To Michigan, to Chicago, to Texas, to California.
And back to Texas, late last night, on a delayed flight that was nevertheless smooth and enjoyable because I love Southwest. No baggage fees? Line up to board in numerical order, with no cheating allowed? Yay!
But at one point just a few weeks ago, we were in Detroit. Where Logan found a great little Salvadoran joint in an alley off a potholed road.
He drove me there one snowy day so we could eat many pupusas together, and drink some of the freshest-tasting agua de tamarindo (Tamarind juice!) I've ever had.
Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, Logan had to field a lot of phone calls during lunch. The life of a movie guy.
I nibbled on a corner of the menu while I waited.
When he returned, we ordered a sizeable chunk of the offerings. Curtido, a lightly fermented cabbage pickle sweetened with carrot and sharpened with oregano, arrived quickly, alongside a water bottle filled with bright orange salsa.
Curtido is a staple of Salvadoran food, and comes in many roughly similar varieties. Its nice sour crunch cuts through the richness of many Salvadoran dishes, which are often heavy on the masa and either griddled or deep-fried.
Main dishes started arriving quickly. First up, our tamal de elote, a soft, airy steamed sweet corn tamale, served next to a pool of crema salvadorena. Think creme fraiche, or a less aged, lighter sour cream. We also tried the pork tamale, which was moist and meaty and a nice counter to the almost desserty tamal de elote.
And then, the main body of our meal arrived. We ordered ourselves three pupusas and a large dish of pasteles.
Pupusas, if you haven't had the pleasure, are basically thick stuffed griddled pancakes of masa. We ordered them filled with various combinations of cheese, refried beans, porky chicharrones, and loroco, a plant with edible flowers and buds that grows throughout Central America.
Pasteles (or pastelitos), on the other hand, are savory achiote-dyed pockets of masa usually filled with beef or chicken. The meaning of the word varies from country to country and quite often will mean a sweet cake. Oh, you wacky El Salvador, changing the meaning of pasteles on us. Har.
These pasteles came with their very own curtido, this one a more vinegary, more finely chopped version textured with cucumber and tomato.
Yup - that means basically what we have here is dumplings of two different types (flattened and grilled or fried and puffy) served with cabbage pickles! Again, what could appeal more to my Eastern European heart, eh?
Detroit, you are truly lucky to have this strange little hidden place serving some of the best pupusas I've eaten. Thank you for sharing them with me!
Pupuseria Restaurante Salvadoreno is at 3149 Livernois (more accurately off a little alley off of 3149 Livernois) in Detroit. 313.899.4020.