Tex-Mex


I know how many feel about Lauriol Plaza.  And I am one of those who groans and rolls her eyes when the restaurant comes up as a dinner choice.  But when it was clear I wasn’t going to get out of going this time, I decided to suck it up and go.  Besides, maybe it would be better than the last time I went…

  • Food:  I can’t lie.  Lauriol Plaza is a good place to go when you have a large group of people.  Their chips are always hot, thin, and fresh out of the fryer.  Plus, when you add the fact they’re free — who doesn’t appreciate it?  They offer two sides of salsa — one pico de gallo and the other is a hotter mixture.  Their guacamole is decent with good flavors and chunks of avocado.  I ordered their steak fajitas, which when you think about it, you can’t really mess up.  good.  But make no mistake, they really serve Tex-Mex food.
  • Service: Once you get a table, they are good about getting your order, serving your food, and cleaning up quickly. 
  • Atmosphere: There’s actually three levels and outside seating.  It’s a huge restaurant and can be super loud when it’s packed.  The bar is usually jammed as well. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall:  Is it worth the long lines at night and on the weekends?  I’m not a wait in line kind of person so I say no.  If you’ve never been to DC, I’d say to pass this place.  But after living here for five years, it makes sense that you’d try it at least once. 

Details:

  • Reservations are not accepted, but at night and on weekends, be prepared for a super long wait! 
  • Hours: Mon-Thu,Sun 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-12am
  • Address: 1835 18th St NW; Washington, DC 20009
  • Ph: (202) 387-0035

For the last five years, I had been dragging my feet in going to Rosa Mexicano.  To me, when you’re repeatedly told that there are only a few good things on the menu, it’s not exactly a great endorsement.  Well, after reading numerous reviews and since I wasn’t paying, I finally went.

  • Food: We ordered guacamole which came with thick chips which were good.  There were nice chunks of avocado, but I still think my recipe would win in a guac contest.  I ordered the short ribs since it was the only thing that received constant praise and I was not disappointed.  They were so tender and made a knife completely unnecessary.  There are three HUGE pieces of short ribs on the plate.  Next time, I’d split the ribs with a couple of friends since it’d be more than enough food.  They brought black beans to the table which I thought were under-seasoned while the rice was completely over-seasoned and had too much lime juice. 
  • Service: Our server was OK, but as the restaurant got busier, he became more and more absent.
  • Atmosphere: The interior has bright colors and a comfortable atmosphere.  The bar is packed after work for happy hours (I couldn’t find any information that they offered drink/food discounts). 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$/$$$
  • Overall:  Since I didn’t pay for dinner,  I didn’t care.  But I think if I ever go back, I’d definitely order the short ribs again to share with others…and yes, the guacamole.

Details:

  • Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:30am-3pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11am-3pm; Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday: 4-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday: 4-11:30pm; Sunset: Daily 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • Address: 575 7th St NW; Washington, DC 20004
  • Ph: (202) 783-5522

I was originally planning on going to somewhere on M Street for lunch, but when I saw the tables both inside and outside of California Grill packed, I had to try it.  And of course, watch out because there’s a California Grill on Vermont Ave too!

 

  • Food:I ordered their special, the beef burrito, which was pre-made.  I rarely order anything that’s pre-made and I was reminded why.  You can see the photo for yourself.  I can’t lie — it was horrible.  The salsa was really sweet and had this weird tang.  The beef was hard and overcooked.  The rice was also overcooked.  While it may have been $5, I would have much rather eat a $5 from the new burrito cart guy.  So since I had such a dismal experience the first time, I had to go back and try it again.  This time, I ordered their turkey Reuben and while it was good, I think So’s Your Mom is better.

California Grill Beef Burrito  California Grill Beef Burrito  California Grill Beef Burrito 

California Grill Turkey Reuben  California Grill Turkey Reuben

  • Service:They are really nice.  Depending on what you want to order (salad, sandwich, pre-made, etc.), you order from the guy behind the right sign at the counter. 
  • Atmosphere: Inside it reminds me a bit of a Wendy’s (I think — it’s been so long since I’ve been in one!) with their light wood panels.  It’s a pretty big restaurant so they have a lot of seating inside.  They also have 4-6 tables outside. 
  • Attire: Casual
  • Price: $
  • Overall: If your office is super close, I can see going here a lot since they are so nice and they serve decent sandwiches.  For the days you’re in a rush, they can make your sandwich and get you out in less than 10 minutes which is great. 

Details:

  • Hours: Mon-Fri 6 AM-4:30 PM; Sat 7 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1720 M Street NW; Washington, DC 20036
  • Ph: 202-463-4200

Readers know how much I loved the Burrito Cart Man who lived in front of the CVS on K and 15th Street.

So I was walking around one day trying to figure out what to eat for lunch and found a burrito cart man on the corner of K and 17th Street (by Farragut North Metro, Dress Barn, and Starbucks).  He’s the green cart.  Now I know he’s been there for years, but I had never tried his cart.

Here’s the deal.  He offers:

  • Tomato, spinach, or plain tortillas for $4.50
  • Rice, beans (black or refried), and hot sauce
  • For $0.50 more, you can get guacamole (not homemade) or cheese.  For $0.25 you can get sour cream.

So while he has only 7-9 hot sauces that are either medium or hot, his burritos are the closest I’ve had to the original burrito cart.  But his are definitely not the same.

  • He has no salsa on the burrito so that means no big chunks of onions, tomatoes, or cilantro.
  • He does put the tortilla into the steam heat so it’s hot, but he doesn’t throw the cheese on until the end (but it does still melt). 

While they’re not the same, it was a decent burrito for $5. 

Burrito Cart Burrito  Burrito Cart Burrito

I cannot believe this is happening.  The Burrito Man will no longer be operating after November 20th.  You better grab a couple of burritos on Monday and Tuesday as they will be your last.

I’m so sad.  I’ve been going to the Burrito Man for almost 5 years now.  😦 

But the good news is this — if you email him (or give him your businesscard), he’ll send you a burrito kit.  He’s looking for someone to help “spiff up” his Web site so he can take burrito orders and send you a kit from NC.  Thank goodness we can still get our burrito! 

**Update 9/3 – The burrito cart will be re-opening!** 

This might be the worst day ever (OK, exaggerating).  But, I just read in DCist that the Burrito Man (see here for my ode to his fantastic, cheap burrito) might be closing down unless he can find a new Burrito Man.  See here for the story on why he’s moving.

Apparently, the guy who was going to take the title has disappeared.

Why do you toy with our emotions new Burrito Man?  Come out of hiding! 

** Read the update here **

**Update 9/3 – The burrito cart will be re-opening!  And he’ll be staying at 15th and K in front of CVS!** 

You may remember my ode to the Burrito Man.  Well, DCist says that Burrito Man #1 will be handing off his cart to Burrito Man #2 AND moving to 14th and L.

** Read the update here **

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