Tip me so I can feed my children.

Ceviche vs Tiradito

The Trade Commission of Peru hosted a Ceviche vs Tiradito competition at Raymi, featuring seven Peruvian restaurants from the New York area –La Cevicheria, Lima 33, Manka, Panca, Raymi, Runa, Warique

I actually never heard of Tiradito before. This is their description:
This raw fish dish differs from ceviche in its presentation and ingredients. Unlike the rough and tumble cubes of fish in ceviche, tiradito is elegantly Cut in slices like those one expects to see when ordering sashimi. It’s no wonder that the presentation feels slightly Asian; tiradito takes inspiration from the techniques and ingredients that Japanese immigrants brought to Peru.

They’re both pretty good and all the tasting from all the restaurants were quite diverse. I feel like you can’t really go wrong from any of these places, but my favorite was Runa’s Artichoke & Shrimp Ceviche!

05 Runa Ceviche Ceviche vs Tiradito

From my understanding, you can vote at participating restaurants which one you like most. And they’ll announce the winners on October 2nd.

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Tio Wally Eats America: More Feesh!

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Morro Bay, California.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: More Feesh!

Greetings from Cambria, California
N 35° 33.8681′ W 121° 4.9141’ Elev. 75’

Here’s another installment from my recent Central California Coast adventure.

Some friends and I made a trip up the coast to see the San Simeon “home” of still-deceased spoiled-brat megalomaniac and all-around dangerous weirdo William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst Castle is a massive, rambling hacienda-on-steroids that sits atop a 1,600 foot high hill overlooking the teeny-tiny oceanside village of San Simeon. While the views are spectacular, the estate itself is so massive and so over-the-top that I suspected it was probably a pitch-perfect reflection of Hearst’s personality. In other words, the place was kind of creepy.

11 Linns sign Tio Wally Eats America: More Feesh!

Afterward we made our way to Linn’s Restaurant in Cambria, a local institution that’s been here for 25 years. Linn’s is famous for its pies as well as its fruit preserves, especially its signature Olallieberry, a hybrid cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.

They first brought out slices of baked-on-premise whole wheat bread and a wonderfully garlicky focaccia, along with butter and a ramekin of Olallieberry preserves. The Olallieberry preserves are so great that I really should’ve bought a jar. Unfortunately, I’m just not that forward thinking, especially after dinner when I’m stuffed.

One of my friends ordered Polenta with Roasted Vegetables ($18). The polenta was topped with what looked to be mostly roasted zucchini and yellow squash, with a little red cabbage and mushrooms, dressed with “Linn’s Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette, Swiss cheese, Parmesan shavings and a balsamic glaze.” She said it was very good but bemoaned the fact that she’s been eating squash from her garden for the last couple of months and was getting kind of tired of them.

My other friend — designer of the TWEA graphic header — ordered a Hearst Ranch Burger ($15), “Half-pound patty, Brian’s artisan bun, smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic aioli, french fries” [on the side]. Judging by the way he kept saying “Oh, man!” after every swallow, I’m guessing that he enjoyed it immensely. I was sort of disappointed, however, that he didn’t opt for the Apple-Olallieberry Slaw instead of the fries. It sounded sort of interesting and I’d have liked to’ve tried it.

Hearst Ranch Beef is quite a big deal locally. (The 80,000 acres surrounding the Castle is still a working ranch; they have another 71,000-acre spread on the other side of the Santa Lucia Range near Cholame, California, site of James Dean’s fatal car crash. The ranches, by the way, are operated by Hearst’s great-grandson, Steve, who is renowned for NOT being a spoiled brat nor a quintessential weirdo. Indeed, he’s regarded by everyone I know who’s ever met him as being a “normal guy.”) Billed as free-range, all-natural, grass-fed and grass-finished beef, I can personally attest to the superb quality of Hearst Ranch Beef. Its reputation and cachet are well-deserved to the uttermost. I can also attest to it being somewhat pricey.

I ordered one of the day’s specials: “Locally caught Albacore tuna, blackened (medium rare), served with pineapple salsa, Jasmine rice, black beans and Linn’s grilled Shishoto peppers.” I think it was $28.

