My Meal Cost: $10. Health Rating A. Yelp 2.5 stars
Last week I was supposed to go to Ponce's Pupuseria as the next stop on my trip north. However, when I stopped by on Monday, they were closed so instead I got Domino's Pizza.
I went back to Ponce's on Wednesday and that's what I'm writing about for this installment.
Ponce's is a bakery and pupuseria, which take up two storefronts in this small strip mall (with difficult parking as the single spots in the center are accessible from both "rows"). I went up to the window to order. The window was open, but there was a CLOSED sign also. When the young woman inside saw me at the window, she reached up and changed the CLOSED to OPEN, whew, was afraid I'd missed it again. While there appears to be a door to the right of the order window, it seems to be only for staff and deliveries, there is no indoor seating.
For those who don't know, a pupusa is Salvadorean, and similar to an Argentinia arepa. Unlike an arepa, a pupusa has the filling put in before cooking. Both are made from a masa made of cornmeal, although there are differences in how the masa is made in each country.
There is a single small table just outside with three chairs if eating in a parking lot is your idea of "ambience."
I ordered two pupusas, one a chicarone and queso (seasoned pork ground to a paste consistency--thanks wikipedia--with cheese, not Mexican chicarone which is fried pork rinds), and an "especial" which was loaded. In addition, since the pupusas seemed like a lite item, I ordered a carne asada burrito. I was then told that it would take 15-20 minutes to prepare my order. Gee, I thought this was traditional street food which is usually fast food. And this was at 12:30 pm, prime lunch time. During my wait, only one other person came up and he appeared to be panhandling, more than wanting to order. While I waited I wandered into the bakery. It had shelves and open racks of many of the standard Mexican sweet bread that I've seen in other local bakeries. However, the place was dark and just didn't "feel" clean or appetizing. My meal was ready in 20 minutes.
The pupusas came with the two traditional sides, curtido, and salsa roja. The curtido is a lightly fermented slaw similar to kimchi or sauerkraut. It came in a sandwich bag (yes the kind mom used to put my PB&J in when I was in elementary school), as did the salsa roja (which was weird to have a little baggie with liquid). The salsa roja was a little vinegary and somewhat sweet. Not really a "hot" sauce. The burrito came with a hot sauce (in a "normal" sauce container).
Both pupusas seemed a little dense to me. I've had pupusas at Guasalmex and some other places, as well as arepas when I was in New York, and they seemed a bit lighter. However, these were flavorful enough. The burrito had rice, black beans, and cheese and was a decent burrito but nothing to write home about, I can get the equal at several places within a few blocks. Since I decided to take my food "to go," (sorry parking lot dining is not something I'm enamored of), I didn't get a drink but opted to have a diet cherry Coke from my stash at home.
While I can't say there was anything especially bad about Ponce's, the wait time, the lack of seating, and only adequate food will probably keep me from considering it in the future.