One of my favorites places in San Diego, and the one I miss the most, is a pupuseria near downtown called El Salvadoreno. What’s a pupusa? It’s a little pillow of cornmeal stuffed with cheese, meat, beans, or other delectable, which is fried on a griddle and served with salsa and a cabbage slaw called curtido. They’re a staple in El Salvador, but it seems many Central American and southern Mexico regions have their own variations. It’s one of my favorite foods on earth.
A few weeks ago, my friend DL moved from San Diego to Portland. He had been staying with us until he found his own apartment. After he found a place to live, he went back to SD to get his stuff and drive it back to Portland. He asked me if I wanted anything from San Diego while he was there and I said “just pupusas.” I wasn’t sure if he would actually follow through because I honestly couldn’t imagine how he could transport them from there to here. But. Where there’s a will…as they say.
Around midnight on a hot night, DL pulls up in his moving van/car stuffed to overflowing. Out comes a gigantic ice chest packed with ice and FORTY pupusas.
One problem, though: in the final leg of the journey, and due to one of Portland’s legendary potholes, the pupusas had slipped into the vast sea of ice water surrounding their perch in the ice chest. And the best laid plans…well, you can guess the rest. We spent the next half hour feverishly wiping them all down with paper towels to soak up the ice water. Then we rewrapped them in foil and tossed them in the freezer. Very little harm was done. Disaster averted.
So now we’ve been eating pupusas like crazy. Can’t think of something for dinner? How about pupusas? Out of fruit and bacon for breakfast? How about pupusas? Snack? Pupusa!
We have tried to make them before but our results were pretty inconsistent. We get the idea it’s a bit of an art, or at least takes some practice. If you’re up for it, recipes to get you started are here, here, and here. Note that I selectively screened these recipe recommendations because there are a lot of weird-looking pupusa/curtido recipes out there.
Let me know how they turn out.