Have you ever had a pupusa? My pupusa cherry was popped last month after a visit to El Patio Salvadoran restaurant in the Mission (SF). What is a pupusa, exactly? It’s like a flour pancake filled with stuff, such as cheese and/or meat, and grilled. More importantly, it is delicious.
El Patio Restaurant is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a family-run feel and very affordable dishes. I liked that the decor was mix of kitsch (glossy red hearts — it was the day after Valentines day) and traditional Mayan paintings and sculptures.
I was feeling adventurous, especially with MA, my friend and guide-to-all-things-Latino, at my side. Thus, I not only ordered 2 pork and cheese pupusas, but also the atol de elote, which is listed as a soup but which MA informed me is usually served as a drink. A really, really thick drink that is ingested with a spoon. I loved it — it was creamy and thick like corn chowder, but also sweet with a hint of cinnamon like horchata. It was the perfect thing for a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon.
Of course, I couldn’t resist the offer to try some of MA and AJ’s fried plantains. YUM.
*This post is dedicated to the original El Patio of my heart — El Patio Loco in Chapel Hill, NC which is sadly no longer in business. When my friends told me the news last year, I was so stunned that I might have taken a moment of silence. Even though El Patio Loco called itself a Mexican restaurant, they didn’t just serve tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. They also served (and introduced me to) fried plantains and fried yucca. Their real fruit juice margaritas and amazing, home-cooked style lunch specials made El Patio Loco one of the only reasons I actually miss Chapel Hill. And it makes me sad to know that it’s no longer there. RIP, El Patio Loco.