21 Linns albacore Tio Wally Eats America: More Feesh!

I don’t remember if the giant hunk of Albacore was 6 or 8 ounces, but it was a very big, very thick steak. It had a nice outer crust while the inside was largely uncooked; I would have preferred it to’ve been a little more done. Still, it made for a nice combination of textures, alternately crispy and buttery. The melt-in-your-mouth tuna was complimented nicely by the tanginess of the pineapple salsa.

Equally tasty were the grilled Shishoto peppers. I’d never heard of these Japanese peppers before. They were very fresh, probably grown on the Linn’s Original Farmstore farm located five miles east of town. Although slightly salty, these mild peppers were very tasty, somewhat like a cross between a green bean and a pepper, and went nicely with the rest of the accompaniments.

Behind the restaurant, Linn’s has three outbuildings: the Easy As Pie Cafe, Linn’s Gourmet Goods, and Linn’s Homestyle Gifts & Sale Loft. Because of the theme-park looks of the buildings I kept thinking that if they had a narrow-gauge train chugging along the perimeter they could be well on the way to establishing something akin to a Knott’s Berry Farm North. Thankfully, they don’t.

While both the food and service at Linn’s was exemplary I think I would go somewhere along the coast next time. It’s going to be about the same price and, more than likely, of similar quality. Moreover you could enjoy a view of the Pacific and have a much better possibility of seeing large marine mammals, like otters or seals or whales. There were no otters or seals or whales on Main Street in Cambria.

And so we roll.

Hearst Castle, 750 Hearst Castle Rd., San Simeon, California
Linn’s Restaurant, 2277 Main St., Cambria, California

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Morro Bay, California.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

Greetings from Morro Bay, California
N 35° 22.2203’ W 120° 51.3771’ Elev. 20 ft.

I had a hankering for fresh fish — Feesh! — so me and some dear friends meandered over here, landing at the Great American Fish Company (known to the locals as GAFCO). The restaurant is located right on the embarcadero (pier) just a stone’s throw from The Rock. Morro Bay used to be home of a thriving, bustling fishing industry but, alas, not so much anymore. Still, it’s an idyllic setting and a great place to get fresh, locally caught seafood.

Great American Fish Company has been here for as long as I can remember yet I’d never eaten here. Its claim to fame is mesquite grilled fresh seafood. Our food was grilled by a surly looking Latino or, at least, that was the impression I got every time I looked in at the plexiglass-enclosed grill. He seemed even surlier, scowling, when I took a photo. I could almost hear him saying, “¡Vete a la mierda, turista gringo!. Of course, he didn’t really say anything. But who could blame him if he did? He’s probably grossly underpaid for his very hot, highly skilled work!

27 Grill Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what my friends ordered — one ordered Halibut, the other a Ling Cod special, I think — because I was preoccupied by the fact that I could actually order off the Senior Menu legally! I almost hate to admit that there was no fudging of facts or taking advantage of a restaurateur’s largesse. On second thought, it’s depressing. Getting old sucks. “Waaaaaaaaah!!!”

They had a couple of great things on the Senior Menu, so I got both. I first ordered the fresh, locally caught Red Snapper ($9.95). If it was caught locally, which I’m sure it was, it wasn’t actually Red Snapper. Red Snapper is an Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico fish. More than likely it was a rock cod that happened to be red. But who cares? It’s kind of a given, substitution-wise. Besides, all West Coast rock cod are exceptionally delicious. This was no exception.

10 GAFCO plate Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

The “snapper” was outstanding. Firm yet flaky, moist, perfectly cooked con un gruñido, served with a really decent tartar sauce that it didn’t require at all. It was a small but satisfying filet, accompanied by a sweet-and-sour red cabbage salad and a choice of rice pilaf or French fries. I went for the pilaf, which was marvelous.

Also offered on the Senior Menu was a skewer of either shrimp or scallops with bacon, bell peppers and onion ($9.95). So I ordered one of them, too, with scallops. The waiter asked me if I wanted the sides with it. If not, it would be $4 less. Well hell, I thought, How many sides do I need? So I just got the skewer of four mid-sized scallops. Although they weren’t local — scallops are also an Atlantic Ocean habitué in America — they were great! They weren’t overcooked and rubbery — abused, I call it — with that buttery firmness well-prepared scallops are known for.

