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El Charrito Caminante, Authentic Mexican, Cash-Only Taqueria With Limited Seating on Washington Boulevard in Clarendon


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What does $4 buy these days? Sadly, not much! But for $4 one can get a delicious fresh burrito made with high quality ingredients that has more flavor than the burritos as big as your head that McDonalds Chipolte serves.

The green sauce is potent and has a nice amount of heat. According to the owner, they make their own sauce because commercially available salsas have too many chemicals and do not appeal to the tastes of El Charrito's target market.

2710 A North Washington Blvd
Arlington VA 22204

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I've eaten at El Charrito many, many times with the Tallula crew. Their ingredients are fresh and the burritos and tacos are full of fresh cilantro and crisp radishes, rather than the molten cheese and bland salsa that are associated with most tacos these days. The green salsa is really nice and spicy, without leaving you gasping for air (or a glass of milk). I recommend calling ahead with your order. There's not a lot of space to wait and it takes about 10 minutes to get your order ready.

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Absolute agreement. The portions are a normal-person size, not the 1200 calorie monsters from Chipotle that leave you wondering why you didn't just go ahead and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's instead. The ingredients are a cut above, which makes for a cheap, flavorful burrito. One of these days, I will get around to trying one of the Tortas.

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For those who may still be lamenting the demolition of the Courthouse Taco Bell - get over it and get on over to El Charrito Caminante!

I'm only sorry it took me until this week to check it out. I had two freshly made tacos (goat and pork) and a pupusa (Loroco) for a measly $5.50. The goat was moist and flavorful (slightly gamey but in a good way) and the pork was tasty as well. The green salsa mentioned above had a watery taste followed by a nice kick. The tortillas were fresh and hot and the pupusa came with a nice portion of marinated cabbage.

I tried Antonio's suggestion but was told everything was good :lol: I'll be back soon to try some other varieties. Don't forget they're closed on Tuesday, so you might have to make due with z-Pizza.

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I'm a big fan, particularly of the vegetarian burrito and the bean-and-cheese pupusa. As a bonus, the nice guy at the counter has repeatedly assured me (and my mom! he wouldn't lie to a mom, would he?) that they don't use lard at all. and they use so little cheese in the burrito, it feels almost healthy.

if you order the pupusas, definitely try to order ahead, otherwise it can take 20 minutes.

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if you order the pupusas, definitely try to order ahead, otherwise it can take 20 minutes.

MMMM. We were there last weekend. Cheese pupusa. YUM. The tacos are also nice - I had goat and steak - and I thought the green sauce was nice and spicy, but also tangy and fresh-tasting. This is my new favorite cheap eats. And I was also enchanted by the Portuguese grocery store just up the road.

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Potato Valley Cafe?

I also second the Clydes on the Walk option. 3-5pm sandwiches are discounted also ($1-2 off, iirc)

I can never remember the name of the "potato place". I think its hit or miss. Their basic baked potato with broccoli, cheddar, bacon and sour cream is pretty good.

Caveat Emptor: the artichoke mix one was about the most foul thing I have ever eaten. Its a wet, tasteless mix of finely chopped up canned artichoke hearts and cottage cheese. It was supposed to have green chiles in it, but I dont remember any. If they had been there it might have had some flavor. It looks almost as bad as it tastes- like vomit on a baked potato.

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I think I just used all of my parking karma in the Charrito lot. At 12:30 on a Thursday, several spaces remained, making it uncharacteristically easy to access the tiny shop during prime time.

I left with a couple of combinado tacos and yuca con chicharron for less than six bucks. Heaven in a takeout bag, courtesy of the Zelaya family.

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I really like TECC, it's a great neighborhood spot. I have to keep reminding myself to see if they can make what I want without cilantro. I don't know why, but to me cilantro tastes really distinctively and the bad taste remains in my mouth for quite some time after I eat other foods (this happens with brussel sprouts too) and they are heavy on the fresh cilantro, which I am sure makes other people very happy. I have been really interested in the sandwich thing they picture on the door or the wall, anyone ever have it?

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I took a Chowhound friend to TECC yesterday, we got a bag of tacos, beef, goat and chicken, and a couple pupusas revuelta, washed it down with a tamarind drink at Lyon Park. Delicious! We both commented on how the tacos were just about perfect, tasting of cilantro, radish, green salsa and meat, not sour cream or some sort of cheese. TECC has the real taco! The tamarind drink is really good, refreshing and not an every day sort of drink. The pupusa was good, as was the cabbage, but the salsa was only ok. All in all, a very good meal, and it cost less than $20 for both of us. I am on a low cholesterol diet, and suddenly the fish sandwich and the veggie look kind of interesting...

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I wasn't sure if I should put this in the 'Firsts' thread - but I finally sucked it up and ordered a Lengua (beef tongue) taco today. I'm not really sure what I was so worried about - it was really good! I kept looking at the contents to make sure they didn't accidentally give me something else by mistake, but I think I got what I ordered. As with the other tacos, it was fresh and filled with crispy radish slivers, cilantro, etc. Loroco pupusa and cabrito taco were also quite tasty and, as KMango said above, it was all a bargain at under $6.

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Tried the veggie burrito for the first time today, $3.25-ish.

Plenty of pintos, lots of cilantro, red onion, scallion. Freshly savory and satisfying. Request extra verde sauce for even more interest.

I'd say "delicious and nothing with a spine had to die" but of course I could not leave without a goat taco, $1.75-ish.

(so the goat died)

(and so did i)

(from deliciousness)

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We both commented on how the tacos were just about perfect, tasting of cilantro, radish, green salsa and meat, not sour cream or some sort of cheese.

