Young and Hungry

Young & Hungry Dining Guide by the Day: Taqueria La Placita

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If you want Ethiopian cooking, you head to 9th Street NW. If you want Vietnamese, you program your GPS for the Eden Center. But Mexican food? You might as well fly to San Antonio. At least that’s how desperate I sometimes feel when discussing Washington’s south-of-the-border offerings. Seriously, when one of the area’s favorite “Mexican” eateries is Lauriol Plaza, home of the bro polloi, you know you have a problem. Taqueria la Placita is the exception in this lackluster landscape. Owner Javier Martinez brooks no compromise with his Hyattsville taqueria. In true nose-to-tail fashion, La Placita leaves no part of the animal unused. You find gelatinous oreja (ear) tacos, salty cueritos (pig skins), and chewy cecine (salty beef, likely flank or skirt). Martinez also serves up one of the few authentic al pastor tacos in the area—two corn tortillas brimming with marinated pork roasted slowly on a spit, a technique borrowed from Lebanese immigrants who introduced Puebla natives to shawarma in the 1930s. Each taco comes sprinkled with diced onions and chopped cilantro, to which you can add your choice of radish slices, cucumber rounds, a squirt of lime, and one (or both) of the fiery salsas brought to your table. This, in short, is the true Mexican taco experience, right down to the blaring jukebox in the corner.

5020 Edmonston Road, Hyattsville (301) 277-4477

  • Heff

    I was really hoping this day would never come. La Placita had been a gringo-free experience ever since my Mexican friend introduced me to it, about six months ago (besides my own frequent visits, that is). Then the Washingtonian had to come along and ruin it. Now this, and I'm going to have climb over piles of freakin Virginians just to get my favorite tacos! If there was ever a reason to hate the internet...

  • Tim Carman

    Heff,

    Your concern may be premature. I wrote about Taqueria La Placita last fall, apparently before you were introduced to it. It hasn't been overrun with gringos at any point since then. I've been about the only gringo within a mile's radius whenever I visit. I think the sheer distance keeps many suburbanites locked into their local Taco Bells.

    You can check out the story here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/38154/taco-the-rules-of-engagement-dc-finally-gets-authentic-mexican

    -Tim

  • Heff

    Awesome! Thanks Tim! And it's nice to know that I share a favorite taco place with one of my favorite bloggers. If I ever see another gringo there, I'll know it's you, and I'll buy you a #17.

  • nick

    I was always a big fan of El Charrito Caminante in Arlington.

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