Salvadoran food, like much Hispanic food, often gets lumped with Mexican food and it is a shame. Sure, people know was a pupusa is, but it usually ends there. This is not the case at Atlacatl, a Salvadoran restaurant in the Wilshire Center district of LA that sits all at once next to Koreatown, Downtown and Silverlake. At Atlacatl, Salvadoran is the name of the game and there is no pandering to that subset of people looking for a burrito.
While down at the Grand Central Market, my girlfriend (that’s for you, Joel) remembered she had seen one of the stalls on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on The Food Network. This stall was Sarita’s Pupuseria, which specializes in…wait for it…pupusas! You know, everyone’s favorite Salvadoran food. I am a huge fan of pupusas and while I may not know what Salvadorans look for in terms of a good pupusa, I know what this unvegan likes. The pupusa featured on that show was the basic bean and cheese, so we ordered one to split just to find out if it could hit the list of the best things we ever ate.
I’m not the kind of guy who judges a book by its cover. So just because a restaurant looks good on the outside doesn’t mean the food will actually taste good. But there is at least one exception and that is Flor de Izote. Located at the sketchy end of North Hollywood, I took one look at this place and knew it would be awesome. Why? Orange! Everywhere. The entire exterior was orange and so was the interior. And not surprisingly, I was wearing orange that day, so I was pretty much camouflaged. So yes my favorite color is orange, and hell yes I was excited to get down with some food in an orange room.
In a stretch of Culver City on Washington, there is an interesting little building that always seems to be busy. It is both a nightclub and a Salvadoran restaurant and it is called El Baron. One night we decided to pick up some dinner from that odd little place to see what they had to offer. The menu has an interesting mix of Mexican and Salvadoran fare, but I feel like I can get good Mexican food all over LA and decided to go the Salvadoran route.
Tonight I ate dinner at Gloria’s Cafe in the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles. Gloria’s specializes in Mexican and Salvadoran food and was recommended by a friend of mine. When I walked in, I saw someone had a bowl of soup with entire crab legs hanging out of it. I knew this was my kind of place. I was told that this was the Sopa de 7 Mares. Aside from that, they have quite an impressive menu with your typical Mexican fare of tacos quesadillas and such, enhanced with Salvadoran Pupusas. Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that a Latin American restaurant can never be just simply Peruvian or Salvadoran, etc…? There always has to be Mexican involved in some way. It’s similar with Asian restaurants. You can never seem to find a Cambodian or Vietnamese restaurant unless it also has Thai, Chinese or Japanese food.