For the last two or three months, my favorite restaurant in town has been Pupuseria y Taqueria Cabanas, located at 3405 8th St in Yuma. It is open every day except Thursday. No hours are posted, but I'm sure it is open for both lunches and dinners.
This small family-owned and operated restaurant offers a small range of Salvadoran dishes prepared with love. There is no menu, so you have to ask what they have. Some Spanish is helpful (particularly when the young man is not present), but the two women cooks and the younger man who occasionally helps them are friendly. Even with my very little espanol, I have been able to order food every time. And considering the food, that's a good thing.
At least one type of soup has always been available. And OMG these are some of the best soups I've ever eaten. My favorite is pata de vaca, with tripe and cow hoof and veggies. What an incredible stock. Also good is the shrimp and veggie and what they call sopa de pollo, which is actually squashes and veggies in good stock served with fried (roasted?) chicken and rice, which can go into the soup, if desired. My least favorite soup is beef rib soup. It is as good as most caldo de res in town, but the beef has been a bit tough both times I've had it.
Pupusas are also always available, and these are excellent as well. They take two hand-made corn tortillas with a smear of filling (bean & cheese, cheese & some green, or pork) between them and grill them. You then top with mild red sauce and their tangy homemade Salvadoran coleslaw (don't picture any mayo here, please). The combination of flavors is outstanding.
Tamales are sometimes available. I've tried both the chicken and sweet corn. Both have the slight flavor of banana leaf and are worth eating.
Also not to be missed are the agua frescas. Usually there is one ensalada style - topped with chopped fruits. Sometimes there is a regular agua fresca in addition. Their jamaica is good and some other tangy fruit drink was nice as well.
Prices are very reasonable. Yesterday 4 of us had 2 large bowls of the beef rib soup, 4 pupusas, 4 tamales, 2 agua frescas, and 1 Mexican Coke. We received a complimentary desert of fried bananas and sour crema. The total was $31.50.
This is a real restaurant run by real people, but I am afraid that this incredible place may not survive simply because too many Yumans are not adventurous eaters. Mexican restaurants and chains do well here, but Pupuseria Cabanas is neither. But friends, this place is not only a treasure in our small town, it is good enough to drive here to try.
If you want to learn more about the place and/or see pictures, read my posts at Kirk's blog, mmm-yoso!!!.
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