Back when I moved in DC almost 20 years ago, I had a Salvadoran friend named Jaime and he once talked me into eating a pupusa, from a street vendor, which I remember as delicious. I recall DC (really Northern Virginia) as being very heavily Salvadoran (although surely Los Angeles, which I moved here from, gave it a run for its money), perhaps because Jaime pointed things out to me that I might not ordinarily have noticed; but for a combination of reasons (including unadventurous friends) I don’t think I ate Salvadoran food again.
But I’ve always been curious, and so tonight when I realized that my hotel was around the corner from a mid-priced Salvadoran restaurant called La Villa (apparently a branch of La Cabana in Columbia Heights), I decided to eat there rather than pick one of the random artisanal-comfort-food-with-your-choice-of-100-artisanal-ales-eries that have sprung up in this neighborhood since it stopped being slummy (i.e., beginning right around the time I moved away).
The place has a Mexican menu, too, but I suspect that all the staff and all the Spanish-speaking customers are Salvadoran (certainly in my casual cultural profiling of the people inside, the only people I saw eating identifiable Mexican food were from the gentrifying-gringo class), so I waved away the chips and salsa and went all Salvadoran all the way.
Great choice! I had roast chicken Salvadoran style (with roasted onions, carrots, and zucchini in a rich broth that had some alcohol somewhere in its heritage), served with rice and beans and a salad, and two pupusas (because I’m a sucker for any baked or fried good with ground corn as its base), each roughly the size of a frisbee, served with a little bowl of what I would more or less call kimchee, and a gigantic flagon of horchata. And a flan. The horchata may not have been strictly Salvadoran, but it was delicious nonetheless, and now I’m full of beans (in both the literal and figurative senses) and determined to seek out a convenient Salvadoran restaurant in New York and try some more things.