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La Lomita and La Lomita II, Texadorean on Capitol Hill


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Last night I was in an exploratory mood, so I ate dinner with a friend at La Lomita, 13th and Pennsylvania Ave. SE (AKA, in the past, the ghetto). Though my mind wasn't blown, I was pretty happy with it. I had chicken tamales, which came with a light tomatillo sauce, beans, guac, and rice. The guac was mediocre, but the beans and the tamales were right on; the tamales were less sweet than I've had before (a good thing) and nice and soft.

The girl was more adventurous and had flounder rancheros, which came out with fresh steamed veggies (broccoli and zucchini) and black beans. The flounder, from the taste I had, was good, while the beans were a bit disappointing.

Previously, I thought the only options I had for Latino food in the 'hood was to eat at Tortilla Grill -- which isn't a bad thing, but its also not a restaurant per se. I've avoided Starfish Cafe, and the Mexican spot across from Cap. Lounge (is it called La Lomita Dos or am I hallucinating?) is a bit too far and not great (don't get me started on La Loma). But I was pleasantly surprised by La Lomita...

So, I know there are other Hillizens out there -- am I late to the game on this place?

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Last night I was in an exploratory mood, so I ate dinner with a friend at La Lomita, 13th and Pennsylvania Ave. SE (AKA, in the past, the ghetto)....

So, I know there are other Hillizens out there -- am I late to the game on this place?

La Lomita is our default choice when we're too tired to cook and want someplace close by where we can take our four-year-old. We've been going to it and to Lomita Dos for nearly ten years now. The area has not been "ghetto" for quite some time, but the best part of town it ain't.

I'm not a connoiseur of Mexcan food, but my impression is that both Lomita and Lomita Dos are standard American imitations of Mexican fare and have very little to do with Mexican food. My favorite dish is the burrito al carbon, but everything tatses the same after a while, and I really see no difference between the two locations. They were at one time under the same owner, I think, but are now managed separately. We like going to either place and the staff are truly wonderful, but we've been so often over the years that we always try to think of something else first (which has become much more possible on the Hill recently).

Oh, margaritas are excellent at both places. Not too sweet, and nice and boozy.

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So, I know there are other Hillizens out there -- am I late to the game on this place?

i have not been to la lomita in years. when i lived on the hill it was a regular haunt for me. i have particularly fond memories of sitting on thier deck and enjoying lomo saltado while sucking down a pitcher of very good magaritas.

it was never the best food, but it was always good. the service was always extremely warm, and accomodating.

thank you for reminding me of another restaurant that needs to get back on my radar screen.

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You should also check out La Plaza, on Penn between 7th and 8th and Las Placitas on 8th Street, a block or two over from Penn Ave (on the newly crowned stretch known as Barricks Row). Both are good low cost El Salvadorean/Mexican joints with strong margaritas. Both also kid friendly, esp. La Plaza.

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I second the La Placitas recommendation. It has been around for years and serves good quality, very affordable food. I'm a big fan of the ceviche and shrimp in butter garlic sauce. Yummmm.

Across the street is Banana Cafe. It too has been around a while but not as long as La Placitas. It is Cuban food with your standard American Mexican fair on the menu. The have a great roasted salsa (similar to what you find at Cactus Cantina). I couldn't tell you about how the food is now though.

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Across the street is Banana Cafe. It too has been around a while but not as long as La Placitas. It is Cuban food with your standard American Mexican fair on the menu. The have a great roasted salsa (similar to what you find at Cactus Cantina). I couldn't tell you about how the food is now though.

I'm not a big fan of Banana, but I do have to check out La Placitas. I'm not huge on "Mexican" but when I get a craving, nothing else can scratch it. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Don't forget, that none of these restaurants are really Mexican, but el Salvadorean that produce food that Americans equate as Mexican. For instance, while their menus are heavy on things like burritos, enchilada, fajitas etc. Las Placitas has a section that offers El Salvadorean specialties (as does La Plaza)...I guess it's a minor point...

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I guess it's a minor point...

No, it's a good one. The fact that D.C. lacks authentic Mexican food has been thrown about many a time, on many a forum. I like authentic Salvadorean as well, particularly Los Chorros in Wheaton... but now I'm straying from topic and Mr. Rockwell is going to send me to time out.

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It's not authentic Mexican food but much of it is very good food, at least at La Lomita Dos. In fact, the flan is superb!

Edited to add that we used to go to La Lomita all the time but the lines were long so when the same owners started La Lomita Dos (several years ago now) we started eating there. Now it has different owners, still very friendly after all these years.

Edited by chuchelo
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This is my first post on the site, so, hi everyone! :lol:

I'm from LA and while I'm no foodie, I know good Mexican when I taste it...and La Lomita Dos is not good Mexican.

I had a standard combo platter with a beef tamale, chicken enchilada, rice, beans, and maybe something else like a soft taco or something. The rice and beans were bland, the enchilada boring, and the tamale was the worst I've ever had. In fact, it was soggy, like cornbread soaked in milk for a minute, falling apart on the fork. Even the salsa that came with the free chips was uninteresting. Maybe it was just the one time I went, but my plate was fairly terrible. I have no intention of returning and finding out if it was a fluke event.

Especially when Mixtec has authentic and spectacular Mexican food that would impress any native Angeleno.

Q

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This is my first post on the site, so, hi everyone!  :lol:

Especially when Mixtec has authentic and spectacular Mexican food that would impress any native Angeleno. 

