite the picture showing four of them on the menu and it was probably just as well. They were heavenly but had we gotten the four I had thought we were ordering, I certainly wouldn't have been able to finish my lunch.

Camarones En Salsa Roja Con Arroz y Frijoles
Lunch for me was shrimp in spicy red sauce with rice and beans. It tasted as good as it looks and came with a couple more hand-made corn tortillas that I used to shovel things to my fork and mop up the juice.

Mojarra Frita Con Arroz Y Frijoles
Lunch for my wife was a fried tilapia also served with rice and beans. The fried skin and delicate meat tasted amazing with a forkful of rice and beans and I can tell that honestly since I stole a forkful of her meal.

So we found a new place to eat in our future home town and I'm pretty excited. I can't wait to order a few more of those pupusas when I am close to home so I don't have to worry about them sitting in a car for the rest of the day while we held our Valentine's Day date.

El Salvadorian Artwork


R. Sherman said...

Those dishes look and sound really good. I've never had El Salvadoran cuisine. I suppose I'm guilty of thinking all food south of the Rio Grande is essentially Mexican. My bad.


Ed said...

R. Sherman - Actually i think that you are right that food south of the Rio Grande is similar, at least as far as I have explored. If you don't count the pupusas which I have never heard of, the rest of the meal I have eaten before at Mexican restaurants and even written about it here.

Vince said...

Frankly those colours are designed to recede in strong light. It's why you rarely see yellow in the summertime. So it's blessed wonder you saw the place at all. They need to trim the place in red, like the way red pops in autumn.

It looks a good meal all the same. Do you know why they divide the plate vertically.

Ed said...

Vince - I don't know but now that you mention it, it seems common practice among many of the Latin American restaurants I have eaten at over the years.

Vince said...

Yeah remarkable as it is for us to think orange or yellows as soothing, but they are earth tones. Think NewMexico

R Johnson said...

pupusas was a complete revelation to me. At the opening picture, I began to speculate what would be sold at a pupusaria. Now I look forward to seeing one in the flesh (or cabbage, or whatever)