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Restaurante Flor Blanca #3 ~ Pico-Union

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1705 W. Pico Blvd. ~ Los Angeles, CA 90015 ~ 213-386-9422 (TACO Map)

At Crustacean, koi swim beneath your feet under a clear floor. Katsuya is framed by stone blocks spitting flames into the air before its Phillipe Starck-designed interior opens to you. La Boeheme carries a multi-armed Hindu statue among its ornate romantic setting. We'd much rather sit at Restaurante Flor Blanca #3, where we often have to inquire, "estan abierto hoy?"

Not that the lackluster facade doesn't hide incredible treasures for the palatte and peepers. Just about every savory dish is imbued with the love of a home-cooked Salvadoran meal. The artwork is colorful and reverant, such as the plush beach towel that depicts women making pupusas on the wall.

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Diving into a plate of fried yucca with the gorgeous Simone Shah, her current state of unemployment the subject of that day's LA Times California page cover story (those photos did not do her justice, she's wickedly hot), the love imbued in each bite spread throughout our bodies, signaling our brains to not stop eating until we needed to be rolled out, Violet Beauregarde-stylee. Don't miss the yucca, its crunchy texture reminds me of honey-comb the way they crumble apart with a buttery tuber taste, they are like a million tiny pieces of fried stringy veggie stuck together with oil...

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Simone dived into a gooey, firm relleno that oozed flavor and warmth. I myself went straight for the pupusas, that Salvadorean staple that can be sorta like a McGriddle getting triple-penetrated by a quesadilla, a gordita, and an arepa. They have many different kinds, I went for abasic cheese, one with chicken and one with loroco, but all 3 were some of the best I've ever had, their tops fluffy and light as pancakes, with a little char, and resistant enough to make the cheesy interior pop with surprising flavor.

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The soft interior completely erases any threat of the pupusa being dry, though at this particular restuarant that was not a problem. Dousing them with the requisite curtido (pickled cabbage) and tomato sauce only added to the thrills of so many comforting flavors.

Whether a pro to pupuserias or a newcomer, I'd recommend hitting Flor Blanca #3 ASAP. It rocks the casita hard and yes, it IS open.

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