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  1. We finally got around to checking out La Casita, a pupuseria and carryout in a tiny little strip near the corner of Piney Branch Road and Dale Drive. The pupusas mixtas had a nice little crunch to the outside, creamy beans, and good curtido. Carne Asada was respectable and the grilled shell-on jumbo shrimp, Camarones a la Plancha, were much better than expected. All Platos de La Casita come with yellow rice studded with tiny pieces of carrot, and either pureed and rather soupy refried red beans or a surprisingly fresh salad. We ordered Enchiladas Salvadorenas (corn tortillas fried until very crisp and topped with beans, queso seco, and curtido) on a whim and we wouldn't get them again; they were greasy and dull. The store has an extensive selection of frescos tropicales and liquidos that bears exploring, and they offer Atol de Elote, a hot corn drink that has me curious. Two platos, two pupusas, and two enchiladas came to $21.00. La Casita 8214 Piney Branch Road Silver Spring, MD 20910 301-588-6656 (They offer the usual beans, cheese, pork and combination pupusas but next time I'd like to try loroco.)
  2. Last weekend, after a truly frustrating afternoon at Lowes, we finally got around to checking out Samantha's (according to the Post's website, it does have the apostrophe). We found it only by memory and luck ("I think it's on University"). It has a nice casual, family-friendly vibe. We were starving, and demolished the salsa and chips. The salsa was pretty good-- it's thicker than most (not too drippy or runny). We started with the chicken tamales (billed as a Salvadoran "treat") and the ceviche. I thought the chicken in the tamales was a bit dry, but I think almost all chicken is dry (except at Palena Cafe). Nonetheless, the tamales had a great cornmeal flavor to them, and had garbanzo beans and mushrooms, and we really liked them. This was certainly not a mass-produced glob of cornmeal, as tamales can be. The fish ceviche was also excellent. It reminded us that we need to get back to Costa Verde for their huge ceviche appetizers.... For entrees, I had the mariscos saltado, which was shrimp and scallops, assorted vegetables and onions in a "peruvian" broth. I didn't think it all came together that well (I am kind of picky about veggies and I didn't realize the dish would be predominately veggies so it was my own fault), but the sauce was nice. My husband had a dish that was chicken stuffed with peppers, mushrooms and spinach, which was recommended by the server. He was quite pleased with his dish-- everything was very fresh and flavorful. For the price point (low teens for entrees) and the authentic cuisine, we would definitely return. [edited to add a detail that I had forgotten]
  3. I live in Takoma Park, just off New Hampshire Ave, and about a mile or so away from La Chiquita, which as at the intersection of on the NE corner of the intersection of New Hampshire and East-West Highway. IMO, they make some of the best pupusas I've ever had. When my wife and I have gone there, we're typically the only gringos in the place. They don't have an official web site (at least not that I could find) but there are some pretty good reviews http://www.thenewave.com/go/la-chiquita http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-chiquita---latin-american-food-takoma-park http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/restaurants/la-chiquita,1157572/critic-review.html Anyone able to recommend other pupuserias in and around DC?
