Hey you, are you at the Tune-Up Cafe right now? Of course not, you aren’t in Santa Fe, but maybe you should come down and I will show you a delicious place to get some food. If you don’t like food, then we won’t go there.
The Tune-up is in the same building where Dave’s Not Here was. That doesn’t make any sense to you, because once again you are not here, but when you are here, you will understand. There’s a Salvadoran guy and his wife who own the Tune-Up Cafe. If you ever hear about a Salvadoran person running a cafe, you should stop there. The reason for this is that the likelihood of pupusas being available goes through the roof if the restaurant is owned by a Salvadoran person.
This is the ‘reflexive pupusa property’ as applied to restaurants and eateries owned by people from El Salvador. Pupusas are delicious. You may not understand because maybe you aren’t from Central America, but they are.
The pupusa is similar to a tortilla if you puffed it up a bit and stuffed it with deliciousness and topped it with cole slaw and salsa. Back in Guatemala, this was the ultimate street food. The kind they always told us not to eat, but when you are stumbling back to the cheapest hotel at the end of the night on the wrong side of the tracks down by the market and a legion of women are fanning coals on small grills, you will not resist. The pupusa is a mostly Salvadoran creation, but many Guatemalans will claim them as they are wont to do.
The stuffing can vary, but traditionally includes one or more of the following: cheese, refried black beans, chicharrón, random pork meat, hair or chile. An indicator of a fine pupuseria is if they include loroco on the list of items to be added. Even after eating it for a long time, I’m still not sure what loroco is or if it is good for you, but this is what it looks like.
But back to the Tune-Up Cafe. They have pupusas on their menu and if you were wise you would go there and get them.
The restaurant is a little fancier than the street food vendors, so they do their pupusas a little differently. The slaw on top is a made of a bright purple cabbage that jumps off of the plate. And the pupusas (you get two with each order) are stuffed with flank steak, corn and some other things to elevate the pupusa to something a little beyond its humble origins. There is also a vegetarian option and I cannot remember what was in it. Since I jumped on a scale and realized I’m down ten pounds from my normal fighting weight, I decided to go for the all steak option, which was a good idea.
My favorite thing to wash my pupusas down with is horchata. But it was no longer available, which is slightly unfortunate. Seems they couldn’t sell enough horchata and would have to pitch it at night, so I had a lemonade instead.
When you visit Santa Fe, remember this and stop by Tune-Up. You may be sorry because your cat died, but a pupusa will cheer you right up.