El Salvador Restaurant: A Culinary Adventure Well Worth the Journey [REVIEW]
At the risk of sounding snotty, or like I think I'm more "worldly" than I really am, let's just say that yesterday I was delightfully surprised to try a whole range of foods I had never tried before- in good old Lubbock, TX.
My fiance and I hopped into the car with no real sense of where we were going, just that we wanted to try something new. My friend Jessica had told me of a delicious orange hot sauce at a place called El Salvador, so I set my GPS and off we went- into an annoying bit of construction on Highway 82. (For now, let me suggest taking 34th or 82nd to Inler, to 50th, to get out to this magical place).
If we had avoided that initial obstacle, the drive wouldn't have been much at all really, about 15 minutes from west Lubbock. And it was well worth the drive to try something new to me, lovingly home-made and very inexpensive for the quality and portion size.
Chips and salsa come free before your meal but they are very different from Mexican cuisine- the orange sauce is not tomato based, but a mild-ish chile served with thick, crunchy white corn chips that were really satisfying to bite into.
We had to order appetizers because there was so many new things to try. The sampler came with a elote (corn) tamale, a chicken tamale, fried yucca root, an empanada, chicharones, pastal and a pupusa of our choice. We chose Loroco flower and got an extra pork pupusa for good measure. A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese and other ingredients and they were wonderful. I had never had a pupusa and now they might be my favorite thing ever. The Loroco flower was unique and delicious- the best way I can describe the taste is like pickled artichoke. The Salvadorian tamales are different than Mexican style in texture (they are softer and less dry). The empanada was perhaps the star of the plate and we fought over it- a yummy, gooey plantain center with a very crisp outside. The pastel was more like a savory Mexican empanada with chicken and potato. The chicharones were toothsome and fun to eat (more solid, less crispy than Mexican) and the yucca root was a lot like an extra crispy french fry. The plate was served with a nice vinegar coleslaw and a yummy, rich cream. And a whole bottle of that awesome orange hot sauce.
For our entrees we got the "Three Volcano" fajitas and Cauliflower Relleno. The fajitas were much like you would get at a Mexican restaurant but with much thicker corn tortillas. They were deliciously seasoned and cooked to perfection. The Relleno was much different than a Mexican restaurant- much more like a giant omelette in a yummy sauce. The beans and rice were quite different as well, as you can see from the photo.
I'd be remiss not to mention the very friendly, family service and the cleanliness of the dining area. We felt very comfortable (until we were uncomfortably full from the wonderful food). The shocking part- we got a huge appetizer with an add-on and two giant entrees for $34. We honestly could have eaten there for under $10 total if we hadn't been so adventurous. We did not get any of their specialty desserts or drinks (like shakes and a Salvadorian soda) this time but I will try them when I go back, because I definitely will be back and I love trying something totally new to me.
KISS Tries: Cookie Dough Waffle Cone From Ruffled Cup