I promised more traditional food in this post but first, cotton candy, because I paid $2 for this photo.
What happened was this – I saw the girl making cotton candy and I tried to take her photo without her seeing me. Unfortunately, I am not very sneaky so she spotted me and she looked either annoyed or uncomfortable… maybe both.
This is a situation I avoid when taking photos of people, and I felt terrible. Instead of running off, I walked right up to her, smiled, and told her I thought it was really neat how she made the cotton candy. She looked like she might have been thinking, “Don’t they have cotton candy in the United States? What is with this gringa?”
And so I did the only logical thing I could think of – I bought a cotton candy for $1 … I was so mortified by this encounter that I started to run off with the cotton candy before she gave me my change. When she called me back and gave me my change, I’m pretty sure my face was the color of the cotton candy I held in my hand. I took the change and handed her another dollar. “Propina,” [tip] I said. She must have thought I was crazy.
(My youngest son likes when I get caught taking photos of cotton candy girls.)
Another stand I visited in the mall was “Tía Toya” – where they sell traditional candies. My favorites were these cookies.
I could have sworn the lady at Tía Toya called these Merenguettas but Carlos says they’re Espumillas.
It was hot while we were there. That meant a lot of paletas and ice cream. Poor us, right?
(Sandia y hierba buena paleta)
(Pie de Limon paleta)
These ice cream cones are from La Nevería. The women there very aggressively push their combo deals. You want only one ice cream cone? Too bad. You must buy two, or three. They made it seem non-negotiable. They were like the Soup Nazi only with ice cream. When they weren’t demanding that we order more ice cream than we wanted, they were laughing at Carlos. I told Carlos to order me Pistacho Chip flavor, (best ice cream flavor EVER!) but Carlos pronounced it “pistachio” (like you do in English.) Apparently that is hilarious.
Staying hydrated when it’s hot is important. I tried to drink water as much as possible.
But we drank a lot of soda, too.
And coffee… (Well, milk with some coffee in it, and a lot of sugar.)
And the occasional agua de coco.
But my favorite drink will always, always, always be horchata. Every horchata I had in El Salvador was delicious – but one of the best ones was from Mister Donut.
The kids thought the name of the place was hilarious, especially the way you say it in Spanish, (Meeeester Dona) – but this is actually a chain owned by Dunkin’ Donuts, (which is an equally silly name if you think about it.)
I miss Mister Donut. The first time we went, we lined up to get our food, (cafeteria-style.) When we got to the counter Carlos asked the woman behind the counter, “How does this work?” … The lady looked at him kind of weird before explaining. This caused me and the boys to crack up because then I just kept imaging someone walking up to the counter at a McDonald’s and saying “How does this work?” – like where did this person come from? Did they just wake up from a coma?
Another favorite breakfast we discovered was at a place called San Martin’s. This breakfast was called “El Desayuno Universitario” (the University breakfast.) Since coming home, I’ve been making it myself. (Step-by-step recipe in another post maybe!)
One thing I really wanted to try in El Salvador was riguas. Every day we walked by a place called “D’Elote” and the woman would be cooking riguas on the big comal. I begged Carlos to eat there but he wasn’t interested. After bugging him for a week he finally gave in.
Carlos and the boys got pupusas.
I got a tamal frito, a rigua with frijoles, and a raspado de elote loco.
Elote loco is a corn cob covered in ketchup, mayo, mustard, Parmesan cheese, etc. – and it’s really messy. I would never eat an elote loco in public… But, the RASPADO de elote loco is a genius idea. It’s the same thing… in a cup.
Something else I had to try – a Salvadoran hot dog.
This one is a from a place called El Paso hot dogs. I’ll admit, I understand why Carlos gets nostalgic for Salvadoran hot dogs – but I still like American ballpark-style better.
Another must try – Panes con Pavo, (Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich, from Pavito Criollo.)
Before going to El Salvador, I’ll admit, I thought that American sandwiches were the best – absolutely no contest… but sandwiches in El Salvador are definite competition. The peanut butter and jelly I eat at lunch time now depresses me as I remember this delicious torta I had at a comedor in Parque Hula Hula. (Accompanied by a Pilsener of course.)
While we usually stayed around San Salvador, we made a special trip all the way to Izalco, which was recommended by our friend Chele.
This restaurant and Izalco itself, were “de buen ambiente” even though it was rainy the day we went.
This drink is called a “Frozen de Coco” … It was delicious but I can’t stand the word “frozen” used in this way. Many restaurants had drinks they called “Frozens” … It just makes me insane. I can’t explain why. Maybe because it’s being used as a noun. I don’t know.
Down from the mountains and to the beach!
It was night time when we finally made it to the famous “Malecón” (boardwalk) in La Libertad. This was my Coctel de Camarón… Carlos got a Coctel de Conchas. He was very happy.
Carlos’s best friend who showed us around knew where to find cheap Salvadoran food and took us to a cafeteria-style place called La Movida which is on the top floor of a grocery store. We went crazy ordering anything and everything there.
This evening Carlos called our friend back in El Salvador. The friend told us that he had just gone back to eat at La Movida today, and the cafeteria lady asked about us.
“Where’s the girl with the pretty eyes and the other people who were with you last time? They ordered a lot of food!” she said.
“They had just gotten out of Mariona,” our friend said, “they were hungry.”
["Mariona" is a prison.]
The woman laughed. “Tell them I say ‘hello’.”