What: The queso y frijoles pupusa
Where: El Salvador Café, 1751 N. Sunrise Way, #F2
How much: $2.95
Why: It’s stunningly simple but flavorful.
We were bummed out. The front end of my car had been smooshed up in an accident a couple of days prior, and we were on our way to an auto-body shop for an insurance-mandated damage assessment.
But first … we needed a tasty lunch—and, if possible, a good cheer-up. Thankfully, El Salvador Café was able to provide us with both.
I’d been craving pupusas—thick corn tortillas stuffed with some sort of filling—after seeing them on a travel-food show recently, so in addition to the plato de antojitos ($11.50, including plantains, meat cakes, a bean and cheese pupusa and a Salvadoran-style enchilada), we also ordered a steak and cheese pupusa ($3.95) and a shrimp and cheese pupusa ($3.95).
Both the steak and shrimp pupusas were good, as were the plantains, meat cakes and the Salvadoran-style enchilada (which is something akin to a Mexican tostada). However—much to our surprise—the favorite thing we had was the bean-and-cheese pupusa.
It doesn’t get much simpler than beans, cheese and tortillas—but simple, in this case, meant delicious. I’ll be honest: I am not sure why the bean pupusa rang our figurative bells while the steak and shrimp pupusas didn’t quite reach that level (even though they were both enjoyable). My best guess is that the flavor of the earthy, savory beans just melded better with the subtle sweetness of the corn tortillas and the creaminess of the cheese.
But really … it doesn’t matter why they were so fantastic. Thanks in large part to the bean-and-cheese pupusa, we left El Salvador Café with happy taste buds, a full tummy and decidedly better dispositions—that’s what matters.