This perfectly prepared, mesquite-grilled pairing of fresh feesh and scallops came to a whopping $15.90! Evidently it pays to be old sometimes. Plus, GAFCO is situated right on the water with a million dollar view of Morro Rock. Could life get any better? Well …

On the way back to San Luis Obispo I had to make a stop up the hill — a 60 foot climb, mind you — at Taco de Mexico. I knew I was going to want one of their incredible food tubes later. And they are the purveyors of the best burritos on the Central Coast and, quite possibly, the world!

“Taco de Mex”, as the locals fondly call it, has likewise been here ever since I can remember. Because the food is so great and the prices so reasonable it’s always busy, often with a line queuing well outside the door. Moreover it doesn’t matter what you order, it’s going to be great. Hell, the place is so good the Latinos eat there.

My favorites at Taco de Mex have always been the al Pastor ($5.50), a spicy marinated pork affair, and the Lengua ($6.25), the lip-smackingly good beef tongue. Because I didn’t want to end up with too much food, I ordered a half Pastor/half Lengua, with everything. “Everything” at Taco de Mex is rice, beans, onions and cilantro, avocado sauce (not to be confused with guacamole) and your choice of mild or hot hot sauce (get the hot!). Unlike many burrito vendors Taco de Mex is very generous and never skimps on the meat. As a result you can actually taste whatever meat the burrito is supposed to be.

22 GAFCO burrito 3 Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

I also always order extra sides of onions and cilantro (they come combined), and hot sauce. There is no charge for those. Unfortunately, Taco de Mex failed me this time and only included the extra hot sauce. I should’ve checked the bag before I left, but they were very, very busy.

I didn’t know what they would charge me for the burrito, there being a 75¢ price differential; I was surprised to see that the Lengua cost substantially more as all the burritos had been priced identically forever. The nice young lady ended up charging me only $5.50. It wouldn’t have mattered. The burrito was every bit as fantastic as I’d remembered.

I also ordered a half-liter bottle of Coca Mexicana (Mexican Coca-Cola®) which was $2. The difference between Mexican Coca-Cola® and American Coca-Cola® is that the South-of-the-border version is made with cane sugar rather than High Fructose Corn Syrup. Fun fact: High Fructose Corn Syrup is found in virtually every soft drink as well as every processed food in America. It has been blamed for being largely responsible for America’s obesity and diabetes epidemics. Sweet, huh?

25 GAFCO coca mexicana Tio Wally Eats America: Feesh!

Another major difference between the two versions, of course, is that occasionally some people — Jason Lam comes to mind — orders a Mexican Coke® and gets a little something extra for his $2. Sweet.

And so we roll.

The Great American Fish Company, 1185 Embarcadero Rd., Morro Bay, California
Taco de Mexico, 980 Main St., Morro Bay, California

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Ravagh Persian Grill

I’ve been hanging out with an Iranian girl the last few months. I’ve never had Persian food before, so she was nice enough to take me out for a Persian feast! We went to Ravagh Persian Grill and she ordered for us.

First came out the bread with white sauce and chatni green sauce, which is awesome over the rest of the stuff to come.

02 Bread with White and Chatni Green Sauce Ravagh Persian Grill Ravagh Persian Grill

Then came the Yogurt Soda she ordered for me. She said it was an acquired taste. Yeah, it is! LOL. Like a minty sour yogurt flavor with bubbles.

04 Abali Yogurt Soda Ravagh Persian Grill Ravagh Persian Grill

The Barg Kebob (juicy strips of angus sirloin in a special age old recipe) and Koobideh kebob (barbecued ground beef). Some good meat here, especially with those white and green sauces.

01 Combination Kebob Platter Barg Koobideh Ravagh Persian Grill Ravagh Persian Grill

And she ordered the best dish –Khoresh Fesenjan (crushed walnuts with boneless chicken cooked in pomegranate paste). This seriously is the best stew you can put on rice.

