So last Sunday we were hankering for a big meal at about 8 am. We were talking about something that lead to craving cuban food - oh yeah, we were talking about Florida. One of our friends had gone to Florida on vacation with his friends from Michigan. We were discussing why anyone who lives in California would go to Florida. For me, I have family and friends there, but I haven't been in over two years. Anyway, we agreed how Miami has cuban food, and then we wanted cuban food.
So I had heard of Andre's, and I looked it up on the internet. I can't remember if it was not open on Sundays or if it didn't open for several hours. So I looked up other places. I looked up Latin American food, and I ended up picking El Salvadoreno by process of elimination. Every other place opened later or didn't exist anymore or was closed on Sundays.
So El Salvadoreno is in Logan Heights, 2851 Imperial Avenue. This is a new area for us. It is really close, and we liked what we were seeing - lots of potential later foder for food blogs. The mexican restaurant across the street from El Salvadoreno had this huge outdoor grill that they were grilling up chickens and stuff on, creating a whole lot of delicious smoke. But we still went in to El Salvadoreno.
So I think I read on the net that this place was in another building and it had to move to a bigger space due to popular demand, which was a good sign. So we walked in, and the whole dining room was wood panelling with a few salvadoran things on the walls. It seemed like what I might expect a restaurant in El Salvador to be. The kitchen was on the left. It was pretty small, but clean and bright, and the ladies in the kitchen looked like they knew how to cook up some good shit.
So the waiter seated us. He gave us the menu, which was one of those laminated ones with pictures. Usually that type of menu scares me, because touristy bad places tend to have them. I figured this cuisine is not very common in SD, so they probably wanted to cut down the ordering time by eliminating a lot of questions.
So I perused the whole menu, and there were lots of things that peaked my interest. But my mind and my stomach and my heart kept going back to one of the things that I first spotted on the menu. YUCA CON CHICHARONES. Oh god, I'm so hot (temperaturewise) but I am starting to salivate just thinking of this dish. So it was listed under the antojitos - appetizers. But from my experience, I figured it would be quite enough for a meal and maybe leftovers. So I got the steamed yuca.
The Food Pimp got a beef stew dish with beans and rice. Then we also got a pork pupusa and a cheese and jalapeno pupusa.
So first came the slaw and a mild smooth salsa and a hot chunkier salsa. They were both very good, and the slaw was excellent. It was hot and vinegary and yummy. We tried not to eat it all so we would have some for our pupusas and our entrees.
I looked into the kitchen, and I saw one of the women grabbing a handful of masa from a huge pile that was overflowing out of the top of the sandwich cooler. It was like the Blob masa style. So for those of you who don't know, pupusas are two hand rolled tortillas that sandwich whatever filling you order.
So our pupusas came pretty fast. We were really both expecting the pork pupusa to be the star, but we were wrong. The shredded pork okay, but not really exciting. Something about the cheese (I'm guessing queso ranchero?) and jalapeno pupusa was exciting. It was so good, yet simple. And with a little salsa, or a lot in the Food Pimp's case, and slaw, it was heaven in a tortilla sandwich.
So then my dish came. I think I came at the same time. (I rhymed!) Anyway, it was a big plate of yuca and big chicharones and shredded cabbage salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. So the yuca was nicely cooked. Tender and not yet falling apart. And the pork - OMG - the pork. It was big fat cubes of porky goodness. It had a thick layer of fat and an equally thick layer of meat on the other side. The fat was crispy and tender and the meat was crispy and meaty and soooooooooooo good. And then there were these pickled onion slices on top. They were the perfect foil to this starchy fatty meaty dish. And I had enough leftover for 1.5 more meals! I don't know if my heart is racing because I'm hot or because I'm thinking about this food.
So then the FP's dish came. He had this meaty rich beef stew with a chili sauce that was so smooth and flavorful in a very sophisticated way, much like the mild salsa. It was like something someone who has been to culinary school might learn to make. It was beautiful, and his beans and rice were delicious too. He kept commenting on how his refried beans were purple. They were perfectly seasoned. It was a wonderful breakfast - kinda like one of those magical scenes you see in a movie that are so sappy that you want to vomit all over yourself. That was what it was like.