Kirk and the rest of the mmm-yoso crew are no doubt out scouring San Diego and the rest of the world looking for good food to share with you. Today, it's just ed (from Yuma) with more food and photos from his favorite dining destination.
*** I am saddened to write that Pupuseria Cabanas is no more. One of the few cases of a restaurant doomed by its success. At least as I have heard it, the landlord was getting complaints from the towing/repair shop next door that there was no place to park during the day because the pupuseria had too many customers. Lucia was not allowed to be open weekdays, and then on Nov. 1, the restaurant was empty with no sign about another location etc. I will update if (I hope, when) she has relocated *** :-(
While San Diego has a much richer dining scene than poor old Yuma stuck out in the middle of the desert, Yuma does have one benefit for me. With such limited options, I can fully explore the range of dishes offered by my favorite places. Case in point, I have probably eaten at Pupuseria Cabañas every week since my first visit. In the over two months since my last post on this place, I have tasted many different things and learned more about this tiny and wonderful restaurant. Certainly enough stuff for another post.
Or completely visible:
I have even found out what cow toes taste like (the covering skin is very beefy - almost gamey - in flavor):
No matter what cut of hoof or type of tripe, there is always a lot of tasty tendon to chew on:
For something completely different, they offered albondigas one day:
I have no idea if this is authentic Salvadoran or just a Mexican soup that they felt like cooking, but in either case it was very tasty - as good an albondigas as I've had in town.
And the meatballs were especially rich:
The beans were tender and flavorful as were the pieces of soft pork scattered throughout the incredibly rich thick broth. Then, almost simultaneously, Dave and I discovered something weird in our soups. They looked like this:
Oh my god! What were these? What do you think these skin covered, bony, finger-length things were? Hint: a pig has only one of them.
No, not that! These were pigtails. Yeh, I thought they'd be curly also. Clearly, the skin, bones, and richness of these appendages contributed to the wonderful succulence of the dish. It may be the best single bowl of bean soup I've ever eaten.
In addition to always having pupusas and a soup, I have found that other tasty items are sometimes available at the restaurant. For example, one day they had a Salvadoran version of a torta, the flavorful chicken touched with Salvadoran coleslaw and something like a barbecue sauce:
The pureed black beans were flavorful, and the tangy sour dairy items complemented the slightly sweet bananas.
On another occasion, the special was fried yuca and what they call chicharrones (here pork, not skin):
The pork was the essence of deep fried piginess, and the yuca (note - this is not yucca) was a revelation. I have had fried yuca elsewhere and had always been disappointed with the limp greasy results. Here it was absolutely perfect; the outside of the vegetable was crunchy with no hint of grease and the inside was light, fluffy, and starchy.
Over time, I have grown more fond of the rich chicken tamales (even though I have learned that no banana leaves are killed in their preparation):
In a previous post on this restaurant, I mentioned that my favorite type of pupusa had cheese and some sort of green veggie in it. I have since learned that this vegetable is called loroco, and basically, it is a flower bulb. A bunch of them look like this:
Loroco gives pupusas a distinct herby almost flowery aroma that I find very pleasant. Mixed with cheese inside a pupusa, this is how they look:
The variety and quality of the aguas frescas at Pupuseria Cabañas continues to be remarkable. I have had various fruit drinks ensalada - topped with fresh chopped fruits - often apple and mango:
At least on their business cards, the restaurant is now officially known as Pupuseria Cabañas - no mention of tacos. The name derives from the inland state of Cabañas in El Salvador (where the family is from). Before coming to the desert, they lived in Hawthorne, California.
I know many of you are eager to jump in your car or hop on an airplane just to come to Yuma and eat at this restaurant. Therefore, it is my duty to let you know that our current temperatures are usually over 110°. Also, the restaurant will be closed from July 21-August 8. But do come visit in the fall; the wonderful food at this restaurant is worth the cost of gas (at least from San Diego or Phoenix. From London or Tokyo, your results might differ.)
One last note: I have learned that the restaurant actually has a phone number, (928) 782-1874, so visitors may call ahead to find out what dishes are available.
Pupuseria Cabañas, 3405 8th St, Yuma AZ, (928) 782-1874