Salivation from El Salvador--Just a few days after I asked you to help a homesick Alibi reader find Salvadoran cuisine in the 505, my e-mail and answering machine were flooded with your tips. Some had only driven by, curious but too cautious to try this exotic "El Salvadorean" cuisine. (There's nothing to fear--but it is pronounced "Salvadoran.") Some of you are devoted pupusa-heads with a fortnightly habit. Thanks for your excellent tips! Everyone who piped up will get a pass good for two people at Laffs Comedy Club in Albuquerque.
Apparently, there's one Salvadoran family-owned place in Albuquerque called Pupuseria y Restaurant Salvadoreño. It's been on the corner of Goff and Bridge SW since November, and it's open everyday until 9 p.m., except Sunday.
"On Sunday mornings this little restaurant is jammed with Salvadorans who head for the pupuseria after church for huevos Salvadoreños, tamales and other specialties of their country. We go at least every other week," said one hardcore fan. Why? "The Salvadoran students who have joined our family while learning English at UNM need a pupusa fix."
In Santa Fe, several people had positive things to say about La Carreta at 2900 Cerrillos Road (505-471-3678). Oddly enough, it used to be attached to the Days Inn motel on Cerrillos, but has since moved to a new building. "This is a top-notch place. Not only great pupusas but the other food is quite yummy as well." You advise boning up on your Spanish before heading out, though.
You also mentioned El Tesoro, located in the Sanbusco Marketplace. El Tesoro serves a mix of "yuppie food," like goat cheese salads and traditional Salvadoran items like pupusas.
Reviews were equally mixed, from enthusiastic to so-so. "This place got far more publicity but is not nearly as good. The pupusas there are fine, I guess, but anyone with any interest in Salvadoran food should go to La Carreta."
Lastly, Café Pasqual's (121 Don Gaspar, 505-983-9340) has a pupusa on their dinner menu, though it doesn't specialize in Salvadoran cuisine specifically.
El Salvador sits on the Pacific side of Central America, with Honduras and Guatemala directly bordering it. The typical Salvadoran diet is heavy on corn, yucca, plantains, beans and rice, which are combined into a variety of stewed, baked and fried foods.
I featured one such recipe last week, under the title of "Salvadoran Turnovers." Turns out the actual name for these vegetable- and meat-stuffed cornmeal pies is pasteles. The family of Salvadoran exchange students had this to offer: "Pasteles are best topped with 'cortido,' which is a very fresh cabbage slaw made with tomatoes, radish and lemon juice. Both Amilcar and Memé's mothers used to make pupusas and pasteles and sell them on the street in San Salvador."