Best Street Food

Best: Pupatella Neapolitan Food Cart
Located outside the Ballston Metro station between N. Stuart and N. 9th Streets, Arlington
2nd Best: Sabor Latino
Chevron at 8550 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
For whatever reason—restrictive city regulations, the iron fist of depot owners, lunar tides—the District’s street-cart scene can’t seem to outgrow its adolescent junk-food stage. Sure, if you really hunt for it, you can find meatless burritos, gumbo, and even bulgogi, but our streets are still mostly littered with dogs, chips, and candy. The most interesting carts, sad to say, are located in the ’burbs. Like in Ballston, where across from the Metro station, the tomato-red Pupatella cart peddles a fairly impressive Neapolitan-style pie in a space no larger than a men’s room stall. You can even order up a Margherita round with fresh buffalo mozz if you want (and have an extra $3 to spare). How serious does Pupatella take itself? It offers weekly specials, for chrissakes, as if it were a French bistro or something. By contrast, Sabor Latino probably hasn’t changed its menu since the day it started parking behind the Chevron station at 8550 Piney Branch Road. It, like so many food trucks in Montgomery County, hawks that predictable pair of masa favorites, pupusas and tacos. Both come with a number of fillings, but the one to order is this dense, meaty beast known as the “mixto” taco, which combines finely chopped beef and diced lengua with a slice of avocado and just enough onions and cilantro to lighten things up. It may be the single best hand-held snack in the area.