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El Golfo, Salvadoran and Mexican on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring


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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.

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Five years later, and El Golfo is still going strong with solid, dependable food (stick to the non Tex-Mex) and a welcoming atmosphere. We walked in last night and were pleased to discover that they have added surprisingly good live jazz on Wednesday nights.$5 gets you a seat in the front room and a margarita. They have a similar program on Thursday featuring local blues acts.

We had lomo saltado, and hummed along to standards like My Baby Just Cares For Me. Will definitely go back for the music.

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[in case anyone thinks their posts here don't have impact, I'm raising El Golfo in the Dining Guide based strictly on the above two posts (I've never been here myself, but I trust Joe and Heather enough where I feel comfortable in doing so - based on these two reviews, it was ranked a bit too low for my own comfort.)

As you can probably imagine, it is extremely difficult to keep up with, what, 2,000 restaurants now? If you see something that I've got ranked way too high, or way too low, the chances are that I've just missed it, and have probably never been there to judge for myself. Please point this out to me via PM and I'll make every effort to get there when I can, or at the minimum, do some extensive research. No one person on earth could tackle this dining guide without the help of others, and that includes me.]

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El Golfo is hosting an event Wednesday, August 31st, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm to raise funds in support of relief efforts for the victims of the Flower Branch Apartments explosion. From an e-mail I received:

Please join us on Wednesday, August 31, 6:30-9:30pm for an evening of great music and camaraderie, food and drink.
 
We will be raising funds in support of the relief efforts at the Flower Branch apartments and are hoping for a great turnout in support of the cause.. 
 
The event will take place at El Golfo Restaurant:
(2 blocks from the explosion site)
 
8739 Flower Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910 
 
The event's partner-presenter-sponsors include Carpe Diem Arts, Impact Silver Spring, Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP), Progressive Neighbors, Renters Alliance, Safe Silver Spring,  SSTCi. We are very grateful to our host Ada Villatoro, owner of El Golfo who will contribute 20% of all food and drink sales from the evening. 
 
Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) will distribute the funds raised at the event. 
 
Featured performers are:
-- LEA -- world-class singer-songwriter
-- LILO GONZALEZ & FAMILY -- celebrating a brand new CD release!
-- MAUREEN ANDARY -- sensational singer, multi-instrumentalist and pied piper of the ukulele!
 
There will be some strum-along and sing-along opportunities
-- so BYO UKES and voices!

Here's hoping to see you there! 
 
Many thanks in advance -- for giving as generously as you can.
 
P.S. If you are unable to attend the event but would like to make a donation please visit: https://www.givedirect. org/donate/?cid=1110 
 
P.P.S. Here is the link to the Facebook event:
Please let us know if you are planning to come.
 
Hasta la vista.
 
Busy Graham
301-466-0183 cell
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