Pretty Please, Pupusa Crawl Along Beverly
The Pupusa Crawl along Beverly was the first Minty crawl of the year. I originally had five stops on the list but we made it to four. I think we made a wise decision to skip one of them as it brought us that much closer to the greatest discovery of the day.
I chose to start the crawl at Atlacatl, a revered Salvadoran place. It’s where families gather and live music can often be heard. The walls are decorated with velvet paintings and the whole place feels rather homey. The first time I did this crawl, I discovered a great drink called an ensalada. The fetching beverage is full of diced fruit and goes fairly well with the pupusa, a disc filled with your choice of beans, cheese, pork or the Salvadoran flower-herb-veggie loroco. I chose to go with all pork this day and got the revuelta which is a mixture of cheese and chicharron. I do like loroco though and snuck bites here and there. My crawlers also sampled rice flour pupusas. Traditionally, the pupusa is made with corn. We found the curtido at all four places to be very similar which was odd since at least one place looked to have diced jalepeno.
Atlacatl was a good baseline for what was to come.Atlacatl 301 N Berendo St., Los Angeles, CA 90004 – (323) 663-1404
When we first walked across the street to El Chipilin, we noticed their great advertising. They had beer specials for breakfast! Walking in, you saw the small bar right away and a tidy bunch of regulars enjoying a variety of drinks. I zeroed in on the ensalada right away.
El Chipilin’s ensalada came with nance fruit, a slightly sour, mostly a big-seed fruit. Our server said it’s a popular fruit that’s sold frozen in the States.
From this point on, I decided to skip the cheese and went only for the chicharron pupusas. Despite the ominous looking grease spots, this smokey, porky (excuse me, porcine) pupusa was the best of the day.
El Chipilin4170 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004 – (213) 380-4305
We walked a bit over to La Nueva Flor Blanca where they not only had their entire menu painted on the side of the building, they had it painted all over their front as well. You definitely know what you’re in for when you go there. It’s a fairly small restaurant. The booths are in another room but for our large party that had grown to 11, we snuggled into the three small tables by the kitchen. We were able to watch the pupusas being made.
A popular dish would be plantains with sweet cream and beans. Although most people eat this dish as a savory dish rather than a dessert. I opted to cleanse my palate by eating only the plantains and cream.
At the New White Flower (that’s the best I can glean from its Spanish name) had ensalada de fruita which I gathered meant mostly diced apples. The pineapple was still prevalent though in the juice.
I had another chicharron pupusa (I didn’t finish them at every stop and most people were sharing). Picture above are the loroco pupusas. I usually think of it as more spinach than anything but they’re generally described as being closer to an asparagus or broccoli flavor.
La Nueva Flor Blanca4271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004 – (323) 662-9493
We skipped El Carbonero and headed over to Jaragua. The first time I did this crawl, Jaragua was the upstart newcomer to town. It quickly found a regular customer base with its clean, modern decor. I remembered they had a full bar but when we came in, I discovered they had cocktails. Proper cocktails. I canceled my order for a beer in favor of a spiked horchata. The pre-prohibition drink recipes were collected by Andrew “the Alchemist” who also created original cocktails for Jaragua. I will post more about Andrew and his cocktails soon. In the meantime, check out his classes.
I found myself wanting more than another pupusa but I did order one- another chicharron while my friends delighted in discovering Jaragua had squash and cheese pupusas. We also got the mixed seafood cocktail. It was delightful with freshly chopped cilantro and mint.
Jaragua’s was my second favorite pupusa. If I wanted to eat pupusas and hang out with friends, I’d go to El Chipilin. I’d take a date for cocktails and pupusas to Jaragua.
4493 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90004-2386 – (323) 661-1985
Read Trippy Food’s take of the crawl here.