For our trip to Flores Family Restaurant, Oscar and I were joined by Lorraine Morales Cox, Associate Professor of Visual Art at Union College. Lorraine’s father is Puerto Rican, so she knows Latin food. And, we talked about the textures and insights we get when a restaurant is Latin-owned.
Flores Family Restaurant is a bustling, Salvadorean-owned spot on State Street in Schenectady, with a lively lunch crowd. Our waitress, Kati, told us the midday rush is largely Spanish-speaking workers who have jobs in Schenectady, and don’t want to eat McDonald’s for lunch. The menu caters, she said, to the Caribbean styles of Latin food — it’s mainly Salvadorean, but there are additions from many other countries, so that customers can get both familiar and new foods.
Don’t Miss: The Roast Chicken and Pork
Kati helped us navigate the Flores specialties. “You have to get the pupusas, and the pollo la braza (roasted chicken),” she advised. It was great advice! Lorraine also ordered pernil — slow-roasted pork shoulder or leg. It’s a dish she grew up eating as a child, and it’s often served during Christmas. She loved Flores’ version, with its strong cilantro flavors. The meats were all extremely tender and delicious, and came served with beans, a soup, and plaintains. The pupusas are fantastic — especially the loroco (a Latin American vegetable from El Savador) and the ayote (zucchini) versions — and come with a wonderful, homemade, red sauce, along with rice and cabbage.
In addition to the food specialties, there are a wide variety of house-made drinks here, too. The horchata is delicious! There’s also a great tamarindo drink. Plus, there’s a Salvadorean specialty, marañon, which is the Salvadorian name for the cashew fruit. Jugo de marañon is cashew juice, a light sweet juice somewhat similar to guava juice and almond milk combined. Semilla de marañon is the seed, the actual cashew nut. We highly recommend all of them, and we may be experimenting with some additions of rum in the future.
“There’s an intimacy here,” Lorraine said. “It feels like they’re cooking and serving food for family.” And she added, “I’ve driven by this place so many times in the past. I had no idea I was ten minutes away from having pernil for dinner!” We’re hoping that lots more people make the same discovery.
Flores Family Restaurant, 1427 State St, Schenectady, (518) 723-2281. Open every day, 11am-10pm. (Note: their website says that they’re open for take-out only, but they are indeed open for dine-in, too.)