Continuing our theme of tragically under-eaten at restaurants, this week we head to a Salvadorian restaurant that has probably never even showed up on your radar, even though you’ve probably driven by it about a million times. I know I have.
But one day I noticed it and I stopped. And I wanted to punch my own face for not stopping before. In my defense, the place kind of looks perpetually closed. I assure you, they’re open.
Located in a quaint little white-painted brick house on North Greenwood Ave. is the Pupuceria La Paz. Like I mentioned before, the place always looks closed even though the “open” sign says otherwise. I can’t ever remember seeing the place packed. Why? Because parking is in the rear. Oh. My mistake.
I remember eating at this location back when it was called Martinez something-or-another way back when, but since then that spot has fallen off of my radar. Now it is back on the screen with a giant bleeping red light.
The place feels like home. Well, maybe not your home, but at least a close friend’s home. Or maybe your grandma’s house. It is still a strange enough place to you that you don’t strip down and walk around in your undies, but it’s comfortable enough that you have to remind yourself to keep your shoes and socks on.
And sweet baby Batman are the people there nice or what? They just pamper the ever loving crap out of you. But the real magic is in the simple dishes coming out of mama’s kitchen.
This place is Salvadorian, that means they serve papusas. If you are unfamiliar with this dish, or you’ve just tuned in thereby missing our previous adventures dining in the style of El Salvador, then let me explain. Those who know what I’m talking about, just hum to your self for a few seconds. Papusas are sort of like the corn tortilla version of a pancake, which you then stuff with something yummy. Okay, you can stop humming now.
Couldn’t you have picked something other than “Afternoon Delight” to hum while waiting? Jeez.
Anyway, La Paz offers 3 different papusas: the queso, the queso con Loroco, and the Rebueltas. The queso is pretty self-explanatory, it a cheese filled papusa. This dish is simple and elegant. It’s perfect by itself, but once you dress it up with a little salsa roja and pickled cabbage, this simply pretty peasant girl has become the belle of the ball.
Now how could we possibly top that? Add delicate and vibrant edible flowers to it, of course. And Loroco are just that. Delicious little flowers from a vine. If that sounds a bit too wimpy for a manly man like you, ditch the flowers and dump some pork and beans on it. No, not the canned kind, dummy. I’m talking about some sexy slow roasted, shredded pork and perfectly seasoned refried beans. Now that dish is my favorite simply because it allowed me to make a pork-n-beans joke.
Based on a suggestion from my waiter, I had to try the tacos. I found the lingua to be okay, but the carne asada were spectacular. Also, be sure to try the chicken tamales. They’ll make you wish you were born and raised in El Salvador. Well, they made me feel like that anyway.
If you haven’t tried La Paz yet, what are you waiting for? Take notice of them and pull up a chair. They’ll be happy to see you.
Until next week, good eating to you and yours.