Imagine a place where cuisines from numerous Latino countries were offered in a concentrated area. The food was fresh tasting, prepared (but not cooked) in front of you, and was cash only. This mythological place we speak of is a reality if you choose to make the journey to Unity Park in Adams Morgan between Friday and Sunday. When one of my friends called and asked if I wanted to go help him pick his car up from his DC law school I promptly agreed, having been sick for the past three days and filled with a desire to fulfill my resolution to spend more time in DC proper.
He picked me up from my house and so our journey began. Initially we had plans to visit the most excellent Schwarma Spot, but while driving in Adams Morgan we spotted the Latino Market and impulsively decided to check it out. There were plenty of people of all sorts of ethnicities hanging around the area and eating so we figured it must be good. Walking up to it from our parking spot we started spotting the flags of various countries (and territories); Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, etc.
Initially overwhelmed at the plethora of choices, we made the rounds before deciding to start our feast at one of the Salvadoran tents. We ordered the beef tacos (2 for $5) and chicken taquitos (4 for $5). The first item we ate was the tacos. Having watched the woman taking our order pile beef, fresh pico de gallo, cheese, and then HALF AN AVACADO PER TACO onto fluffy, fresh tortillas our mouths were watering. It turns out not only our mouths would be wet, but also our hands for these were the juiciest tacos I have ever eaten. Our hands were dripping with juice and grease, forcing us to eat over the styrofoam container in which they came in. After we devoured the tacos we realized we needed napkins, but fret not, for the stand provided us with the greatest napkins known to man, paper towels. Enthusiastic after the tacos we moved onto the taquitos. I am not the biggest fan of taquitos and rarely order them when out. These taquitos were hands down the best I’ve ever had. They were fried perfectly, leaving the chicken succulent and moist. They were topped with more of the pico de gallo on top, which frankly didn’t get eaten that much since it fell off. These single-handedly changed my opinion of taquitos.
Since the mercury was hovering around 99 degrees that day and we had just consumed a delicious meal, we decided beverages were a must. Every tent was offering some form of beverage, but we made the calculated decision to get ices. I am not a sno-cone man. Frankly, I hate it when things are colored bright blue (including Gatorade) and they generally offer me little joy. These ices were delicious, their syrup offerings far surpassed the traditional carnival fare with flavors such as pineapple, mango, coconut, etc. I went with a pineapple and mango blend, while my associate went straight mango. Our two ices were standard sno-cone sized and came in a small styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon with the price being $5 for both (seeing a pattern here?). As the ices melted in the sweltering DC Fall heat, they became better and better, allowing the flavors to seep into the ice with greater depth.
I know what you’re thinking and yes it was a good meal, but we weren’t done yet. On the way to the car, we passed by a stand selling empanadas and got two chicken empanadas for $5 ($3 for 1 or 2 for $5). It made a delicious snack about an hour later when I ate it. The dough was chewy, soft, and did a fantastic job of maintaining structure, thus preventing the filling from falling out as I munched on it, instead of disintegrating like a second-rate pastry. The filling was very simple composed mainly of chicken, onions, and a few other ingredients I have since forgotten. Overall a delicious snack, that was conveniently pocket-sized.
If you want simple, delicious food at great prices please make the trip out to Unity Park in Adams Morgan. I guarantee you will find something you like (unless you’re a vegetarian) at a price that’s quite reasonable. If you’re a fan of street food, make the pilgrimage.
Upon returning home I did a little research about this market and discovered that the neighboring restaurants in the area are not as big of fans as we were. But this isn’t a blog about local politics, it’s about reviewing food.
(The above image was not taken by me, but rather borrowed from Prince of Petworth)