There *IS* Good Mexican Food in the DC Area. And it's in a Gas Station. Seriously.

Discussion in 'Washington, DC' started by gleff, Mar 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    Yesterday, Tyler Cowen blogged about R&R Tacqueria, the deli attached to the Shell gas station at 7894 Washington Blvd. in Elkridge, Maryland. Yes, seriously. Blogged about a deli attached to a gas station.

    Since Tyler is for all intents and purposes my boss, I naturally had to go check it out today. (No, seriously, it turns out that I needed to be in Laurel, Maryland just before lunch time, so it was perfect happenstance.)
    Tyler wrote:

    It is the best huarache I have eaten, ever, including in Mexico. It is the best chile relleno I’ve had in the United States, ever. They serve among the best Mexican soups I have had, ever, and I have been to Mexico almost twenty times.​

    I thought he was exaggerating, that it would be good in a “hey, I actually got good food at a gas station” kinda way. You know, “it sure beats Go Go Taquitos!”

    But no. Their tacos are actually good. Really good. As in blow your mind good.
    The whole way home I was debating whether or not I would drive 50 minutes for good tacos. I’ve flown to Barcelona for dinner, so yes I suppose I would if I really wanted good tacos. The only question will be, how often?

    For years I’ve wanted good Mexican food in the DC area. Not Salvadoran food. Not Chipotle (which is highly underrated). But actual good Mexican food. This is it.

    It’s not a date place. And it’s not a long, lingering meal place. But it is good food.

    We drove up, park in the Shell parking lot. The place is attached to the gas station but has its own entrance, inside the two businesses are walled off by hard plastic. And then you’ve just got a real honest to goodness kitchen.

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    There are only three stools and two counters. We came in and two folks were eating at one counter, we took the other counter. My wife sat, I was happy to stand.

    We ordered ourselves six tacos and a soda to share, they didn’t want our money until we were done eating and the bill came to $13 and change all-in.

    Not much English is spoken, though at the counter they get by. About ten people came in for takeout while we were there, none of them spoke English either. Everything was top notch, from fresh made tortillas (they use two per taco so they don’t fall apart) to some of the most flavorful meat I’ve tasted.

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    (I didn’t have my camera, photos were taken with my blackberry.)

    I can no longer claim that it’s impossible to find decent Mexican food in the DC area, if you can call Elkridge, Maryland the DC area…
     
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  2. Gargoyle
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    That looks good!

    When I lived in D.C. they had a saying, "lose a country, gain a restaurant". Because, when a country changed governments, the well-heeled high up officials could simply get resident status and retire; the low level embassy employees, OTOH, couldn't go home and had to quickly find a way to earn a living. The easiest way was to open a restaurant.

    Since this has never been the case with Mexico, maybe that's why there weren't good Mexican restaurants in D.C.?
     
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  3. thegrailer
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    Too bad there isn't something closer to the district. I've been jonesing for good Mexican food since I left AZ 6 years ago.
     
  4. gleff
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    Tyler emails to tell me that the tacos, while good, worst the least desirable items he tried there. I'll need to check out the soup for sure..
     
  5. b1513
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    The food in those pictures looks outstanding. I'm hungry just looking at those after just having dinner. It might be worth a detour when I'm down that way.
     
  6. Freddie Listo
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    The tacos and the enchilada look good.

    While these are not from a commercial establishment, these are enchiladas from La Casa de Freddie Listo . . .a bit closer to IAD than Elkridge. :)

    1enchiladas.jpg
    Sauce made from a mix of California, New Mexico, and Guajillo chiles.


    2enchiladas.jpg
    Shredded beef enchiladas.
     
  7. sobore
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    Great post! Similar concept here in Illinois, Mexican Food in back of a grocery store and it's way good better than the fancy Mexican restaurant down the street from the store.
     
  8. gleff
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    Lauriol Plaza is a popular place with plenty of outdoor seating. But the food is inedible.
     
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  9. Golfingboy
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    Judging from the pictures, the tacos are as authentic as it can get and it looks really delicious... The key with most Mexican food [burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc] is the sauce. So was the sauce or the guac delicious?

    Next time I am back in my home state, I am definitely going to make a point to visit that place, so thanks for sharing gleff :)

    Point of clarification with Lauriol, it is definitely not Mexican, no where near Mexican... Their salsa is not even close and the menu is not even close to being Mexican. It seems more like Spanish to me, but I am not sure if it actually resemble Spanish food, since I have never been to Spain myself.. Need to visit that country sometime soon :p

    However, I have eaten there twice with two different groups of people and everybody was satisfied with the food...
     
  10. joanek
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    I'm going to have to agree. it's fun to sit outside and have a drink, but the food is nothing special.
     
  11. dc_traveler
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  12. joanek
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  13. monitor
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    It is no detour at all on the way to BWI. I have used that Shell station a number of times to refuel my rental car before dropoff but have never walked into the attached restaurant. Thanks to gleff's post, that will change next time that I use BWI.
     
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  14. Tad's Broiled Steaks

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    If there's anywhere in the dc area (accessible by metro) that sells cochinita pibil, that's all I need. Otherwise, it's not worth the guff.
     
  15. joanek
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    I have to agree with Gary. I have, for years, tried to like the food at Lauriol Plaza. And I just can't. Too much of a scene for this old fogey, too. But I will admit to enjoying a drink on the patio.


    Oops, reading up, I see that I already agreed with Gary, more than a year ago. Oh well, I still do!
     

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