Cheese pupusa. YUM.

On my last visit to El Charrito Caminante, probably over a year ago, my tacos came out fairly dry; not this time. I tried one with Carne de Res ($2.00) and it was just about perfect, only surpassed by the pupusa with Queso ($1.50) which was probably the best I've ever had (not just from here, but from anywhere). And the marinated cabbage it comes with is great, too. $3.50 for all of this? Really?

Cheers,

Rocks

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The goat taco, the goat burrito, the goat torta. I never decide until the second before Jose asks for my order when I call it in. Yes El Charrito is a contact in my cell phone. Every so often the meats are dry, but so far the torta has never been plagued by the drought. Highly recommend it if you are looking to change up your charrito order.

The goat is always accompanied by a mixtus pupusa. Some of the red sauce goes on the ever so spicy slaw, some for dipping the pupusa, and a splash on the taco/burrito/torta.

Heaven.

El Charrito is my comfort food go to. Oddly, I seem to crave it most on Tuesdays, the one day Jose rests.

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I got my goat tonight. And a chorizo taco and tongue taco, and a pupusa. And about the same for my wife, Barbara. We're stuffed, and it was $15.

If I had to complain, it would be that the chorizo is too greasy (I should have expected that) and that they didn't ask me how I wanted my pupusa (I would have asked for queso y loroco, which we like better than the mixed or pork that we got tonight). But the first is the nature of the beast, and the second is a pecadillo. The tongue was really good, but the goat is still my favorite. There was also carne asada on the grill while I was there which smelled good, but I have no idea how it tastes.

I'll scan in their takeout menu, but truthfully they don't take that long to put it together. So, if you're running out of the city on 395 to your suburban fortress of solitude, stop by and get a sackful of goodness.

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Has anyone ever had the tortas? or the "Panes Con Gallina: hen sandwich salvadoran style. a unique and delicious salvadoran treat"?

We always get pupusas and a couple tacos, but one member of our party would like something lighter than a pupusa (and has found the tacos too spicy for him in the past, as he's sensitive to spices).

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Has anyone ever had the tortas? or the "Panes Con Gallina: hen sandwich salvadoran style. a unique and delicious salvadoran treat"?

We always get pupusas and a couple tacos, but one member of our party would like something lighter than a pupusa (and has found the tacos too spicy for him in the past, as he's sensitive to spices).

I'm just now re-reading this, Genevieve, and I'll make sure that the next time I go, I'll try a torta and Panes con Gallina for you.

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Every time a new "list" of the best taco places in the area comes out (such as in the Post this past week) I am baffled as to how El Charrito does not make it. Selfishly I am more than happy to see it remain under the radar, but the owner deserves the added business! I suppose having been around for a while it's less trendy, but there are few last second comfort food dinners after a busy day I enjoy as much as a goat taco, a lengua taco, and a mix pupusa from this place. And for less than $10. I have nothing really new to add here beyond what has been said on this thread, but wanted to give a consistently solid and highly enjoyable place its due. Perfectly satisfies everything you want in a neighborhood taco shop.

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1 hour ago, arldiner said:

Every time a new "list" of the best taco places in the area comes out (such as in the Post this past week) I am baffled as to how El Charrito does not make it. Selfishly I am more than happy to see it remain under the radar, but the owner deserves the added business! I suppose having been around for a while it's less trendy, but there are few last second comfort food dinners after a busy day I enjoy as much as a goat taco, a lengua taco, and a mix pupusa from this place. And for less than $10. I have nothing really new to add here beyond what has been said on this thread, but wanted to give a consistently solid and highly enjoyable place its due. Perfectly satisfies everything you want in a neighborhood taco shop.

Everyone always forgets about it (including me).

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I probably eat at El Charrito Caminante 30 times a year or so and have been eating there since it was a food truck in the parking lot across from Fort Myer (20 years ago, maybe?). There are a lot of good taco options in Arlington now (with District Taco, the truck off Route 50 near Rosslyn, the truck in the parking lot in front of the Food Star at George Mason and Columbia Pike -- the one by George Mason, not the one by Columbia Pike, and El Jarochito II at the intersection of Glebe and Route 50), and some of these have more adventuresome fillings than ECC (tripe and brains and al pastor are all available at El Jarochito II).

But for me, El Charrito remains by far the best. I endorse the recommendations here for the cabrito and lengua tacos, with the chorizo being just a touch behind those due to a little greasiness. But I would recommend three other non-taco items on El Charrito's menu highly. The steak and cheese is superb (it blew away a food-snob friend from Philadelphia) and the chicken tamale is basic but soul-satisfying. 

The star of the non-taco menu, however, is the Salvadoran-style chicken sandwich (panes con gallina). Like everything else at ECC, it is a tremendous bargain, way more than you can eat for very little money. It's not really a sandwich, since its heart is a big chunk of bone-in chicken, making it impossible to eat without deconstructing it. It also has a boiled egg, a generous dollop of mayo, and coleslaw (maybe curtido?). I seem to remember some beets too, though I'm not positive about that. It's a sloppy, delicious wonder.

I lost track of Jose when he moved his food truck from near Fort Myer to over by the INS office, which was then in Ballston, so I didn't eat at ECC when it opened as a brick and mortar store on Washington Boulevard for the first several months of its existence.

Jose has told me that when they first opened, for the first few months they had tripa and cachetes (cheeks) as taco fillings, but nobody bought them. I've tried to convince him that the market is more open-minded now, but he seems convinced by his early bad experience with the more exotic ingredients.  

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