03 Khoresh Fesenjan Stew Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranate Paste Ravagh Persian Grill Ravagh Persian Grill

Shar (that’s her name) also told me about this condiment that was on the table. Ghoreh powder which is made from the sour grape plant, which is poisonous or something. I don’t really remember the whole story, because I showed up drunk to dinner. But I did sprinkle it on my food occasionally. I didn’t die.

05 Ghoreh Sour Grape Powder Ravagh Persian Grill Ravagh Persian Grill

Persian food is really good. It’s like a lot of different flavors I’ve never really had before combined –sour, tangy, fruit-sweet, spiced, with the texture of tender or charred meat. …Shar meat!

Ravagh Persian Grill – 11 E 30th St (b/t 5th Ave & Madison Ave) New York, NY 10016

Tio Wally Eats America: SloCo Pasty Company

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in San Luis Obispo, California.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: SloCo Pasty Company

Greetings from San Luis Obispo, California
N 35° 16.8165’ W 120° 39.7814’ Elev. 200 ft.

I happened to take some Texans on a mini-tour of this area recently and, while atop Black Hill in Morro Bay (parking lot elevation 485 feet), we espied three separate pods of whales, probably California Grey whales and numbering well over two dozen, lollygagging their way up the coast. I mention it here only because it was a thrill. The most I’d ever seen before, at the same time, were two. Count ‘em: Two! And yeah, you’re right, I’m blessed. Thanks for noticing.

As part of Grande excursão do Wally we also went through downtown San Luis Obispo. I’m always surprised when I visit here because so many of the businesses seem to play a endless game of musical chairs with their locations. This is mostly because of rents skyrocketing due to the cost of earthquake retrofitting the buildings. Evidently the Powers That Be have issues with un-reinforced masonry crashing down and killing and/or maiming the unsuspecting every time some errant temblor rolls through, like the one that came a’callin’ in Napa last Sunday. As a result, you never know who’s going to pop up there or what new businesses will sprout where. They’re like whales … or sea serpents — you never know where they’re going to pop up! OK. Maybe more like whales.

One of newer (to me) arrivals in downtown SLO is the SloCo Pasty — pronounced PASS-tee — Company, which opened its doors in June of 2011, serving up those delicious turnover-shaped pastries filled with meat and vegetables. Pasties are not to be confused with certain abominable fried pies that are so popular in parts of the South. Pasties are baked. (SloCo, by the way, is the local abbreviation for San Luis Obispo County; SLO is the accepted abbreviation for the city surrounding Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.)

24 Pasty  TT pasty open Tio Wally Eats America: SloCo Pasty Company

Although SloCo Pasty Company offers traditional Cornish pasties, such as the Oggy, Shepherd’s Pie, and Bangers and Mash (pork sausage cooked in beer and sautéed onion with mashed potatoes), it also offers pasties with, according to their sign, a “California twist.” These hybrids run the gamut from Santa Maria-style barbecue beef to Greek to Mexican to Indian (curry) to old-fashioned Chicken Pot Pie.

My friend ordered one of the hybrids, the Tri Trippin’ ($10.50). This pasty is filled with Santa Maria-style barbecued Tri-tip, baked beans and salsa. It was served with an extra side of salsa as well as a side of broccoli cole slaw.

Tri-tip roast or simply Tri-tip is an extremely popular regional cut of meat. Its name is derived from the shape of the cut. Anywhere else it would be called a bottom sirloin roast or some such. It’s somewhat of a mystery to me why people here go crazy for it. It can be very tough and chewy or, when it’s cooked right, tender and succulent. You just never seem to know how it’s going to come out. Invariably it’s served without a barbecue sauce.

The beef in his Tri Trippin’ was fairly tender. Although they billed the beans as “baked” they are not sweet, like, say, Boston Baked Beans. They are actually Ranch beans, a savory version of pintos that’s routinely served with Tri-tip hereabouts. While it wasn’t bad by any means I just didn’t think it was all that exciting. It was sort of like a Santa Maria-style barbecue plate in a pastry dough. Oh wait, that’s what it was supposed to be.

I wasn’t really hungry so I ordered two pasties to go, an Oggy and a Shepherd’s Pie ($9.50 each). SloCo Pasty Co. will “par-bake” (partially bake) the pasties so they can be cooked at home. They kindly mark all of the pasties with a dough-letter atop so that you can tell which is what (or vice-versa). Both of these pasties are served with a side of red wine gravy.

