Well, at least in Alicia’s world. And if you inhabit that world, you know that I love those little cheese and potato filled dumplings native to Russia, Poland, and probably several other post-Soviet nations. Simple, filing, and delicious with a side of fried onions and sour cream.
However, the neighborhood I live in is short on Poles and heavy on Salvadoran immigrants, who make something called a “pupusa.” Pupusas are little doughy pancakes filled with cheese and/or meat, fried, and served with a side of vinegary cabbage slaw (called curtido). Aside from bearing a striking similarity to a pierogie (cheese, dough, chewy, fried, comes with side of vegetable matter), pupusas are cheap: $1.50 - $1.75 a piece. Two or three pupusas make a for a very filling meal; it’s doubtful that you could eat any cheaper in this totally overpriced city.
There are at least five or six restaurants within spitting distance of my
underground bunker English basement apartment. Though I have not sampled them all (my digestive tract can only handle so much cheese and oil), here are a few favorites.
3102 Mount Pleasant Street NW, Washington, DC 20010
For the uninitiated, Haydee’s looks a bit suspect on the outside, but the inside is filled with funky murals, green booths, and twinkling lights. Haydee’s serves two flavors of pupusa–cheese and pork and cheese, $1.75 each.
3070 Mount Pleasant St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Ercilia’s serves seven different kinds of pupusas, starting at $1.50 a piece. While I prefer the dough at Haydee’s, I like Ercilia’s tangy curtido and the fact that it comes with fresh tomato sauce. Flavors include cheese, pork and cheese, bean and cheese, bean and cheese with rice flour dough (instead of corn masa), bean and loroco (a plant from Central America; I personally find the flavor unappetizing), cheese and loroco, and shrimp.