Monthly Archives: January 2012

Garland joint offers Salvadoran tradition

I consider my knowledge of Tex-Mex to be beyond acceptable. But my expertise of Salvadoran cuisine needs some help. Luckily, I have a friend at work, Julieta, who grew up in El Salvador and is passionate about the food she misses from home. Luckily for some of us at work, she suggested we drive out to Garland to get some Salvadoran culture wrapped up in a pupusa.

Bean-and-cheese pupusas and pork-and-cheese pupusas with a side of curtido at Pupuseria Lillian.

A pupusa is similar to a gordita, only the tortilla-encasing deliciousness is closed in a pupusa, where a goridita is open at one end, usually bearing lettuce, which won’t be found in a pupusa, Julieta said. We went to Pupuseria Lilian for some bean and cheese and a couple of pork-and-cheese pupusas.

Walking in before noon, we were able to find a table. Juli lead the three of us around as she spoke to the employees in Spanish. The interior is “clean,” but has the feeling of a long-established dive, which almost makes the food seem more authentic.

Juli suggested we would need two to fill us each for lunch. I was thankful to get the pork and the bean, as two of the same pupusas would surely get boring quickly. The tortilla case is thick, but softened by the hot, white, mild cheese (traditionally, quesillo) that’s melting among the cheese or pork.

Either option can leave one with a greasy feeling, but the bean is a lighter option than the pork. The bean-and-cheese pupusa is something to add to your comfort-food list. Every bite is a soft, warm bite of comfort. The taste is truly mild (and in need of salt) but delicious in its simplicity.

Some of the cheeses the restaurant uses are available for sale.

The pork is satisfying, less comfort-food worthy than the bean and cheese, but a bit drier and, of course, meatier. Though it feels more protein-packed, the melted cheese that is intertwined with the stringy chunks of pork makes it feel like more of a guilty pleasure.
On the side was a slaw made with vinegar. The curtido, as Juli said it was called, was a cool, light break to the hit pupusas.

Other menu items include huevos rancheros for breakfast, tacos and tamales. The food is worth the drive up Garland Road into the suburb of Garland. What may be even better than the comfort of biting into a pupusa may be it’s price — only $1.50 per pupusa here.

Pupuseria Lilian
Location: 2410 W. Miller Road in Garland, 75041, 972-840-2952
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $
Ambiance:  Casual, comfortable dive
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: None served

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Prego satisfies, after all

Most Dallas residents should stay indoors on the weekend of the Texas-OU football game.  Wherever one does venture out that weekend, there’s a good chance you’ll be welcomed by a host who is tired of greeting for the hundredth time that evening and a small table with a frazzled waitress.

My experience at Prego Pasta House this particular weekend of 2010 had me avoiding the restaurant for 13 months. After a delayed waitress brought two incorrect bottles of wine, our table had a plate of soggy crab claws before I had seafood linguine that had me questioning my health.

However, after passing the restaurant’s doors so many times on Upper Greenville, we decided we’d stop in again. The beginning was acceptable. A fairly friendly greeter (who appears to be an owner) walked us to a table — the same one as the previous visit — and we had the same waitress walk up to us.

We did get the correct bottle of wine, with the same wait as the crowded evening before. However, the food made the dinner an experience that we will definitely repeat.

Crab claws at Prego Pasta House

The crab claws are supposedly famous, and this time, the butter-soaked claws were of a tender consistency, with a simple lemon-butter sauce. Soon after the plate was empty, there were adequate leftovers on the plate for dipping bread.

The chicken Marsala was delicious, though, the taste was a bit of a surprise. The Marsala wine sauce came off a bit more like stroganoff, extremely heavy in the taste of mushrooms and creamier than some attempts at Marsala. Nonetheless, the slices of mushrooms and small cutlets of chicken tossed in the indecisive sauce was a plate worth ordering again.

Chicken Marsala at Prego Pasta House

The chicken came with an unnecessary side of spaghetti with marinara sauce, though. While the plain marinara was just fine, had they had the spaghetti under the chicken, mushrooms and Marsala sauce, the plate could have been near perfection.

The menu has 10 items under its “desserts” heading, a list that appears impressive. Though my next trip will absolutely involve ordering a cannoli, we went for the seemingly safe tiramisu.

Tiramisu at Prego Pasta House

The long slice laid flat on its side with a blob of whipped cream topping its soaked sponge cake. Not a traditional presentation, but the fork dove in just as easily.

The cream, mascarpone and cinnamon creation was one of the best I’ve ever had.  The cinnamon complemented its fellow ingredients, avoiding disguising them like so many other tiramisu recipes do.

Like many restaurants, Prego can have an off night, but get through the doors on a good one, and the food is worth your risk.

Prego Pasta House
Location: 4930  Greenville Ave., 75206, 214-363-9204
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday, 12 to 11 p.m.
Price: $$ (entrees $8.95 to $21.95)
Ambiance:  Intimate
Attire: Casual
Payment Information: Major credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Full bar

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Filed under Dessert, Italian