Pane and I had an early dinner this evening at Los Planes - this place seems to be very popular and the food was good.
We each had a pupusa w/ chicharron, beans and cheese. They were good - freshly fried and served hot and crispy, these are some of the best pupusas I've had in San Francisco, though I thought there wasn't enough filling (or perhaps the filling didn't have enough flavor.) I would be curious to try plain cheese pupusas, which I tend to like better. The curtido and the tomato sauce served w/ pupusas were fine, and I liked how they gave us large portions (way more than enough) of both.
We shared one tamal de elote, which was excellent. Served already out of its husk along w/ some sour cream. I added a bit of sugar and it was delicious. The tamal was very moist, and just straightforward good flavor.
We also shared a main dish of pacaya rellena - mainly because we hadn't seen this on many menus before. I am currently trying to figure out what pacaya actually is, and it's one of the least googleable things I've eaten in a long time! As far as I can tell, there's not even a wikipedia article, and many people seem to be confused about what part of the plant is eaten. I think my best answer came from a Chef to Chef conversation from 2004 found here:
So I guess it's the edible shoot/bud of the pacaya palm tree. Anyway, the pacaya was stuffed w/ cheese and fried, then served topped w/ tomato sauce along w/ rice, beans and tortillas. The pacaya itself was very interesting! It has a bitter taste which I enjoyed, but the texture and appearance was somewhat like a cross between squid and eggplant. The whole dish reminded me somewhat of eggplant parmesan and overall I liked it- the rice and beans were good too, though nothing special.
Total bill for all of this, plus two small agua frescas de tamarindo, was $19.50 before tip.
Definitely worth checking out, and it was fun to get a better glimpse of this neighborhood. Lots of good potential chow exploration is possible nearby! For example, the Salvadoran bakery next door seemed extremely popular and it smelled great. Maybe next time I'll stop there too.
Los Planes De Renderos Restaurant
12 Persia Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112