Orange V. Blue: Battle of the Pupuserias

Readers, if you are from, or have visited, El Salvador, please tell me: Are all the restaurants lit in one very intense color? I did a little late-night pupuseria-hopping and found that, at least in Washington Heights, this is the case.

My date and I started at the orange place, where he glowed like a jack-o-lantern with dreadlocks and the pupusas were fantastic, and then we moved onto the blue place, where he looked a little under the weather, and, more important, where the food was much less impressive.

El Guanaco, at 178th and Broadway, is the proper name of the orange place. We had a cheese pupusa, a cheese and pork pupusa, and a plate of incredible fried yucca with pork chicharones. (The total came to $7.) A bucket of homemade coleslaw-like curtido was plunked down on the table along with a squeeze-bottle full of cold homemade tomato sauce. These two condiments, especially together, were magically delicious. The tomato sauce was sweet and tangy and had the subtlest, building heat thanks to whole jalapenos that were stewed in it and then removed. The curtido was crunchy and tart. The pupusas themselves were slightly more delicate than, and just as comforting as, the ones we love so much at the Red Hook Ball Fields.

El Guanaco 4195 Broadway (212) 795-5400

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