Watching the ladies make pupusas at San Mateo's Restaurant Las Americas (Salvadorean and Mexican food) made my mouth water. The smells of fat and frying made the hunger even stronger. A pupusa is made by hand, and contains masa. Seeing a tub of Country Crock near the prep area made me wonder: Where's the lard or oil? What is that stuff doing in here?
One pupusa is more of an appetizer rather than a full meal. (I laughed when the woman looked me over and asked if I wanted 2 pupusas. Did I look that hungry and gordita in my slightly too tight Pixies shirt?) The small cabbage based side salad that comes with a pupusa is called curtido, which is pickled and includes shredded carrots. It helps cut the fat from the pupusa's filling, which is usually cheese or a mix of pork, chicken, cheese, refried beans or loroco, an edible flower. The prices at Las Americas are $1.75 to $2 per pupusa.
My main course was a pork torta that included succulent, juicy shredded pork, avocado, sour cream, and a side of red sauce (too watery and definitely not spicy as the woman said it would be). It was on a soft white roll that absorbed the pork's juices. Definitely delicious and not too much food.
Restaurant Las Americas is a clean hole in the wall joint.The staff is friendly. Other menu items are: platanos (plantains) with crema, tamales, caldo, sopas, chile verde, baked potato (for that Country Crock, perhaps?) and nachos. Agua frescas and shakes in tropical flavors tempt.
Restaurant Las Americas Pupuseria & Taqueria, 254 South "B" Street, San Mateo, CA. T: 650-340-1327.