The Oggy is billed as “the one that started it all.” It’s the traditional Cornish miners’ pasty with steak, red potatoes, onions and rutabaga. My friend really enjoyed this one, saying it reminded him of the ones he used to get in Grass Valley, California, a former gold mining region where there was a large population of Welsh miners in days past. I thought it was a little bland. But I think that was because I was comparing it to the Shepherd’s Pie, which I was having at the same time.

I thought the Shepherd’s Pie was incredible. It’s filled with a savory mixture of ground beef, carrots, onions and peas cooked in a red wine gravy, and mashed potatoes. I thought this was wonderfully flavorful, a classic. Even though I never really got a handle on the flavor, dipping it in the red wine gravy was also quite good.

37 Pasty 805 Tio Wally Eats America: SloCo Pasty Company

While there we sampled a great local beer, the Firestone 805 ($5.50/16 oz; $6.50/20 oz). Named after the local area code, the 805 is an incredibly smooth light blond ale brewed “just up the street” in Paso Robles by the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. It’s easy to understand the wild popularity of this fine beer; they also make a similarly wonderful DBA.

In addition to offering (what I consider to be somewhat frightening) Beer Floats (pick your poison: Guinness & Coffee Ice Cream or Boddingtons & Vanilla; $6.75/ea), SloCo Pasty Company offers a thing they call “Beer Flights.” You can choose any four of the 10 beers they have on draught and they’ll give you a 5-ounce glass of each for $8. Not a bad deal for the opportunity to sample the wares of brews from the British Isles to the West Coast, with a layover in South Burlington, Vermont, of course (Magic Hat #9). Wait… South Burlington?

Another cool thing SloCo Pasty Company did while I was there was the management had the good taste to take advantage of The Simpsons marathon — Every.Simpsons.Ever. — currently airing on FXX through Labor Day. Is there anything that could possibly go better with pasties and beer? Well, D’oh! Oops, I meant: No!

And so we roll.

SloCo Pasty Company, 1032 Chorro St., San Luis Obispo, California

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant

I never heard of Buca di Beppo until we went there for breakfast at Harrah’s Atlantic City. It’s a chain that serves Italian food family style (large dishes to share). I love saying the name “Buca di Beppo” over and over. I don’t know how to pronounce it!

Anyway, I don’t think most Buca di Beppos serve breakfast. But the one at Harrah’s did. Kind of a generic breakfast bar. I’d say if you are eating there for breakfast, get the Breakfast Pizza, because that is really good. Taste even better than it looks here.

02 Breakfast Pizza Buca di Beppo Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant

I wanted to try their famous Half Pound Meatballs, but they weren’t available during breakfast. I knew I had to come back for them. Good thing they have one in Manhattan. It’s above above Planet Hollywood in Times Square.

If you go online and subscribe to their emails, they give you coupon for a free small pasta (which is actually huge –feeds two). I’ve also been getting a lot of other coupons from them too. Todd and I had to strategize what would be the best deal.

We ended up getting the free small Spaghetti Marinara (feeds two) and an order of the Half Pound Meatballs (3 for $16.99 NYC prices). Man, there was so much food! I don’t know if you can tell by the pictures below. It was pretty good. Kind of a smoky taste to it, which I couldn’t tell if it was fake or not, but still good. Nice meatballs!

05 Half Pound Meatballs and Small Spaghetti Marinara Buca di Beppo Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant

I still get coupons from them in my email. Really good deals, like 20% off during this Labor Day weekend. Plus they have a good happy hour from 3-6pm of apps, beer and wine between $3-6 at the bar. With all these great deals, it’s a wonder why the place was so empty for dinner. Maybe everyone is at Planet Hollywood below.

Buca di Beppo – 1540 Broadway (b/t 7th Ave & 46th St) New York, NY 10036

Sexy Street Tease Food Truck

Apparently, food trucks just got sexy. One night last week, this truck was on the corner of 19th St and 6th Ave in Manhattan. It looks like an ad for a strip club, but it’s seemingly a regular food truck that sells chicken or beef with rice platters and also blitzes. I couldn’t see what the food looked like, just the sodas in the glass case. I tried to go back the next day, but it was gone.

