Taste 05.30.19

Maria Perez | Pescadero

Surf trips to Mexico may have inspired Carmel’s Pescadero restaurant, but the standout here comes from further south than remote and rugged Baja beaches: pupusas from the bustling Salvadoran streets.

El Salvador’s signature street food starts with masa—corn dough that’s a canvas for any number of dishes in Latin America. Stuffed with choice of meat, cheese and vegetables—or all of the above—and paired with a curtido and salsa, this masa meal is the country’s national dish by official government decree.

Pupusas are grab-and-go dining, but like so many street staples, restaurateurs increasingly encourage diners to linger and savor these snacks. And there’s good reason to at Pescadero, where pupusas are handmade with care by tortilla master Maria Perez and only available on Wednesdays.

They arrive as a pair, and you’re wise to mix and match selections like bright slivered zucchini and gooey cheese or velvety beans and rich pork chicharrones. They’re griddled to perfection, a light crisp on the outside giving way to luxurious masa, finished with an acidic slaw of colorful cabbage and carrots.

PESCADERO, San Carlos between Ocean and Seventh, Carmel. 624-7400, pescaderocarmel.com
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