It was a dark and stormy night.... no really, it was awful out. Sheets of rain, dark, and windy. Luckily for CocoCarina and I, it was the perfect night to try Santa Rosa's Pupuseria Salvadorena. Located in a tiny strip mall next to a 7-11, it's not necessarily the first place you would go for delicious food, but that's just what we found.
We decided to try Pupuseria Salvadorena because 1) it's the holiday season (post-xmas) and we are both super poor, and 2) it has had lots of recommendations on Yelp and in local news papers. I forgot that we were going to go there to review it, and ended up visiting the restaurant a few days prior to our visit. Both times I showed up in my full body rain suit, because our NorCal weather has been pretty damp for scooter riding, and neither time did it really bother anyone at the restaurant. YAY!
CocoCarina: Yes the weather that day was HORRIBLE... a torrential DOWN POUR! I don't know how Sonoma Bento braved the weather on her scoot scoot. Either way... we had something delicious to look forward to and the rain wasn't going to get in our way! I had been to the Pupuseria once before and was happy with my meal so I was pretty excited to go back. Especially because as Sonoma Bento said, it was the holiday season and we were both low on cash.
There are tons of different items to choose from on the menu, the most expensive is 12 dollars and the least is 50 cents. We ordered from the Antojitos Salvadorenos menu, which has items ranging from $1.75 to $7.00, most items at $2 each. A pupusa is like a stuffed tortilla. They hand make each pupusa to order here, so it is definitely not a fast food place. We waited about 15 minutes after our orders were placed for our food to arrive. It wasn't a bad wait since we were chatting, but keep that in mind if you are super hungry or show up on a busy weekend. Our server said that we can call in orders ahead next time, even if we plan on eating in the restaurant, to shorten the wait time. Good idea!
CocoCarina: As we glanced over the menu I was SHOCKED by the prices. I couldn't believe how affordable everything was, I was giddy! I like to order a few different items when I eat out because I like to try a bit of everything... Pupuseria Salvadorena was perfect for this... everything was so affordable I could get as many things as I wanted! Well just about!
I ordered the Horchata ($1.75), a sweetly spiced drink that was quite flavorful here at Pupuseria Salvadorena. The cinnamon flavor was very pronounced and it had a bit of a chalky texture, but was really quite good. It was sweeter than other Horchata I've tried, but the sweetness was great with the spicy food. They do not serve alcohol here.
CocoCarina and I both wanted to order the Tamal de Elote con Crema ($1.75), so to make sure we tried more things, she ordered it and I got something else. Good choice, Coco!
CocoCarina: Thanks Sonoma Bento! I was QUITE happy with my Tamal de Elote con Crema! It was sooo delicious I wanted to order it as an appetizer AND for dessert! Sooo yummy!
The Tamal de Elote con Crema ($1.75) was delicious! Moist, very fresh, great corn flavor, and sweet. You could totally order this for dessert.
I ordered the Empanada de Plantano con Frijol ($1.75) on the suggestion of the waitress. She said she liked the combination of the sweet plantain mash with the savory beans inside. I agree, this was really a winner. The Empanada was fried crisp on the outside, turning the plantain mash into almost a donut kind of crust, then the soft and fragrant plantain mash gave way to a smooth bean paste interior. Comfort food for sure!
CocoCarina: Sonoma Bento gave me a taste of her Empanada de Plantano con Frijol which was yummy but I'm still working on my liking for beans so this wouldn't be my first choice. But, having said that it was still pretty good... though not as good as my Tamal de Elote con Crema!
We ordered Pasteles de Pollo con Papa ($5) to share. These were like little chicken pot pies, but surrounded by corn meal dough instead of pastry dough. Inside was a mixture of chicken, green peppers, mashed potato, and a bit of tomato. These were great and they are also really good as leftovers!
CocoCarina: I actually really enjoyed these. They were a perfect compliment to my Pupusa de Queso. They tasted like chicken soup without the whole soupy part... pretty good and hearty!
We had to order Pupusas, of course! I had already tried the Pupusa de Chicharron, Queso y Frijol (tortilla stuffed with pork, cheese and beans, $2.50) on my previous visit, so this time I ordered the Pupusa de Queso con Loroco ($2.25). Loroco is a flower bud that is used in Salvadoran cooking. I thought it might be similar to a caper, as they are both immature flower buds, but its flavor was very mild, similar to cooked zucchini. I loved the melted cheese inside and ate it with generous splashes of green tomatillo salsa, which was provided in big jugs on our table. They also had a red salsa available.
This is CocoCarina's Pupusa de Queso ($2.00).
This is Curtido ($1.00), a slightly fermented spicy cabage slaw. You are supposed to eat the Curtido along with the Pupusas, so that the bright flavors of the slaw balance out the fatty flavors of the stuffed tortilla. It's a great combo!
CocoCarina: I really enjoyed adding the Curtido to pretty much everything I was eating... it went so well with everything! I agree with Sonoma Bento... a great combo indeed!
Check out the bits of cheese and loroco flower that oozed out of my pupusa! They got all crispy on the grill, yum! I really enjoyed both visits to Pupuseria Salvadorena.
Overall: The food quality is great, the prices are unbelievable, service was really friendly without being overbearing, they don't mind if I show up in a rain suit, and you get full after about 4 dollars worth of food. I'll definitely go back, even if my bank account is not hurting.
Ambiance: Yeah, they don't spend a lot on decor, but who cares? Our meals were delicious and dirt cheap. And the music is pretty bad. At one point CocoCarina said "This sounds like a male Cher." LOL
Parking: I parked my scooter up against the wall so it didn't get rained on, but the parking lot is not big, and it's pretty busy, what with being right next to a 7-11.
Price for two meals, plus one drink (CocoCarina had water): about $16.90. And we had leftovers. AMAZING!
1403 Maple Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Open Daily from 9am to 9pm