Sexy Street Tease Food Truck Sexy Street Tease Food Truck

Tio Wally Eats America: Pupuseria Salvadoreña #2 — Take Three

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Rogers, Arkansas.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Pupuseria Salvadoreña #2 — Take Three

Greetings from Rogers, Arkansas
N 36° 19.0368’ W 094° 7.6424’ Elev. 1355 ft.

It’s funny how you can go to the same place time and again and then some little thing changes and it kind of chafes your hide. So it was on my latest visit to Pupuseria Salvadoreño #2.

I ordered a large marañon, the aguas frescas made from cashew apple that I first discovered in Provo, Utah. They have two sizes here, medium and large ($2.00). When I ordered it, I joked to the waitress that since refills were free I should probably just order the medium ($1.00). But I never do that because I don’t mind spending the extra buck for a couple of reasons: first, it sometimes takes awhile to get the refill and, second, I don’t mind spending the money for such a taste treat.

But then the waitress said they charge a buck for the refill. Whatever. That’s still pretty fair, although I’ve never been to a Latino restaurant that charged for refills of aguas frescas. And they didn’t used to here. When I got the bill, however, I discovered she’d charged me the full $2 for the refill. “Oh,” she said, “the refills on the mediums are a dollar.” I know it’s only a dollar but, well, it’s the principal. Waaaaaah! Moving on.

On this visit I decided to try something a little different, so I ordered the Mojarra Ranchera (Ranch Style Red Snapper). I’m not sure what I was expecting. On the menu they had a picture of the Mojarra Frita (Fried Red Snapper), which was a whole deep-fried fish. I kind of assumed the fish in the Mojarra Ranchera would be a filet. I thought this, of course, because I’m about as bright as a 20-watt bulb in an unplugged lamp.

06 plate Tio Wally Eats America: Pupuseria Salvadoreña #2 — Take Three

It turned out the Mojarra Ranchera ($9.50) was a whole deep-fried fish as well, smothered in sautéed tomatoes, onions and jalapeño peppers, and served with rice and beans, some shredded iceberg lettuce, and three pupusas (thick corn tortillas). Oh, and a fork.

The skin on the fish was really crispy and quite hard. So hard, in fact, that it was nearly impossible to get the fork through it. Thankfully the fish was scored and I was able to get the skin between the tines of the fork and kind of twist it and break it open. Once I got inside the flesh was really tasty, nice and moist. The combination of the skin and meat were quite a juxtaposition texture-wise.

It turned out to be kind of a chore to eat, often having to sift through all the little bones. Occasionally the meat would pull away from the rib cage intact, but not very often. In all it was very good, and the tomato, onion and jalapeño complimented it nicely. But like I said, it was somewhat of a chore. It most assuredly would’ve been a lot easier to eat with chopsticks.

As I ate I kept thinking that there wasn’t a lot of meat there. But much to my surprise I soon found myself stuffed. Throughout the meal that poor fish kept staring at me with a deep-fried frown on its face. It made me feel sort of guilty. Being a white guy from a processed-food nation I’m not used to my food staring back at me like that.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t actually red snapper. Judging by the price, as well as the shape of its head and the size and placement of its deep-fried eyes, I suspect it was probably tilapia. It’s pretty common for restaurants to advertise snapper and substitute tilapia.

I also got a couple of tamales (one pork, one chicken, $1.25 each) to go. Central American tamales are simply the best. They’re wrapped in banana leaf rather than corn husks. As a result the masa (dough) is very moist and has a light, fluffy, almost cake-like texture. The filling in them is chunks of meat and cubes of yuca (cassava). Additionally, they serve them with curtido (a slaw of sliced cabbage, grated carrots and sliced jalapeño peppers) and salsa roja (red salsa) on the side. The silky texture of the tamal along with the crunch of the cabbage is truly a great combination.

And unlike the new just-to-piss-me-off aquas frescas refill policy, there was still no charge for the curtido y salsa.

And so we roll.

Pupuseria Salvadoreña #2, 1601 South 8th St., Rogers, Arkansas

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.