Hi, and welcome, fellow native Angeleno, to the land of mediocre Mexican food! I wish that I could support your enthusiasm for Mixtec, but I find it a "mixt bag" as it were. Tacos al carbon are ok, but everything else I've had there was not very good. Granted, I haven't been there in a couple of years...Maybe it's gotten better. You might like Taqueria El Poblano in Arlington and Del Rey neighborhood of Alexandria. The owner is a guy from Pacific Palisades who was homesick for L.A.-style Mexican food. My favorite thing to order there is tacos al pastor.

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Hi, and welcome, fellow native Angeleno, to the land of mediocre Mexican food! I wish that I could support your enthusiasm for Mixtec, but I find it a "mixt bag" as it were. Tacos al carbon are ok, but everything else I've had there was not very good. Granted, I haven't been there in a couple of years...Maybe it's gotten better. You might like Taqueria El Poblano in Arlington and Del Rey neighborhood of Alexandria. The owner is a guy from Pacific Palisades who was homesick for L.A.-style Mexican food. My favorite thing to order there is tacos al pastor.

I make no claim to know much about Mexican food, and would tend to agree that this area is not a hotbed of that cuisine, but the "Hyattville twins," El Tapatio and La Sirenita, should be tried by anyone who is seeking out authentic Mexican. I just had lunch today at LS and the bottom line is there are dishes there worthy of your interest. Same is true of ET. I won't attempt to describe them but Kilman has written reviews of both which can be found in the restaurant finder section of the City Paper web page. He also recently wrote about another one nearby called Taqueria Tres Reyes which sounded good.

"Steve" wrote a brief report about our trip to LS and posted on another board--I reproduce it below:

<<<Four of us descended upon this Riverdale, MD dive in PG County's Little Mexico area. We had a great time, and everything we ordered was good.

I am defintiely tempted go back and explore more, although I do not feel compelled to revisit the items we had this time. We had:

"shampoo" soup, with seafood, beef, and spaghetti. (VERY spicy)

Posole, a hominy and pork soup (bland at first, but the addition of radish, lettuce and tortillas made it satisfying)

Chicken Mole, (big, meaty legs with a rich sauce)

Chilaquiles (tortilla chips almost soaked in a red sauce with a bit of white cheese on top.)

Chili Relleno (good stuff)

Orders of tamarindo and agua de melon to drink produced impressive personal pitchers with ice and a straw. Glass optional.

The fact that the rice and beans are well-made and tasty already puts this place ahead of most closer alternatives.

As a counterpoint to other postings on La Sirenita, the service was excellent and went beyond the call of duty. Knowing some Spanish (thanks Rebecca) pays off. They even turned down the level of the sound system in our honor. From 10 to at least 8. >>>

Edited by johnb
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Have you ever had to come up with a place where 28 people could go for a not-too-expensive dinner at the last minute on Cap Hill - oh and you have to be able to eat & run to make the baseball game at RFK? Well if you ever find yourself in such a quandary, look no further than La Lomita. The tiny little restaurant was stuff to its gills with a long table of hungry pro softball players, friends and family, but the margaritas & beer were cold (even if the AC was non-existent) and the food was hot both in temperature and spice.

I had an icy margarita on the rocks accompanied by the beef flautas (YUM). Others at the table had tacos, burritos and a quite a few salads. The chicken on the taco salad was reportedly out of the park (these people are as punny as I am at times!). Despite a full house, drinks were refilled at a nice clip, food came out in waves but not with so much time between shifts that people were waiting for the rest to finish, and the check was paid with time to spare to get us all to the park in time for the bottom of the first.

It had been a while since I had visited La Lomita. It won't be so long before the next though.

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Sonoma last night.

Were you able to sit outside? We almost went there, but opted for La Lomita instead, which is my favorite al fresco standby in the area. Food is probably comparable to other Mexican/Salvadoran spots around, but the folks there are really sweet and the patio is hard to beat on a perfect night like we had yesterday. Unlike some of the hill spots that are closer to the Capitol, it is pretty easy to get a seat outside there.

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Were you able to sit outside? We almost went there, but opted for La Lomita instead, which is my favorite al fresco standby in the area. Food is probably comparable to other Mexican/Salvadoran spots around, but the folks there are really sweet and the patio is hard to beat on a perfect night like we had yesterday. Unlike some of the hill spots that are closer to the Capitol, it is pretty easy to get a seat outside there.

I believe this review is about La Loma on Mass and not La Lomita on Penn.

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I believe this review is about La Loma on Mass and not La Lomita on Penn.

Nope. It's not about La Loma on Mass, nor La Lomita Dos (308 Penn SE) but about La Lomita (1330 Penn SE). La Loma does have outdoor seating, but it is hard to get and I prefer La Lomita which is far enough from the Capitol so as to avoid the crowds.

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Once you accept that Capitol Hill Mexican is its own genre only distantly related to actual Mexican food or even Uncle Julio's-caliber Tex-Mex, you have to admit that the Lomitas do a heck of a job with the marinade and the grilling of their beef tacos al carbon.

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We used to be regular patrons of both places, but our last experience at Lomita left our whole family feeling sick. My impression is that things have started to go downhill with these restaurants in the past year or so.
Which one are you talking about? I believe ownership of the two restaurants split several years ago. I've always been fond of the one further East, in part because of their patio and in part because I tend to find their staff really friendly and gracious. But I haven't been since it got cold, so it's probably been 6 months now.
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