The light at the end of the tunnel is just out of sight, and with the walls all closing in at once near the end of another semester, it’s important to remember to eat something to keep your strength and faculties functioning.
Yes, winter is coming with the holidays in tow, and money is as scarce as time, but make your way to Pupuseria Salvadorena at 1403 Maple Ave. in between classes for a quick and affordable lunch or to-go order of pupusas to provide the sustenance and nourishment needed to keep you going.
The resurant is obscurely located on Maple Avenue, a one-way street adjacent to Hwy 12 between a 7-Eleven and a carniceria. It’s worth the drive, despite the tight parking lot.
A parking hack would be to head west at the streetlight on Maple and immediately get into the left hand lane, turn on your signal and slide into the always-vacant parking lot underneath the freeway. From there, it’s just a couple hundred feet across the street toward 7-Eleven for your salvation.
Calling ahead of time at (707) 544-3141 can also increase your efficiency on return time to campus for your next set of classes.
Your salvation is called a pupusa. The Salvadoran dish, approximately a 6-inch diameter, is made with an outside shell of masa de maiz, similar to a tamale.
The insides, which can be made of a variety of ingredients, become infused to the masa dough as the cooks pat them back and forth like a person playing patty-cake for one. Cooked in an iron skillet until golden brown on each side, they are melt-your-to-go container hot.
Eat with a fork, or just rip pieces off and enjoy dunking each nibble into one of the two delightful accompanying salsas: one red with the smoke of sweet peppers and a small touch of a mild serrano-like heat, yet an enjoyable achievement for the heat intolerant; the other green with a spicy tomatillo, unstrained, coulis-like salsa that counters its warm red companion with a zen-like duality.
Curtido, served in a plastic sandwich bag to-go and in a bowl for the eat-in customers, is a spicy crisp cabbage coleslaw reminiscent of kimchi, yet designed from Central American stores. It is light with the perfect amount of spice to introduce to the taste buds between bites, or in the same chomp, as your pupusa.
The menu at Pupuseria Salvadorena offers seven varieties of pupusas to choose from, including other inspired, simple and well-executed creations, like prawns diablo.
The food is all handmade fresh daily, and it is truly only made once your order is walked through the swinging kitchen door.
It’s a frugal investment with a large return at only $2.50 per pupusa, and two seems to be enough to feed most folks. If you are “hangry” or in need of an afternoon calorie redemption meal, you might try to eat four: two pork, bean and cheese, and two spinach, squash and cheese.
Don’t let the coming of winter dampen your days. Hit the Pupuseria for some hot fresh handmade goodness any time of year when your budget, battery or both are running low, or you just want to escape and enjoy comfort food from another country.