  4. With a tittle like that, maybe you are expecting tuxedo shirted waiters and mariachi music in the background {ala Samanthas) and you oculdn't be more wrong. First off, instead of a brightly painted home like interior, the place is brightly lit in the middle of an Asian owned Mercato in a strip mall on Ennalls Ave in Wheaton {even thought the card insists on Ennalls Eve!}. The staff is a varied roster of very friendly, if English limited Latina's usually presided over by one of the owners. The menu, up until the printing of trifold cards with the menu printed on both sides, consisted of bad pictures on the wall. There is no sign outside with any name, and before the aforementioned cards, I heard it called only Juanita's Kitchen, and that was only once. We are the only folk I have ever seen int he place who were neither the owners nor Latino. Lots of Older Latino Dad's being taken thee by their sons. Women, almost exclusively, cook there {aside from Kay}. The food: Spectacular! Better than any of the myriad other choices serving up DC's signature combo of Salvadoran, Honduran & Tex Mex. Last night, we pointed to one of the pictures, labeled enchilladas, with another non readable name which turned out to be a huge pile of chicken fried to a golden brown with skin as crispy as that of the roast pig at Din sum, if not more so, atop a massive amount of fried plantains smothered in shredded cabbage and doused with mayo,ketchup and salsa. Had I known what it was, I would have never ordered it and my life would be lessened for the lack. If course my life may be lessened anyways from the cholesterol! When I was growing up, my teen years were spent delivering furniture for my Dad's furniture store in South Central. One highlight was the occasional trip to Queen Bee's {or was it aunt Bee's} near the infamous corner of Normandy & Florence where massive amounts of food could be had for a pittance and the dishes came either plain {with 2 sides} or smothered {with two sides and something to cover the main dish}. Inthe case of the fried chicken, it was smothered in cole slaw with a touch of salsa and the dish last night approached the memory of my last meal at Bee's! We ahd one pupusa "revuelta" or mixed cheese and pork. The pupusas are patted by hand and griddles to order. They come out greaseless {all the lard stays in the dough where it belongs}, crispy on the outside with burnt spots and a lush, incendiarilyy hot filling. Kay ordered a sopa di res that was completely untouched because of the massive amount of chicken. Two Tamarindo and a tip that brought wide eyes and big smiles from the ladies for $25. Other amazing dishes include: Sopa di Pollo when they have it. Carne Asada provided you have good teeth and the willingness to chew in order toget a gamy seasoned tough pieceof steak down the old gullet {accompanied by massively good black beans and crappy rice}. Lengua al Guisada is amazing: stewed till tender tongue with beans and rice. Not my style was a hugely rich and greasy balliades which is a sort of cross between a turn over and a quesadilla: a rich doughy tortilla/pastry folded over melted white cheese, black beans & avocado slices with chunks of meat. We spend between $15 and $25 for dinner for two. We gain insight to another culture thru the Novellas or the talk/talent shows on the TVs and we have a great meal in the bargain. 2521 Ennalls Eve {sic}, Wheaton MD 20902 301-933-5843 Hours approximately 6am 'til 10pm but they have been known to be closed by 9:30.
  5. Los Tios (not to be mistaken for Los Amigos which is across from Evening Star) is a favorite destination for Monday lunches when the kitchen's closed - fantastic, authentic, fresh food at extremely reasonable prices. Next time you're on the Avenue, drop by! The restaurant is on the same side of the street as Cheesetique just before you get to the intersection of Commonwealth & Mt. Vernon heading toward Arlandria.
  6. FWIW, the Negril in Gaithersburg has been sold and is now called Antonio's. It's still selling Jamaican food but has added Latin American food to the menu. All this has been reported on in some other thread. My coworkers and I hit this place for lunch at least once every other week. It's sad to report that after maintaining the previous owner's high standards for several months after the change in ownership, Antonio's has officially gone downhill. The last two meals there have been extremely unremarkable (I won't say "bland" but in comparison to previous efforts, it certainly seems that way). The spicy scotch bonnet hot sauce has been replaced by the generic red hot sauce that you find at the Chinese fast food outlets in the mega-mall. The jerk chicken no longer has any kick and the chicken curry tastes like they're using generic curry powder out of a can. Ugh.
  7. Ah, yes, I've been to their food truck - they had a tasty Chicken Milanese. I even found a couple of pictures - I'm not 100% sure this is them, but I'm 90% sure (there were two food trucks that parked in that shopping center, but I'm pretty sure La Chiquita furnished these, or at least one of them).
  8. Good tacos and pupusas at My Las Delicias Deli, near the old Swahili space at that hideous junction of rt 1 and Rhode Island. Not sure what was there before. My Las Delicias Deli (Unofficial) Facebook Page
  9. The owners of Guajillo and Casa Oaxaca are now in Manassas on Mathis Avenue. Wife and her sister went for lunch last week and were the only customers the whole time they were there. My wife and I were there for lunch Friday and there were three other parties the whole time we were there. I haven't been to Guajillo or Casa Oaxaca, so I can't speak to how it compares to them. I enjoyed my chorizo quesadilla and my wife's five tacos plate (steak, pork, chicken, fish, and lamb). Thin crispy chips and warm salsa were good.
