With a craving for some authentic home cooked El Salvadoran food, we headed down to El Rancho for some of their yummy pupusas, tacos and we were surprised with a super yummy special of the night - a traditional traditional Tortas de pescado with Torreja y chilate. More on that in a bite.. err.. bit :) Service is friendly and efficient - there's only one waitress the entire night and she was a whirlwind busing all the packed tables by herself, yet still found the time to ensure all her customers were happy.
We started off with our favourites - Mixed pupusas! The freshly made in house fluffy corn tortillas are no surprise - smoking hot and just ooze molten hot cheese and chicaron (seasoned pork ground into a smooth pâté). Served with a side of tangy and crisp pickled cabbage salad and homemade tomato sauce rich with pureed fresh tomatoes and a hit of spice that you pile on top of your pupusa... I'm in sooo in loooove!
Next up was another fav- Enchiladas Salvadorenas! Crisp, fried tortillas almost overflowing with seasoned moist pulled chicken, spicy refried beans, a pile of tangy addictively-good pickled cabbage, homemade salsa, ripe tomato slice, a crisp slice of cucumber and a big sprinkle of salty Parmesan. So much toppings, its hard to keep everything on the tortilla after one delicious bite. Yommmm!
Our third appetizer was beef tacos. Moist pulled beef (brisket?), is topped with diced sweet onions, the tasty homemade tomato salsa, died fresh tomatoes, and shredded cilantro all held together in a tender soft fresh flour tortilla. Mmmmm!
We shared an entree since we had so many appetizers. As a special tonight, El Rancho had a traditional Tortas de pescado served with Torreja y chilate for dessert. And we were not disappointed with the tortas de pescado, a fresh white fish fillet (Tilapia I think) dipped in egg, deep fried and then smothered in a velvety smooth fresh tomato and chickpea sauce. Though the sauce was a bit on the salty side, went well with the tomato laced rice and the sauce saturated the fried fish egg batter, turning it into a soft bite of sublimeness. I enjoyed the egg parts and the fresh tomato sauce more than the perfectly cooked fish. A herb dressing topped salad rounded out this entree. This dish should be on the regular menu!!
Last but not least was the special dessert: the Torreja y chilate!! The torreja was a soft piece of cooked dough saturated in a dark thin syrup. This was reminiscent of the traditional Serbian dessert Urmasica, from the Cheese Factory. Its traditionally paired with a hot cup of chilate.
The chilate was a hot blended rice based drink, with its texture like a creamy smooth rice congee. Its unsweetened, quite thick with just a hint of cinnamon, balancing out the super sweet torreja liberally soaked in syrup. Just be careful not to burn yourself - its stays molten hot for quite a long time! When you put a bite of the torreja and take a small sip of the chilate, the flavours complement each other, really bringing out the delicate fragrance of the rice chilate. Its a super simple dessert, and we were glad to have tried it despite being far too full to finish even a quarter of the dessert.
Yet another tasty evening full of lovingly (home)made traditional foods.. and we almost had to be rolled out the door.
El Rancho Spanish Restaurant
Address 11810 87 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB
Phone (780) 471-4930
Hours Tues-Sat for lunch and dinner Hours vary, so call for reservations!
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