Costco Cuisine: Del Real Cheese & Bell Pepper Pupusas

A short forward: Food is probably the most important thing a single guy can pick up at Costco. Most people probably think it’s the dry goods, but let me debunk that myth. Unless you’re a girl, the non-food related items are at best a marginal proposition. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re not using that much toilet paper, we’re not using that many paper towels, the gas isn’t that much cheaper, and I just don’t use that many cleaning supplies and/or batteries. I only buy a TV once every 4 years and I’m getting my electronics from online. But I eat just like everybody else does, and since I’m a guy, I probably eat more than the single girls out there. So what about eating out everyday? I’m sure lots of guys do that, but let me tell you, it sure will put the hurt on your bank account, and often enough, in spite of our best efforts, you’ll find the single guy eating at home because of sickness, laziness, drunkeness, or stupidness. So why not plan for it?

So the perfect single guy’s food should have some mix of the following: tastiness, storability/freezability, quickness, healthiness, and cheapness. I’m going to just say this right now: I don’t look at how much the food costs that I buy. One of the great benefits of Costco is that by definition you’re getting retail or less for the item; what I do pay great attention to is the quantity. Let’s use orange juice as an example: I buy the organic juice there because it makes me feel good, and it’s pretty tasty compared to the non-organic. But it also comes in 2 containers which is a plus because I know the 2nd container is fresher than when I buy the tropicana O.J. which comes in a big ass bottle. So let’s contrast this with milk which I NEVER buy. Why? Because they make me buy 2 big ass containers. I know it’s a good price for milk, but I’ll never drink it fast enough and consequently I’d throw out 75% or more of the milk I bought which defeats the purpose of buying milk there.

So this leads us to the pupusas review! You can see the pupusas in the original packaging below:

costco pupusas packing

I originally thought it was some kind of Mexican foodstuff, but it turns out Pupusas are Salvadoran. They look a tastier on the Wikipedia page that they do in person; it turns out they are supposed to have some sort of salsa served with them. Not to give away the review, but I don’t think salsa is gonna help these guys. Inside of the bag is actually 2 separate containers, so you can freeze one of them while you consume the other. Normally the bag will look a bit bigger, so keep that in mind when you spy these at Costco. So here is what one of the smaller containers looks like:

costco pupusas individual packing

I took one of them out, and I had 2 other ones earlier. Now, I didn’t take a picture of the back of the bag, but there are cooking instructions. You’ve got 2 options:

  • Microwave
  • Cooking on top of the stove

I highly, highly, highly recommend the stove top. I ate one of the pupusas after I’d microwaved it and it was fucking horrible. The dough is so thick that it doesn’t really heat up well, even after parts of the cheese start vaporizing from the microwave. I’d eaten another one after cooking on the stove, and it was marginally better, but I’d not used enough butter and used too much heat, the the thing started smoking like a cinder even though the outer dough itself was barely singed. Here’s a picture of the pupusas just before cooking:

costco pupusas up close

I don’t know if you can see, but the edges are kind of pre-cracked. I imagine that it’s from the freezing process, but it’s a little irritating when you cook the things because the cheese starts oozing from out of the cracks. It takes a bit to cook them, you really want to nurse them along because you want the dough thoroughly cooked and heated. The dough tastes pretty terrible if you don’t, sort of like not completely cooked pizza dough that’s been set out and gotten a little stale if you don’t. I tossed on a little sliver of butter to help moisten the dough as well while cooking. Here’s a shot of the pupusas post cooking:

costco pupusas post cooking

It looks quite a bit more like the Wikipedia picture, and since I’d cooked it at a much lower heat (like 60%), it didn’t generate the volumes of smoke like before. Here’s a final picture of me cutting it open to see how it cooked:

costco pupusas cut open

So, now to the most important thing: How does it taste? Well, I’m a bit sad to say it still tastes pretty crappy. The cheese is pretty flavorless, and there isn’t nearly enough bell pepper because the cheese only has the barest hint of pepper taste. The shell did taste much better this time, but as soon as it started cooling down the crappy cardboard taste come back. Overall I’m pretty disappointed – I’m actually a little tempted to toss the 2nd lot, but hey, maybe I’ll be starving someday and it’ll be something to eat.

Verdict: Bad, but not so bad you’d throw them out. Don’t buy these single guys! There is much better food to get.

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