  10. Senor Canales's Tortilla Grill and Cafe is not only a tiny jewel on the Hill, but one of DC's best hole in the wall secrets! The Canales family is one of the major players at Eastern Market owning three different stalls: Canales Deli, the stand with the fresh pasta, and Canales Meats. Several years ago the Senor of deli fame opened up a tiny eat in/take out store front serving El Salvadoran/Mexican food directly across the street from the Market. It was an immediate success, with lines stretching out the door. But one shouldn't been surprised when the kitchen staff was ordered to make the food like they would at home and a pork tamale, 2 mixed (pork and cheese) papusas with a side of plantains running you $8.
  11. El Sol de Americas a new Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant on 9th street right below U street, a few storefronts down from Etete. Dropped in the other night to try it out and found a very clean and vibrant layout and a very friendly staff. The waitress said they had been open for about a month now. The menu has the usual selection of Salvadoran and Mexican dishes at pretty reasonable prices. I stuck to the Salvadoran side and really enjoyed the fried yucca with chicharones and the bean pupusa. Both very simple but well prepard and fresh tasting. I also have to give a thumbs up to the exemplary tostadas and salsa. I don't know why it is so hard to produce a warm greaseless chip and a salsa with taste but very few places around here seem to be able to accomplish this. I'm curious to try some of their weekend soups and some of their seafood items. Not a destination restaurant but definitely something to try if you're in the area.
  12. I can't believe that I never got around to giving el Golfo its own thread. I'll warn to begin with that this will be one of the most biased shill-y posts to ever appear on this site. I love this place. It's the neighborhood gem that every area should have. Last night's Puerco Adovado (pork loin marinated in citrus) and Camarones Azteca (Shrimp and Broccoli in a light citrusy sauce) were delicious and hearty. Stick with the non tex-mex stuff and the fish (from their own market with its entrance around the corner) The margaritas serve their purpose. Last night I opted for a Negra Modelo. But it's more than the food that has made me become more than a diner, becoming a fan and cheerleader for el Golfo. When I go in during the week and see only a few tables occupied, I get worried. When I go in on the weekend and see the place full I get ecstatic. Mrs JPW and I have been coming here on a fairly regular basis since before Peanut was born. They've watched Peanut grow up (last night was the first in big person's chair) and are always genuinely pleased to see her despite the kind of messes that a 2.5 year old tends to leave behind. Everyone, from the busboys, to the waitors, to the owner, always greet you with a big smile and open arms whether you're 1 or 100. The owner has been a driving force behind attempts to develop an area business association to work on improving the crossroads. She really hustles: e-mail list, discount coupons in the SS Gazette, you get the idea. They've really developed an incredible atmosphere of COMMUNITY that you find all too rarely. I've had a discount card in my wallet for a couple of years, but I've never used it. Why? I'm lucky enough that the $3 or $4 it would save me are not too important. I could never begrudge el Golfo that extra couple of bucks. I'm happy to pay full price. You'll note well that I spend little time here talking about the food. It's good, dependable, and generously proportioned. It's just that some times there are others things that are more important.
  13. after hearing about this place from the Post's list of must-try dishes, we had some pupusas from here this weekend and they were great, the best pupusas i've had in a while. The place was packed at 2 pm on a saturday, and i understand why. The pupusas ($2 each) are about 4 inches wide, the stuffing-to-shell ratio leans more heavily towards the stuffing, which is how i prefer them, though the corn still added its sweet flavor to everything, they offer both rice and corn shells,we only got corn, but the very nice man behind the counter said the queso pupusa with the rice shell was great. they have a wide variety of pupusas--cheese, beans, lorocco, chipelin leaves, pork, chicken, squash, spinach, and many combinations of these ingredients. i liked the salsa that came with them, and the fact that they gave us generous portions of both that at the curtido. i thought the curtido was a little to plain for my taste--i prefer it more seasoned, this just had a hint of vinegar. if you want carryout, you can order ahead, which is nice, as pupusas often take a while to make. we'll be back. http://www.pupuseriaelcomalito.com/
  14. Have you tried Mango's next door to this place. I've been there a few times now and it is quite good.
  15. I ventured out this morning to La Mexicana based on the this CH Post. Perhaps Sunday morning at 11 a.m. isn't the best time to visit because my tacos were all overcooked (thus tough and dry) and pretty much devoid of flavor. I had a tongue, a beef, and a chicken taco. I also had a Torta Ahogada, described as: It was indeed drenched in hot sauce (both temperature wise and spiciness). By the time I got to it, the onions were soft and I couldn't tell if they were cooked or not. That was the least of my problems as the sauce was more than my taste buds can handle - I can eat the food but I couldn't really taste much else other than the heat. The sauce also made the bread soggy, which might've been a problem had I been able to taste it. For the half hour or so that I was there, there were two other customers who came in for baked goods.
