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The dish: Pork and cheese pupusa The location: Sabor Carry Out, 8484 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring, (301) 495-5755
The price: $1.55
The skinny: Several women are standing in the kitchen at Sabor Carry Out, rolling masa dough in their hands and patiently patting each ball into thin, round pancakes. Once pounded out, the rounds are carefully placed on a griddle, where they cover the entire cooking surface, their rows as straight and aligned as an Army division on review. Why so many tortillas for such a small operation? Well, for starters, they kick ass, and what’s more, everyone seems to want themat least among the local Latin groceries, which buy thousands of them every day from Sabor. The same dough used for the tortillas goes into the eatery’s hand-made pupusas. I’ve eaten a lot of pupusas over the years in the D.C. regionthat home away from home for thousands of Salvadoran expatsbut these are by far the best. Unlike a lot of thick, gummy pupusas, which can leave you feeling like Diamond Jim Brady after his seventh lobster, Sabor’s revueltas pancake is patted thin as a crepe and stuffed with a fine layer of shredded pork and three cheeses, including quesillo and a Salvadoran hard white cheese comparable to Parmesan. Once grilled and brought to your table in a compact woven platter, the pupusa immediately starts working your senses. The smell of sweet corn is so intense, you can almost get high from the aroma. The taste is even better. The pupusa has both sweetness and savor; it’s so packed with flavor, you don’t even need to sprinkle it with Sabor’s celery seed-spiked slaw or drench it with watery salsa. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the area’s best pupusas come from this kitchenand these women. The place is co-owned by Jorge Chicas, part of José Andrés’ special projects team at THINKfoodGROUP.