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West Oakland: Mandela Foods and zucchini pupusas at Comalapa Pupuseria and Taqueria

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COMALAPA PUPUSERIA AND TAQUERIA

This was formerly Pupuseria San Salvador.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/353914

They said owners changed about 2 years ago. The menu is almost the same, but the pupusas are better. They are not as lardy/greasy.

The same pupusa options are still available with both corn and rice pupusas. The fillings (cheese, loroco, beans, pork, chicken, zucchini)

The zucchini in a corn pupusa was quite good. There were lots of colorful pieces of fresh minced zucchini which gave a nice crunch. The corn pupusa was more delicate than the rice.

The rice had a pleasant chew. Often rice pupusas are a little stiff and even crunchy. The loroco wasn’t as good though as under the previous owners. I couldn’t detect any loroco flavor.

The curtido had lots of oregano and lots of heat. Watching another order being made, I thought some of the red tomato sauce was squirted over the curtido. However, this had so much heat that I’m suspecting it might be hot sauce. The tomato sauce was more like tomato juice and seemed to have some heat too, but by this time my mouth was tingling, so who knows.

Nice creamy horchata though it was a little on the sweet side.

The décor is a bit more stripped down. There are no more tablecloths and the currency on the wall is gone. There is the Salvadoran flag on one wall plus a few travel posters and pots of plants sitting on the window sills. There were two tables of Latino customers on a Sunday where everywhere else in this area was pretty dead.

Check the San Salvador link above for other menu items.

MANDELA FOODS

While in the neighborhood, I dropped into the new Mandela Foods.

Anyone with any interest in organic food should consider shopping here. It might be a good stop after the Friday farmers market in Old Oakland.

It is not a large market and peeking in the window before it opened I mentally wrote it off. However, organic prices are about 25 percent lower than other stores.

There are about 150 small bins of organic bulk goods. Steel cut organic oatmeal is $1.19, for example. Organic red lentils are $2.29 lb. I stopped by Whole Foods in Oakland and they were $2.99. Berkeley Bowl sells them for over $3 lb the last time I looked. It seems that the pattern for lower prices was across the store.

Strauss organic ice cream was $3.69. I know Raley’s sells it for almost $5. Koslowski jams and jellies seemed about a buck less expensive than elsewhere.

The dairy goods are mainly Clover though there were other cheeses such as Redwood Hills goat cheese.

Excellent selection of frozen veggie burgers. I don’t pay a lot of attention to this category, but it seems like there was stuff that I’ve never noticed casually glancing at them elsewhere.

There’s a small meat and fish counter carrying Mary’s chickens ($2.09 lb) and ground chicken. There was some fresh and cooked shrimp. There was Sinclair Family lamb and Pacific Pastures grass-fed beef.
http://www.sinclairfamilyfarm.net/about

There were still some empty shelves and the meat display was half full. It looks like they are going to have some pre-packaged prepared food such as wraps.

There is a decent produce section. Organic brown and white mushrooms were $2.09 lb bulk … I KNOW that is quite the deal because even FoodCo charges about $3 lb. for conventionally grown.

I bought a plump, fragrant organic lemon for 34 cents from Lemon Drop Farm. They say on the website they “from small farms within a 170 mile radius of Oakland that do not otherwise participate in retail markets”

They also had some garden plants, like tomato and herbs. .

Like Berkley Bowl West, things were still unmarked. No one knew the price of the cauliflower.

It would a great stop after the Oakland Friday Farmers Market or a stop on the way home if your destination is the West Oakland BART. Alameda people ... its not that far.

Parking lot available around the corner in back of the 99 Cent Store.

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Mandela Foods
1430 7th St, Oakland, CA

Comalapa Restaurant
1498 7th St, Oakland, CA 94607

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  1. Mandela stocks a mix of organic and conventional stuff.

    As I noted in the other topic, they can charge less than Berkeley Bowl (or whoever) because they're a nonprofit, get some public and private grant money, and are at least partially staffed by volunteers rather than union employees.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625479

    1. Do you have any idea about Comalapa's hours? My SO lives in the area but it never seems open by the time he gets home from work.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sfeater

        Daily from 10 am to 8 or 9 pm. I jotted it down somewhere but can't find that note so I didn't update the place link. My guess is they are casual about hours and close up early if business is slow.