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Ranchito Victoria – Sabroso Saturday

It was an unusually nice evening in April – clear skies, no rain or snow – when I met Sal at the Latism tweetup in New York. He wasn’t the only person I met (there was Angry Latino {who smiles}, and Corazon Tierra {who blogs and tweets about healthy bodies and self-esteem}, and so many others that escape my memory right now). But Sal told me his family owns a Mexican /Salvadoran restaurant and bakery. You may have guessed by now, it doesn’t take much convincing for me to try a new food, or food combination. The idea of a multi-Latino meal was enough to get my interest.

When Mothers Day weekend rolled around it was time to make this a reality. Lesli and I left home on a sunny Saturday and made the trip to West New York, New Jersey. Yes, that’s really the name of the city. We walked along quiet one-way streets, and found Sal at the door of Ranchito Victoria. He had expected us earlier, but there were some wardrobe issues (mine, not Lesli).

Sal greeted us with a smile, let us pick a table and asked us some questions. I like spice, Lesli likes chicken. Sal knew the latest batch of jalapeño peppers had been hotter than usual, and he asked our waitress Araceli to bring over  Mexican tamales in a range of spice levels. My plate had three tamales: tamales de rajas, salsa verde, comino. I unwrapped the corn husks from my tamal de rajas (jalapeño wedges surrounded by firm corn masa), ate about half and looked up for hot sauce. Sal got me the fresh-made salsa from the cooler. Made fresh that morning, just as the breads had been baked and everything else for that day was prepped. Lesli was busy with her tamales – mole and comino if memory serves. We didn’t talk much but made yummy noises while we sipped our champurrados – hot chocolate, just sweet enough to take the edge off the spices.

Sal sat with us, asked more questions and guided us toward Salvadoran pupusas. I don’t have pictures of the pupusas because it got messy. Once I grabbed my pupusa revuelta, my hands were full. The pork and cheese inside the pupusa were warm and gooey, then I added curtido and salsa de tomate. To a non-Latino they might be called slaw and ketchup, but if you taste them you can tell this is no ordinary slaw or ketchup. The slaw was crispy, crunchy, sweet and tangy. The salsa de tomate was smooth and creamy. The perfect bite was a mix of contrasts in flavors and colors. Once I got started I just reached for my fork to get more curtido and eat my pupusa. Incredibly, as we sat and chatted afterward Sal asked if we wanted to try one more dish.

Lesli and I had no clue what to ask for. Somehow the idea of eggs for lunch floated over the table. Lesli decided on a Salvadoran desayuno tipico – typical breakfast. Eggs, beans, cream and cheese. She swiped beans and cream onto her fork before scooping up the scrambled eggs. Picked up the maduros to dip into cream or beans. The salty bits of cheese were a bit tangy for her but that was the only item on her dish not made on the premises, so it barely even counts.

My dish was chilaquiles. Tortillas cut into sections, then served with spicy salsa verde, beans, rice, avocado wedges, radishes and eggs sunny-side-up. I kept switching – avocado, beans, rice. Radishes, salsa verde, beans, rice. Fried egg and beans. Finally with about half of my dish staring at me I surrendered. We had the dish wrapped up, and Sal threw in an assortment of their fresh baked breads. There was a swirled cinnamon thing, that was delicious as part of Mothers Day breakfast. I need to go back and find out what it’s called. Who wants to come with me?

NOTE: If you ever visit the area, stop in. For the locals, Ranchito Victoria does deliver. I would only do delivery (or pickup) for date night in front of the TV. Otherwise, come as you are, sit at a table, and watch the world go by while yummy smells drift over from the kitchen.

RanchitoVictoria
RanchitoVictoria

If you made it this far, you might be wondering about the recipe for this week. Well, I don’t actually have a a recipe for you. I have several mouth-watering links though. Tracy of Latinaish shared videos on her blog about how to make them, and how to eat them. When you see her adventure eating pupusas with her son, you’ll understand why I didn’t get pictures of my pupusa. On Tracy’s blog you can read how to make curtido for your pupusas.

How to make pupusas by Tracy of Latinaish

NOTE: If you ever visit the area, stop in. For the locals, Ranchito Victoria does deliver. I would only do that for date night in front of the TV. Otherwise, come as you are, sit at a table, and watch the world go by while yummy smells drift over from the kitchen.

Tracy’s recipe for curtido is after her video at this post

How to eat a pupusa by Tracy of Latinaish (dialogue is in Spanish – who would believe she is Latina by marriage?)

I hope you enjoyed this Sabroso Saturday post. MsLatina started this at her site so we could share recipes. Go check who else is sharing a favorite recipe or even a story about their favorite food.

DISCLOSURE: Sal did not tell me when he mentioned his family’s restaurant, but he surprised us by picking up the tab for our feast. I left a tip for Araceli, because she was amazingly patient, gracious and knowledgeable about the food. My next visit I plan to pay for the meal, and maybe video the whole thing to better jog my memory.

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2 thoughts on “Ranchito Victoria – Sabroso Saturday

  1. Ofelia, the swirled cookies are called Sables. It’s a type of Salvadoran cookie.

    Let’s plan a return visit. Maybe we can meet up with @SOYLAMAR next time.

    The great thing is that there so much more on the menu to explore.

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