Patricia Martinez knew how to make pupusas before she moved to Albuquerque. She just never really had to. After all, she hails from the land of the pupusa, El Salvador, where she could get the stuffed tortillas anywhere and everywhere. But the Duke City- where she arrived from San Sebastian about 18 years ago- does not boast the same pupusa preponderance. So Martinez got more serious inter own kitchen, churning the cheese, meat and bean filled goodies for her family and even a growing number of other local fans. And thus began her journey from home cook to restauranteur. Martinez and husband Noe launched El Papaturro Restaurant earlier this year on N. 4th St. to serve pupusas and other Salvadoran dishes with the greater Albuquerque community.
El Papaturro offers several pupusas, filling the thick corn based tortillas with various ingredient combinations. There is a simple cheese only version, though most build upon that base with the likes of beans or pork or spinach. The “Special” features cheese with loroco, a Central American flower. The menu extends well beyond pupusas, with several chicken dishes, Salvadoran tamales, fried yucca, fried plantains and a quesadilla that uses a sweet bread rather than the “salad drink,” a fruit juice featuring pieces of apple, pineapple and other tropical plants, including the fruit that grows from the Maranon (cashew tree).
The crew at El Papaturro- which often includes the Martinez’s three sons- often find themselves explaining the dishes for customers unfamiliar with Salvadoran cuisine, notable that it is not inherently spicy. “Nothing has chile,” says Irvin, noting that they make hot sauce and salsa available for customers craving a little kick.
Written By, Jessica Dyer