Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SMILING STAR OF THE SALVADORAN SAVORIES

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Maria del Carmen Flores of Estrellita's Snacks has been cooking since she was six. She took notes from her mother in El Salvador until she had mastered the pupusa. Then she lived in Mexico, learning the local cuisine. Her masa envelopes are plump, griddle-crispy on the outside and packed with toothsome seasoned meats, vegetables, and cheese. The pickled veggies are optional — in name only. Sliced thick, they're best when combined with Flores' hot salsa: all told, a perfectly crafted snack (but really a meal) you'll crave all week long. Or maybe you're just missing the metal stars that flash in Flores' grill every time she smiles — telling you that the woman's a dedicated entrepreneur.

Sat.–Sun., 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Alemany Farmers Market, 100 Alemany, SF. Also various Bay Area festivals. www.estrellitassnacks.com

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