  16. I hate to begin a new thread by announcing that a restaurant has closed, but such is the case with Matamoros in Wheaton (Thanks, KS, here's a Review I wrote about it).
  17. Y'all: we need your help. It's possible that the best pizza place in DC is going to die for lack of business. Maybe. Maybe it's the best pizza; maybe they were just unusually slow (read: empty) on a Fathers Day afternoon. Anyhow, Moroni and Brothers serves up a truly excellent pie in the middle of a nondescript block in a nondescript bit of Petworth. I assumed that the burgeoning Petworth yuppie contingent would be flooding the spot but, except for a couple of Salvadoran dudes watching the inevitable football match on the TV over the bar, it was empty. We enjoyed a lovely waitress, excellent tamales and several truly memorable pizzas. Perhaps because they screwed it up the first time, the boy's pizza was almost overloaded with pepperoni, the small tasty kind. Mrs. B's pizza was exceptional, with a good crunchy crust and what tasted like actual mozzarela on top. This place is seriously in the running for "best of." My last pizza at 2 Amy's was the best I've had there in years, but it's possible that M&B surpassed it -- and there's no line to get in or squalling children at the next table. Folks need to check this place out before Jose Velasquez and his wife, Reyna Isabella Acosta (veterans of Pizzaria Paradiso) are forced to fall back on pupusas to pay the rent.
  18. I've eaten at several Salvadoran-Mexican places in DC, but El Rinconcito is the best, and I had to give it some props after a great meal there recently. (I'm surprised it's not already on this board.) Located on Park Road off 14th Street, across from the new Giant/Tivoli Theater complex, El Rinconcito is a neighborhood gem. It's got the usual Mexican fare (tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas and fajitas), and even a selection of hamburgers and subs, but the real draw is the Salvadoran food. The pupusas can be had a la carte for $1.75 each or as a combo meal (Choice of pupusas with a choice of Tamal with rice and beans ($5.95-$7.25)). The pupusas are large, and a couple of these served with cabbage salad can make a great cheap meal. The Tamales de Elote (made with fresh corn) is excellent. My favorite beef dishes are the Carne Deshilada (shredded beef with an egg on top with Salvadoran cheese, avocado, rice and black beans for $10.50) and the Milanesa de Carne (thin breaded beef cutlet with black beans and rice, plantain and fresh pico de gallo for $10.50). There are a wide selection of beef, chicken and seafood choices (ceviche, whole rock fish, shrimp). The specialties of the house are 12 oz. steaks prepared in a couple different ways with rice, salad and tortillas for under $18 (the most expensive items on the menu). Everything tastes freshly made, and they serve real crema instead of sour cream. The fried yucca and plantains are cooked just right, over-fried, soggy or overly oily or mushy like I've had it at other places. Entree portions are generous. I'm still eating my way through their menu, but for next time: Sopa de Mondongo (beef tripe soup), Carne de Salpicon (round eye mixed with cilantro, oregano, red onion, relish, mint leaf), and the plaintain empanadas with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I had a bottle of Dos Equis with my meal for $3.60 (same price for other Mexican beers). They also serve horchata and tamarind juice. Complimentary homemade tortilla chips are served with a peppery, mild pureed salsa. The restaurant is entered from the ground floor, and has seating on this floor and upstairs. The upstairs has a larger bar and a nicer dining room, so head upstairs for better ambience and a view of Park Road from the window. Service is friendly, and we didn't have to wait long for our food. I'm not Salvadoran, so I can't vouch for authenticity, but judging from the largely Hispanic clientele, I believe it's the real deal. Finding places like El Rinconcito is one of the best things about living in this diverse, immigrant-populated city.
