Monday, June 16, 2008

Los Gatos Comida Salvadoreña

Oh man, so I was in the field for a couple days last week, this time in central Oregon. My intrepid coworker and I were feeling a bit peckish, and still had at least 4 hours to go before we hit Prairie City (oxymoron that it is). We stopped in Madras, the last "urban" area we'd see for awhile on Highway 26, nearly screeching to a halt upon finding a pupusería on the main drag.


Tammy ordered up a horchata to sip while we waited. I'm normally a pretty adventurous person, but I just can't wrap my mind around horchata. I dunno. It sounds like a tahini milkshake. I had a Diet Pepsi for the caffeine.

I ordered up some pupusas and platanos con frijoles y crema, Tammy ordered tamales de pollo. We were overjoyed when our plates of hot and cheesy arrived dressed with a crunchy slaw.

The pupusas revueltas were filled with frijoles and melted cotija - dense and chewy - yet they bore an airy quality that begged you to devour the whole damn platter. The tortillas were made of rice flour (de arroz is the typical Salvadoran way), which gave the whole dish a bit of lift.

The tamales came wrapped in banana leaves, a steamy pillow of tender masa and shredded chicken. The house-made salsa roja cooled off an impatient bite to just below palate-scarring napalm.

"I want to eat nothing but this for the rest of my life," cooed an ecstatic Tammy upon tasting the unctuous sweetness of fried platanos swabbed through cool crema and earthy frijoles refritos. Luscious and umami, hot and creamy delft all in one bite.

Los Gatos Comida Salvadoreña
129 S 5th Street
Madras, OR

26 comments:

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

This kind of stuff never photographs as well as it tastes, does it? But I'll take your word for it that it hit the spot - it certainly sounds good. But something that tastes like a tahini milkshake? No, I wouldn't go there either...

Peter M said...

This is a great find...some food I recognize & some I don't...perfect!

Why can't more people open up eateries that serve their ethnic cuisine str8 up like this?

canarygirl said...

OMFG. All of that sounds incredible! And I hear ya on the horchata--:P

Foodycat said...

I only know what a few of those things are - but I am willing to learn!

kittie said...

Ummm... Envious. Jealous. Hungry.

I can't believe how good this sounds!

Norm Schoen said...

Awesome! As far as I am concerned this is enough justification to look the other way in regard to whether immigration is a plus or a minus to the economy. This is a BIG plus...AND you had this meal out in BFE...yum!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Yummmm. I love stopping at those types of little whole in the walls when we travel. We are a little more cautious now that we have the kids but it was always my favorite thing about long drives!

Syd said...

I've eaten similar food in Central America. The closest I can get now, is to make it myself. Still, it doesn't measure up.

I'd fight you for that plate.

Nikki Miller-Ka said...

Los Gatos aparecen felicidades y delicioso!

I don't even know what horchata is. I don't like diet Pepsi, but I would have had one too. Papusas are my favorite.

Peter G said...

"tahini milkshake"...lol! Now thats what I call good eating. And rice flour tortillas...thats new to me.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks like an incredible meal! I just love all the tastes...and a tahini milkshake...sounds delish! ;)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This is making me so sad we lost our wonderful Salvadoran restaurant. We had many of the same dishes. I agree about the platanos, btw... and the horchata. Just can't do horchata, but love everything else!

cookiecrumb said...

Golly. I Did Not Know about the rice flour!

glamah16 said...

I love me some pantains. Salvadorian food is great. Funny, I never got into the Horchata thing either. My first one grossed me out for some reason.

Heather said...

Sketti - I thought it both tasted and photographed fine, although there could have been a little less white on the plate. :)

Peter the Greek - I guess it's because they're afraid we won't "get" it.

Canarygirl - What is it with opaque beverages?

Foodycat - The Wikipedia entry on pupusas is really helpful. I actually use Wiki for a lot of my culinary research. :)

Kittie - Of course, it tastes much better when you're starving! :D

Norm - BFE never ceases to amaze me. I've also had amazing Vietnamese in Klamath Falls, of all places. Fuck a green card.

Judy - It's good that you teach your daughters to be (cautiously) adventurous! I wish my mom had done that.

Syd - I'd put up a fight, but you'd probably kick my ass.

Nikki - Pupusas are like the original gordita. Sooo yummeh.

Petah - The rice flour was a surprise to me, too. Perfect for those gluten-free types. :)

Jenn - You probably get plenty of amazing Latino foods in Florida, but I'm sure you'd really have loved this.

Jen - Aren't plantains dreamy? I just love them. Beats a French fry any day.

Cookiecrumb - (I didn't notice the difference, to be honest.) :P

Coco - Maybe if it was a frapeed kinda horchata? Nah, I still don't think I like it.

Tammy said...

OK, OK...Tammy here. Tammy of the horchata beverage. It has no tahini in it (ick)--so don't believe the hype! Here's the scoop:

Mexican Horchata
A refreshing cold drink made of rice, almonds, cinnamon (canella), lime zest and sugar. This drink is rumored to be a cure for a hangover and is frequently served at breakfast time. Even though the drink has a milky appearance it is completely dairy-free.

It was too giant of a beverage, given the other goodness (yes I think I cooed), but delicious.

Heather said...

Haha, Tammy! When I read what it really is, it just sounded like Rice Dream with a little cinnamon in it, not scary at all. I think I always thought it was a fermented yogurt beverage, which would be hell of icky.

I had a tick on me today from Grants Pass, and now I have the paranoid ticklies.

Emiline said...

Hmmm. Horchata doesn't sound that bad. I wonder about the lime zest and cinnamon, though. Does it work together? I have no idea.

All of the food sounds great. I would try all of it.

We Are Never Full said...

holy CRAP that looks good!!! there's nothing like those diamond in the rough places you find off of highways. i can't wait for my next roadtrip out west! only a few more months.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Well I am now officially starving. Officially.

giz said...

I'm definitely going to need a guided tour of Salvadore - the people, the food, the culture - I know absolutely zero and the food looks so foreign to me. I'm adventurous - I'll try almost anything.

peter said...

¡Que lindos plátanos! Me gustaría mucho comerlos.

michelle @ TNS said...

i'm with you on the horchata. my local taqueria has it, and i can never bring myself to try it (especially not when there is delicious, delicious jamaica to be had instead).

i'm eating cereal for lunch today. this post is killing me.

Brittany said...

Holy crap I could lick my screen.

Leigh said...

Oh. Sweet. Jesus.
One of those posts where i scroll down and every shot beats the last...which, to be honest, Is happening on Gild more and more often! We have so little of this over here - Good mexican can be hard to find. I mean really good - any spotty teen in a decent enough kitchen can whip up a burrito or tamale...but not like this.

Anonymous said...

Very delicios food out 10 they wiil get 11 in my book that's how good their food is ok. Amazing!!!!!!