Tuesday, March 19, 2013

El Chucho: Tacos for Hipsters & Giveaway Winner Announced

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First of all, we'd like the congratulate the winner of our first Cook Book Giveaway, Grace from Practicing Grace! We numbered the comments we received and used a random number generator to pick our winner. Please send us an e-mail to tell us which cook book you would like. Thanks to all of you who participated!

A few weeks ago, I had a serious craving for tacos. Lucky for me, there are a ton of places to find good ones around town! To satisfy this craving, I enlisted my friend Kristen to seek out one of the more authentic taco places in Columbia Heights, a historically Hispanic neighborhood in DC. After reading endless Yelp reviews, I finally decided on a little "hole in the wall" establishment named El Rinconcito Deportivo. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found the doors locked, lights off, and a legal notice tacked to the front door. 

As we peered down 11th Street, we realized we were only one block over from El Chucho - another Mexican restaurant that had caught my eye on Yelp. Considering the number of authentic Latin restaurants in the neighborhood, I have to admit it felt a little weird to be eating Mexican food in a place owned by a woman named "Greenbaum" but it was cold out and we were hungry so we just went for it. 

El Chucho is tiny, brightly colored, and filled with tequila. The only thing rivaling the number of tequila bottles on the walls is the number of 20-somethings donning plaid shirts and horn-rimmed glasses tucked inside. That said, this place is doing something cool. If you are looking for Coca-Cola products, you best take your business elsewhere. They serve traditional and modern Mexican dishes, as well as craft soda and a variety of fun cocktails. 

Kristen and I first started out with the guacamole and chips. El Chucho seems to use a pretty traditional guacamole recipe, but it was very tasty. The homemade chips were perfectly crunchy and didn't leave any grease on your fingers- my mark of a good chip! 

Image Courtesy of Food Spotting

We then got Huaraches. Huaraches are similar to a flatbread, made of masa flour, and fried until golden and crispy. These ones were extra crispy. They were topped with pickled shallots, queso fresco, and a flavorful leaf called epazote and served with a mole dipping sauce. Personally, I thought they were a little too crunchy, but the combination of toppings was delicious. The creaminess of the cheese really balanced the brininess of the pickled shallots. 

Next, we both got the Tacos De Pollo- chicken tacos. Each order came with two small tacos. The chicken was nicely marinated in a sofrito sauce of garlic, onions, peppers and tomato. They were topped with a little bit of cabbage and scallions that added just the right amount of crunch. These were delicious and totally satiated my taco craving. 

We felt we ordered the perfect amount of food for a very satisfying lunch. The prices were very reasonable, and the staff was pretty attentive. Although this place isn't the most authentic taco place in town, it certainly beats some of the alternatives (i.e. Lauriol Plaza or Alero) in depth of flavor and quality of ingredients. 

We'd love to hear from you; what do you think is the best taco place in DC? 

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