  19. This little restaurant in a wasteland of a strip mall opened a little over a year ago. The family who owns/runs it lives in Burke. It is not a destination restaurant, but a lovely and so far reliable neighborhood joint, serving really good-tasting Salvadoran and Mexican food. Their salsa is cooked and smokey (chipotle peppers?) and my favorite in the area. I also love their refried beans, which are pretty thoroughly pureed, but with a good flavor. The fried yucca is crisp and not greasy (almost as good as my favorite at La Caraquena), and fried plantains have been tasty as well. Jacob's Platter is a grilled ribeye steak covered with sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter, sauteed fresh veggies, rice and black beans on the side. Steak tacos overflow with grilled skirt steak, served with refried beans, rice, fresh salsa, guacamole and sour cream that you add to your own taste. I also love their enchiladas, which are a great deal at lunch: Two for $8.95. The menu was just enlarged, and I look forward to many more visits to try more dishes. So far, I have not had any problems with gluten. They do serve some dishes with soft flour tortillas, so I avoid those if corn tortillas can't be substituted.
  20. Teo's Bakery closed awhile back, and has been replaced by Tarbouche. I'd gone there once or twice, and while the breads were nothing special, the Latino lunch items (pupusas, salteí±as) weren't bad, and often fed nearby workers who sat in the parking lot, eating their lunch.
  21. Just had a light lunch at Dona Azucena on Glebe Road, 50 yards north of Rte 50, almost to the car wash, and it was pretty good! I had a beef pastele and 2 corn tamales and they were both rather good! The beef pastele reminds me a great deal of the beef empanada at La Union, and that is pretty tasty. It had a nicely crispy, lightly browned crust with a good amount of beef and subtly savory olives in the filling. The cabbage would have benefitted from a bit of salsa roja, but I failed to ask for it. The corn tamales were the softer version, not as firm as La Union but tasty with nice chunks of chicken, and wait a minute, maybe the olives were in the tamals... Senior moment... Anyway, I am used to tamales con crema, with the crema being sour cream so I asked for it and they gave me crema, but it was regular heavy cream with a dash of spices tossed over it. I mentioned that it tasted different to the waitress and she was surprised that I wanted sour cream. Miscommunication was my fault, but it means I will have to go back and try to go a little deeper into the menu. Nice light lunch, sweet waitress, quick service, $5.35 before tip. Well worth hitting again.
  22. This is an excellent place for anyone looking for quality fresh latin food. In the back of the market there is a butcher, that has excellent meats btw, where orders are taken for the food. They offer a range of food low prices. Today I had a bean and cheese pupusa, slaw and two corn tamales for a whopping $4.00. The meal is served with fresh pico and sour cream. The store is located on old lee highway a bit east from the lee heights shopping center. LA UNION GROCERY 4308 Lee Hwy Arlington, VA 22207 703-812-9484
  23. Stopped in at La Plaza (on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE between 6th and 7th) on The Hill last night, had a "mexican" food craving going. This is my favorite of the cluster of El Salvadoran/Mexican joints that litter the Hill. we started with the ubiquitous bowl of tortilla chips and salsa. Then I went with the carnitas soft tacos, which were very yummy, slices of tender pork, piled with lettuce and cheese. it of course comes with side of sour cream, guacamole, and beans and rice. Everything was really fresh tasting and and you can't go wrong with the $10 price tag.
  24. My husband recently discovered this place. The food is amazing They serve tacos, pupersas, fajitas and other delcious treats. You must get the lengua tacos, the meat is tender and flavorful. The tacos come with harboiled egg, avocado, lettus and onions. Really delicous! Tacos were super cheap, something like My favorite pupusa was the mixed one with pork, cheese and beans. The loroco was also decent. They come with a delicous vinegary coleslaw Husband got the shrimp fajitas that came with roasted vegetables and homemade corn tortillas. They were super thick. Tacos are about 1.50, pupusas are 2. a meals of two pupusas, a taco and fajitas set us back 18 bucks. Not bad! Fair warning the service is sloooooow. Bring a crossword puzzle, book or a charming companion to talk to because you will probably have a half hour wait minimum. Also had a service snafu where they gave us the wrong check but we got that sorted out. La Chiquita 940 E West Hwy Takoma Park, MD 20912 (301) 270-0366
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