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Don Arturo, Bolivian in South Clarendon - Closed (But Reopened As Another Bolivian Restaurant)

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Say you just drove up to El Charrito Caminante on a Tuesday evening.

Say you just made a valiant u-turn on Washington Blvd and deftly ducked into the oddly empty parking lot.

Say you injured your forehead smacking yourself once you remembered El Charrito is closed on Tuesdays.

Say you happen to be facing Don Arturo's and had been wanting to try it forever.

Say you go into the tiny storefront, amble up to the counter, and start reading the menu.

Say the gentleman who had been practicing acoustic guitar (!) when you walked in suddenly stops and walks up to help you choose.

Say your "Mang-lish" is rustier than the Tin Man in a rain storm. And your helpful musician friend does not speak a word of English.

What do you do?

Do what I did. Say (in risky, risky Mang-lish) "whatever you like is what I would like to have". Ask no other questions, but say "sí, sí, sí" to the offer of picante sauce.

Shell out your twelve bucks, credit cards accepted. Be surprised with how quickly the meal arrives from the friendly kitchen staff. Be delighted with the timing because your small talk was beginning to skirt the edge of your limited vocabulary.

On the trek home, consider the intensely delicious aromas emanating from your car. When you finally power into the ridiculously large portion of thinly pressed and breaded meat, two fried eggs, fried potatoes, freshly chopped salsa cruda, smartly seasoned rice, and green picante sauce, sigh contentedly. This is total Silpancho satisfaction.

Eat about a tenth of it (WAY too much food) in between mumblings of how grateful you are to be living in the DC area.

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Oh man, Don Arturo's Silpancho! What a mountain of delicious over the top culinary bliss! Start with a generously mounded bottom layer of rice, add a thick layer of fried potatoes that give it a hint of a crunchy texture, then a breaded, pounded flank steak, tasty and either pounded or sliced right, because it is not tough, just tasty. Then there are two fried eggs, cooked sunny side up so they add a beautiful rich, yellow flow of flavorful joy! Finally, you add a layer of cilantro, diced tomatoes and onions, and you dress it with a touch of locoto red chili or salsa verde. Delicious! And it covers a large plate to overflowing!

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