Friday, March 12, 2010

lame pictures, great night

So last night combined two of my favorite things- old friends and awesome ethnic foods. I spent the afternoon catchin’ up with two of my friends and then Patty (er, he’s a boy, but we call him Patty… long story) and I went out to dinner.

Recycled picture, but aw yay old friends:

patty n lyddie n me

I look a bit skinny in that pic (taken around Christmastime)… which is making me feel better about all the fried food I ate!

So my friend has been caught in the culinary wasteland that is the University of Kansas. I love love love my neighborhood because of the abundance of cheap, authentic, hole-in-the-wall, yet delicious ethnic establishments.

Last night Yelp led us to Pupuseria El Buen Gusto, which I highly recommend to Northern Virginians.

The scene: 


There were like three booths total. We elected to sit at the counter, where we got to enjoy the show (sorry for the blur):


Everything was made to order, cooked either on the big griddle or the deep fryer. I stuck my arm out behind the counter to get this shot of the kitchen and pupusa making station:


Bare bones, e h? That dough in the forefront is the masa harina dough that makes the pupusas. When they made ours, we watched her smush everything together. It. was. awesome.

Okay so first:


We watched the guy make these. Take tortillas. Cut into strips. Deep fry. Salt.

Subliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime. I am a beast around hot fresh tortilla chips.

Then, oh my heart:


Plantains! It’s funny cause literally the day before I’d gotten an intense craving for plantains (well honestly I kind of just always have an intense craving for plantains. They are one of my favorite foods). But these were sooooooooooooooooo good. Also in the big ol’ fryer. The sour cream I ignored but those beans? Oh em gee.

I know I am prone to exaggeration and caps lock in this blog and it really annoys me. But they were literally THE BEST beans I have ever had. They for sure had some kind of smokey meat in them (oops!) but they were succulent and moist and rich and smoky and complex and deep and wow wow wow wow wow I want to eat them again.

But like, hello, this place was a pupuseria. That’s what we came for! (It was funny, actually- it said outside “Pupuseria and Salvadoran and Mexican Restaurant”, and the gringos- like us, heh- who came in tended to get fancy fajitas and steaks and so on which were like $13, whereas the actual Salvadoran people came in and got pupusas, which were $2 each! So I wanted to eat like the actual Salvadorans!)  

I got two cheese and loroco pupusas.


Pupusas are always served with curtido, which is sort of a Latin American coleslaw. I love how like every single culture has some kind of sour cabbage dish. Last summer at the camp I worked at one of the mothers made this for our picnic on the last day. It was fab!


Loroco is a kind of flower. It’s sort of yummy and plant-y. And just lookit the oozing cheese!


They were so incredibly filling and hearty and delicious. Between all the other goodies, my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach, and I took my second pupusa home. Leftovers, yessssss!

So we just sat at the counter and talked for like two hours- and we are both total foodies so it was a lot of recipe swapping- and also enjoyed the whole dinner theater experience with a front row view of the grill. Excellent, excellent evening.


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty said...

Looks like a FANTASTIC dinner! I love it when the chips come still warm!! :)

Rachana Kothari said...

The combination of good old friends and ethnic food is simply Wow!!!! The dinner looks great:)
Have a great weekend!

MelindaRD said...

Thanks, I always wondered what papusas were sine I saw them all over the place in Vegas.

Ana said...

Yumm!! I love plantains, they are a typical side dish in Colombia, I can never get enough of them.

Thanks for the awesome bread recipes! Happy Friday!

From Here to There. In Purple. said...

i love pittsburgh for its 'hole in the wall' delicious restaurants, yummay.

have a WONDERFUL weekend. You deserve it :)

Maya said...

LOVED meeting you tonight! I come to my grandparent's house at least once a month in Fairfax, so we'll have to get together again soon! Pupusas are crazy delicious. But how could thick, got bread stuffed with cheese not be good?

Andrea @ said...

Wow this is like a foodie's dream! So many amazing foods! Glad you enjoyed yourself. Have a great weekend!

Molls said...

wow that papusas sounds fabulous.. i had never heard of them ever before... but wow looks fab!

glad you had such a fun meet up and dinner!!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you need just good ole filling comfort food! Looks awesome!!

La said...

Helllllllllloooo authentic hole in the wall restaurants :) Looks amazing... I live in NY, Mecca of Food, and I want to come to Virginia and eat there!

So glad I'm not the only person who loves to sit at the counter and watch the action!!!