To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
Just off of Columbia Avenue on Carroll Road, there's a tiny beer store that always seems to have a few more cars in the lot than a tiny beer should. The reason for that is Ana Ortiz, who's assembled a team of pupusa makers that rival any around for her tiny La Pasadita. Not that there's anything wrong with cheap canned beer and cigarettes, but it's pretty hard to beat cheese and melting pork fresh from the flat top.
At lunch the place is often filled, and on the weekends you have to fight to get to the the tiny counter at the back, but the struggle is worth it. Get two pupusas and make sure you order yours with pork and cheese. Your whole day is about to improve.
The secret (actually there are lots of secrets) is in how Ortiz cooks the pork: first braising it on a small burner until it's soft, and then cooking it on the flat top while slowly breaking it down with a spatula. The result is a mountain of pork reduced to impossible fine shreds, with each thread seared with a little crispness from the grill.
Mix that with melted cheese and warm masa and you'd have a fine enough snack on its own, but add a big pinch of curtido, a lightly fermented cabbage slaw, and your lunch becomes uncommonly good. Ortiz sells so many pupusas her curtido always seems to have a crunch and freshness that other pupuserias lack. Her salsa is a cut above the others too, with plenty of heat and pungent cilantro. All this for $1.75 a piece makes for one of the best budget lunches you'll find in Dallas. Or stop in for an evening snack and forgo the wait. They're open until 11 p.m.
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No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co. No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen No. 87: The White Album at Spoon No. 86: Ramen at Tei An No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai No. 79: Shish Tawook at Qariah No. 78: Arepes at Zaguan No. 77: Goat Momo at Everest Restaurant No. 76: Steak Tartar at Gemma No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's No. 74: Spicy Fish in Oil at Royal Sichuan