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November 2005: Irene’s Pupusas

The dough is more delicate, the filling-to-pupusa ratio better, and the exterior crisper than you’ll find anywhere else.

Pupusas rule at Irene's. The dough is more delicate, the filling-to-pupusa ratio better, and the exterior crisper than you'll find anywhere else. Fillers like pork, cheese, beans, and loroco buds, which taste like a cross between squash and broccoli, are a cut above, too. Pupusas made with floured rice dough are also available—they're lighter and crisper still—but don't have the satisfying heft of the original.

There's also a world beyond pupusas: open-faced soft cornmeal tacos Honduran-style with mini-chunks of beef and pico de gallo; homey stewed chicken with a heap of rice and beans; and a motley beef soup with corn on the cob, peppers, cassava, and zucchini thrown into the brew. On weekends, the Honduran-style seafood soup makes a robust meal. Baliadas, the Honduran national dish, are large flour tortillas served open face and slathered with silky refried beans, ripe avocado slices, hard-cooked egg, and savory bits of spice-rubbed beef buried under it all. Flavors and textures make for a smashing whole, so no surprise that it's what everyone seems to be eating at dinnertime—from the workmen who stop by for a beer and heaping plates at the bar to the Honduran families after a bite of home.