Ah, pupusas, the culinary gift from LA's thriving Salvadoran community, in which simple ingredients coalece into a heavy disk that is more than the sum of its parts. When not done correctly, they are like trying to eat a lead frisbee, at their best, well...I haven't found any better than those at La Nueva Flor Blanco, on Beverly, about one block west of Normandie. Squeezed between a Pizza Hut and another (inferior) pupuseria, LNFB has a small space to order with a few tables and an attached room with a TV.
I have scoured LA for pupusas from Atlcatl on Beverly to Los Chorros in Inglewood and these are the freshest, moistest, juciest and most flavorful I have ever had, a revelation in masa, cheese, pork and beans. They are made fresh before your eyes by the woman who runs the joint (the proprieters are a couple, one of whom is Guatemalan, the other Salvadoran). I actually didn't realize that they are made by taking masa, padding it out into a thick tortilla, adding the ingredients and then folding the masa into a ball and repadding it into a thick tortilla. I guess I assumed it was made more like a sandwich, with two thick tortillas covering the ingredients.
The selection is the typical one, the best are (1) Revueltas, the traditional combination of cheese, beans and pork. The chicharron is a flavorful, sometimes-cruncy blend of pork and spices which matches just right with the rich black beans and cheese. Often times, a revuelta pupusa has only a vague pork flavor, but here the pork is prominent and delicious; (2) chicharron, the aforementioned pork and spice mixture solo. Less moist than the bean and cheese added variety, but still wonderfully tangy; (3) queso and loroco (cheese and a Salvadoran vegetable),with cheese spilling out onto the plate.
Order them with a side of expertly fried plantians, beans and crema and enjoy.
A few warnings: the curtido (cabbage slaw) is lackluster and somewhat wilted and the tamales I tried were not great. They also have a full dinner menu with enticing looking Guatemalan soups, but I've never made it past the pupusas to those entrees.
Pupusa fans of LA, enjoy.
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