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I don't eat pupusas nearly as often as I should despite the fact that the stuffed corn cakes of the wonderful Las Delicias are just a short stroll from home. Consequently, I get to either branch of Pupuseria y Restaurante Cuscatleco even less often. But in advance of the Reader's upcoming special issue on Rogers Park (out next week) I went to the Clark Street Cuscatleco--taking a midday tour of the restaurant's greatest hits in an otherwise empty dining room--and proved to myself I need to be a more faithful visitor. You should too.
The pupusas here are hand formed and slapped with a delicacy that renders the masa a crisp, delicate shell, encasing copious amounts of filling, such as bean and cheese, pork rinds and cheese, the aromatic flower loroco, or just cheese. These lovely pucks are dressed with red and green salsas, as well as shredded, lightly pickled cabbage (curtido) fragrant with oregano. Other tasty Salvadoran specialties include empanadas rellenitos, sugared deep-fried footballs of mashed plantains stuffed with sweet milk custard or mashed black beans, and an amazing, murky horchata, made with ground sesame, peanuts, and calabash seeds (morro) brought north from El Salvador. Check out the attached photos.
Pupuseria y Restaurante Cuscatleco, 7109 N. Clark, 773-465-9338, and 3125 W. Lawrence, 773-539-0977