Thursday, September 5, 2013

Usuluteco. Remember That Name.

On our way to the farm Sunday (yes, the same trip that turned out to be unexpectedly unencumbered by luggage) Husband and I stopped to eat at a Salvadoran restaurant in nearby Big City. After my years of culinary indoctrination during the Peace Corps I salivate at the thought of Central American food and this little place in a strip mall had earned great reviews on Yelp and Urban Spoon.

I must preface this story with a bit of background, though. If you were to pick three words to describe Husband and me, those words would have to be "Whitest. Couple. Ever." When I was young(er) someone told me I looked like I should be in a milk commercial, but that was before milk commercials featured famous athletes. As it was it meant that I was a stereotypically wholesome and wide-eyed Heartlander, and I did not marry out of my species.

Anyway, I had read the restaurant reviews that raved about Usuluteco's fabulous pupusas and I could not wait to try them. If you have never eaten one of these cheese-filled thick corn tortillas, your life has been wasted, and sadly, up to now Husband's life fit that description. So we walked into this restaurant and it felt just like this:

We were surrounded by beautiful, compact Salvadorenos, each family with its gorgeous woochable-cheeked baby babbling away in Spanish gibberish.

The waiter was a charming teenager who switched effortlessly between Spanish and English. For some reason, he automatically talked English with us. Go figure.) When the pupusas arrived, though, he probably figured from the puddle of drool on the table that I was a fan.

I was so much of a fan, in fact, that I pulled out my phone to take a picture of our lunch so I could remember its deliciousness and think "so worth it" long after it had settled onto my hips.

That's the moment that the already-stellar service kicked into top gear. I had barely put the phone back in my purse when the restaurant manager was beside our table.

"Everything taste okay?" he said with a smile. "Oh, mrpheryes," I mumbled through a mouthful of melty cheese tortilla. "Sooooo delicious."

"Well, if you need anything else, just ask!"

We rolled our eyes and stuffed pupusas into our mouths for a few minutes without talking. Then the manager was back again.

"We have some wonderful plantains today--how about trying some of those?"

I am not strong enough to resist an offer of fried plantains--with pureed black beans and crema--and soon that sweet deliciousness was sitting next to the half-demolished pupusas and the manager was back.

"Everything okay? Need anything more?"

We assured him we were more than well taken care of and beginning to bloat a little, and when he walked away Husband looked at me.

"Do you think, maybe...he thinks you are a food critic?"

Oh, my gosh! Were we getting special treatment because the boss mistook my cell phone documentation of the meal for a professional judgment that people would actually pay attention to? I sat up a little straighter, wiped some hot sauce off the edge of my mouth, and pretended to assess the deliciousness that had just been served to us. Unfortunately, by this time all I had left to assess was this:

So here's my review of the restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, where we ate: You don't have to be Salvadoran to eat there, because they are incredibly nice and incredibly welcoming, but please don't eat all the food because I want some MORE.

The name of the restaurant is Usuluteco. I will repeat that for any search engines that might be searching--Usuluteco, Usuluteco, Usuluteco.

And with that, we paid our (very modest) bill, left a huge tip because I'm sure that's what food critics do, and left the building.

 I'm the one blowing kisses.

1 comment:

  1. I bookmarked this when you wrote it, and we FINALLY made it tonight! Oh, my . . . delicious! We'll definitely be going back. Thanks for telling us about it! :)