Who knows what Kirk and Cathy are eating today, but ed (from Yuma) is writing about a place he eats at almost every week.
*** 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 *** :-(
I know some of you were wondering why Pupusaria Cabañas all the way over in Yuma, Arizona, is worth another post (for previous post, click here) at mmm-yoso. All I can say is that this little family restaurant serves some of the best and most interesting food of any kind in town. And this is food made with love.
While only a few dishes (like pupusas and chicken tamales) are available every day from the small kitchen, the variation of specials hroughout the week provides a lot of choices for us hungry locals. One example is a great new dish sometimes featured on Fridays, tortitas de camerones. First, about the name. Few words have more and more confusing meanings across the range of Spanish speaking countries than torta and its dimunatives, such as tortilla and tortita. Just to take an example. We all know what a tortilla is in Mexico (or in the United States). On the other hand, in Argentina it is like a thick patty or cake made with eggs and potatoes. Kind of like an omelette, but not like an omelette all. The sort of staple dish that an Argentine like Jorge Luis Borjes missed even when he was visiting Paris. You can see the Salvadoran tortita is closer to the Argentinian dish:
At Cabañas, this a savory egg patty is brimming with tender, juicy shrimp. The exterior crust contrasts nicely with the soft eggy interior. I much prefer this version to Mexican tortas de cameron, which are egg patties made with salty dried shrimp, a dish redeemed (to my taste) only by the red chili sauce and strips of nopalitos that cover the dish.
Another Friday special is often sopa de pescado, a fishy flavored broth with vegetables and sizable fillets of catfish:
Wednesdays feature bean soups of various kinds. Every one that I have tasted has ranked as one of the best bean soups I have ever eaten, and I have made and eaten many bean soups in my lifetime. The last one I ate may be the best of all:
The name for this wonderful concoction is sopa de frijoles rojo con costilla de puerco, red bean soup with pork ribs. The broth was as deeply flavored as it is deeply colored. Pork ribs make a muy rico soup stock as well. In addition, this soup was served with two tortillas and a plate of various sides:
I am not sure what specials happen on Mondays, but Tuesdays seem to feature chicken soup and Sundays are graced by sopa de pata, Salvadoran Menudo accompanied with cow hoof. Trust me, this favorite of mine tastes so much better than it sounds and is full of tendon, tripe, and vegetables:
As business has picked up, and it has, more items have been added to the regular menu. Most days, beef stew, called here carne asada, and guisado de pollo (chicken stew) are featured. While the chicken is not always cooked to disintegration, as it was the afternoon I took this picture, the guisado always has a rich tomato flavor and is accompanied by decent rice and a tomato and salad garnish:
Although the agua fresca ensalada (mixed fruit drink with chopped fruits) is the most common homemade beverage here, I have also had excellent tamarindo and the slightly sour arrayan water. The horchata, here spiced with nutmeg, is especially good, thick, and rich:
One other beverage option exists. The nice folks at the restaurant allow customers to bring beer or wine to enjoy with dinner. While there is no stemware available, there is also no corkage fee, so we winos can enjoy our favorite beverage with outstanding Salvadoran cuisine, all at a bargain price:
One small note -- in one post I mentioned that I could taste banana leaf in the wonderful chicken tamales, but then saw that the tamales were wrapped in tinfoil for steaming. It was only when I later saw the banana leaf inside the tinfoil that I understood why my eyes and my taste buds were conflicted.
Anyway, if you are close to Yuma and hungry, and if it isn't Thursday when the restaurant is closed, let me recommend a trip to Pupuseria Cabañas. Your mouth will be happy.
Pupuseria Cabanas reopened in September 2009 after being closed for a month. They have new hours: Open breakfast to dinner Saturdays and Sundays, and open at 5 PM all weekdays. Don't know if this is just temporary, but that is the schedule for now. I missed this place for a month
Pupuseria Cabañas, 3405 8th St, Yuma AZ, (928) 782-1874