Serving Escargot Pupusas in East LA, local chef seeks to free LA spirits

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“I’m definitely going to drive some people crazy with this one,” jokes LA’s creator and chef René Alesandro Coreas. Mobile Spanish pop-up.

Coreas stands for the French-inspired snail pupusas he brought to East LA last Tuesday, another leg up in his quest to bring quirky twists to Central American cuisine.

A snail pupusa, which is coming right away

Buttery, plump pupusas take their shape from the chef’s buttery lemon-infused masa; entrails close to bursting from a combination of chopped snails, shallot butter and wine and melting quesillo, with a small dab of goat cheese for saltiness. Each hand-shaped handful of his homemade corn batter is stuffed by the chef’s deft fingers, landing on the hot griddle to sizzle and sputter until it’s time to eat. They come out crispy on the bottom and delicately chewy on the top, where a sharp, slightly spicy curtido will soon be dispersed.

“I grew up as a very heavy metal, rock n’ roll kid,” Coreas told TACO, a Misfits Fiend Club skull sticking out of his white sleeve.

“I always liked people looking at you like you were weird. I wanted to do something that people would be a little scared to try. But once they tried it, they opened their minds and said, ‘hey maybe I should try some other things that I thought were gross or gross before, but they’re just really tasty, you know?’

Coreas is far from being an epicurean shock artist. The snail pupusas, named Frances Limon, tell a personal, thought-provoking story about what the ingredients mean to him and his hometown of Los Angeles. As he intends to make all his food.

The snail-pupusa garnish, with snails, shallot butter, quesillo and goat cheese

Coreas worked for more than five years as sous-chef at Ludo Lefebvre’s Petit Trois. The pupusa snail, along with the garlic masa-based Champion with mushroom duxelles and Provençal herbs, combine Lefebvre’s teachings with Coreas’ love for French cuisine, together driving his mission to give a more great visibility to the Salvadoran cuisine in which he grew up.

“I really wanted to do, like, the most French pupusa you could think of,” he says. “What better for that than the snail?” I wanted to do this in honor of everything I learned from Ludo. It was definitely directly related to working at and under Petit for a long, long time.

Coreas’ life journey inspires much of Walking Spanish’s cuisine. A Korean-inspired pupusa named Shatto 39, who fills a sesame scallion masa (essentially pa jun in masa form) with galbi-jjim, recalls the hours he spent at the Koreatown arcade while his parents worked at the Sizzler across the street. the street, where the couple also first met.

The first time LA TACO met Coreas, he was offering pupusas for pickup and delivery from his own apartment via direct mail. Since then, he’s been tweaking recipes and popping up between his intense restaurant hours, gaining greater confidence in his cooking and ready meals along the way.

His friends at creative taqueria Evil Cooks inspired him to embrace and amplify his vision of creating non-traditional Central American cuisine.

“One thing I realized is that nobody really touches Central American food,” he says. “And if they are, they keep it really traditional. So my sense of pride comes from being that person who is there to break the rules. And it’s a little scary at first, but if I don’t do it, who will?

Naturally, Coreas has received all sorts of condemnation since launching a pop-up intended to distort Salvadoran recipes.

“I had some bad reactions,” he explains. “People make faces and say ‘that’s not pan con pollo, that’s a burger’. I would never try that. Or, ‘you shouldn’t put that in a pupusa.’ is not Salvadoran.

“It hurts a bit, because I’m as Salvadoran as they come. I learned to make pupusas with my grandmother and we make them the old fashioned way. Filling the masa, rolling it into a ball and flattening it, which is a bit like a lost art. So we do a lot of new things out of the box, but with the old techniques.

Stephanie Lemus, Spanish walking partner

While on assignment in East LA last year, a Salvadoran influencer shot a video for his social networks.

“Half the people said the food wasn’t Salvadoran,” Coreas recalls. “The other half was like ‘what are the Salvadorans doing in East LA?’ It got pretty bad. I got a little scared, like maybe I shouldn’t come back here. It’s a little sad. Especially in a time like now, we should all be together, at the instead of pointing fingers at each other.

Correas, load of fried yucca with curtido and chicharron

Correas believes fear of reviews, or a potential lack of sales, is what ends up creating endless birria de res stalls and smashburger pop-ups in LA. But the chef is dedicated to breaking the molds himself, striving to unite the flavors and people of LA. He’s been reading Jonathan Gold a lot lately, drawing inspiration from the famed LA critic’s inclusive portrayals

“He showed a lot of love for the city,” Coreas says. “I really wanted to do something similar. Honoring Los Angeles, not just with words, but with flavors. Birria is very Mexican, galbi-jjim is Korean, pupusas is Salvadoran. Snails are French. I try to combine everything to show unity and camaraderie, just in the food. Like, if these flavors go well together, why not us? »

As if to punctuate those words, a flyer taped to an electrical box in front of his stand on Rowan Avenue announces a long-past concert at the Staples Center featuring Snoop Dogg with Banda MS de Mazatlán.

Placement of foot Spanish involves multiple forms of masa and creative pupusa fillings

“There’s so much influence right next to you,” Coreas says. “It’s a bit stupid not to take advantage of it. Instead of being skeptical or critical, we should open our arms and invite influence. The tradition will always be there if it is in your heart. That doesn’t mean you can’t try something new. And I’m sure other people will too.

In some corners of the country, like-minded people already are. Coreas mentions the Oakland’s ‘progressive Salvadoran’ restaurant Popoca, which prepares pupuses over a wood fire. Food author and writer Karla T. Vasquez of SalviSoul also detailed some unconventional pupusas that go against the traditional.. Many of us still long for Bell’s own Corazon y Miel, where chef Eddie Ruiz has broadened local perceptions of Central American and Mexican cuisine.

Despite skeptics and naysayers, Coreas plans to continue down his chosen path.

He’s cooking up plans to open his own high-end, wood-fired Central American concept, where he can showcase creations like tomato salsa ravioli with pupusa (bean, cheese and pork) toppings; Petit Trois-style salpicon tartare with mint and loroco on homemade tostadas; and sweet and savory frozen bananas in the mole pipian shell that riff on the desserts his business partner and girlfriend, Stephanie Lemus, grew up eating in Guatemala.

He’d also like to open a small, family-friendly, laid-back version of Walking Spanish, as well as a bar featuring classic rock, metal, and “very crazy pupusas,” like the delicious K-Town spots we all love when we drink late. . the night.

“I slowly but surely started to dedicate my life to this,” he says.

Waiting, follow Walking Spanish to find his next pop-up, where you never know what you may find in pupusa form. But will be well rewarded for going and trying it.

Frances Limon, exposed.



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