Andrea’s View: It happened yet again. This time, I was not at fault, I had checked the operating hours online before heading out. When we arrived at the restaurant, the open sign was on, and another sign confirmed the operating hours that were posted online. However, the lights were off and the front door was locked. Damn. Dave and I were starving, frustrated, short on time, and in an unfamiliar neighborhood. What do we do now? We got back in the car, and headed back in the direction of home. Maybe something would “pop out” at us on the way home. Not more than one block later, I saw a sign. Not a spiritual one, an actual sign. Pupuseria Casa Maria. I exclaimed, “Dave, there’s Casa Maria, how about pupusas?” He said, “Great, let’s go!” We turned into the parking lot and our adventure began.
Casa Maria is very tiny. Next to the cash register there is a white board with the menu written on it, mostly in Spanish with no English subtitles. Dave and I recognized “pupusa especial” and ordered at the counter. We found out that we did not need to order at the counter. Just sit down. We were given chips and salsa almost immediately, but our entrées seemed to take an eternity. Probably because we were starving, and the pupusas were being made from scratch in the kitchen. Imagine that. Homemade food straight from the kitchen. The wait was worth it. These were the fluffiest pupusas I have ever had. (In case you have not read our other blogs, pupusas are “pancakes” stuffed with fillings such as meat, cheese, or beans.) I ordered mine with pork and beans. It came with the standard rice and beans, although the rice and beans were anything but standard, and a small cabbage salad. Overall, it was so much food that even starving travelers such as Dave and myself couldn’t finish the whole thing.
Please note, this is a very small, authentic Latin American restaurant in a less than desirable neighborhood. It is not a dangerous neighborhood, just a little run down and dated. There is only one English-speaking employee, so bring your patience and understanding. That being said, everyone is incredibly nice and welcoming, and eager to serve you some of the best Latino cuisine in the city.
Dave’s View: How do I like my Pupusas? I like them greasy, fluffy, and they must burn the top of your mouth. It’s painful, but well worth it. The only problem here is that Casa Maria bakes their Pupusas. It’s not a bad aspect of the place, but I had my heart set on nice fluffy pillows called Pupusas swimming in my mouth. Now you may ask, what is a Pupusa? It is kind of a thick tortilla with, in my case, cheese. You can get them with pork, beans or whatever the restaurant wants to experiment with that day. Usually it’s pork or cheese.
The cheese Pupusas at Casa Maria are thick and chewy. They are served with curtido(fermented cabbage), rice and refried beans. I enjoyed the curtido and I don’t like cabbage. What is going on here? The curtido is slightly sour and crunchy and was a flavor that was new to me. Everyone should try it once. The rice and the beans on the other hand, are of typical fare.
The restaurant itself is quite odd. The walls are painted brown with a bristle effect. Inside the small foyer is a Pothos plant that is so big that they have tacked it to the wall. It’s so funny. Random lengths of Pothos vines draped all over the walls. I tried to take a picture, but I didn’t have the right angle. On one wall was a fake waterfall picture. It’s the type of picture that has special effects. You could actually see the waterfall flowing and it had sound of flowing water which was quite pleasant and relaxing in the restaurant. Now if two Latino men who are sitting underneath the picture decide to turn off the picture, you just yell at them! (Please, don’t.) They will turn it back on, don’t worry.
Now to service: I ‘ve heard that there was no English-speaking people here. We didn’t have any problem. The woman who took our order was pleasant and upbeat. Now, you may go here and find nobody speaks English, but so what. Be polite, smile, and point. You don’t know what you’re pointing at? Forget about it! Pick something and eat it! You’ll be happy you did.
Food: 7 Service: 9 Ambiance: 8.5 Total: 24.5 out of 30
$15-$20. They do not serve adult beverages.
Note: Really Andrea? Fluffy. They were not fluffy, are you kidding me? The Pupusas are thick. Casa Maria has their nitch. It’s called the “thick not fluffy Pupusas” nitch. You need to go back there and chew on that!