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CARNITAS -- craving... who has best in NOVA?

I love carnitas, and have been craving the real deal. What restaurant in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax, NOVA has the best?

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  1. Your best bet is probably Guajillo in Arlington.

    1. El Paso Cafe in Ballston does a nice version.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bylinemjf

        I work in Ballston. Where is El Paso located? Would love to give it a try!

        1. re: rHairing

          It's on Pershing just west of Glebe, same neighborhood at Ravi Kabob. I wouldn't call it Ballston, though.

          1. re: Steve

            that would be the Buckingham neighborhood. a little too far for a Ballston worker's lunch unless you drive.
            What about Taqueria Poblano for carnitas?

        2. re: bylinemjf

          I'll pass-o on El Paso because of la cucaracha crawling up the wall behind me last time I was there. No big deal, apparently, to the staff!

        3. I second Taqueria Poblano. I was just there yesterday and everything was really good, and authentic! If you do so, definitely try the Duck Carnita- totally addictive!

          2 Replies
          1. re: AnneBird

            Del Ray or Lee-Harrison? recent posts have been panning the LH outpost

            1. re: Jamie D

              yeah, we haven't been there in a while for just.... poor everything -- it is so close to our home, yet....so far away for return visits!

          2. hi everyone! any news on the carnitas front?

            2 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              As an experiment a month or so ago, I got a package of carnitas from the Trader Joe's heat-and-eat meat section and I thought it was pretty good. Kind of like the Carolina BBQ from Harris Teeter that folks have been talking about here lately - if you don't have the inclination to make it yourself, it's not a bad substitute.

              I've had the duck carnitas taco at Taqueria Poblano and enjoyed it, but there isn't really enough meat in there to make a judgment.

              1. re: MikeR

                I agree, I've had good luck with TJ's carnitas - the chunk of shoulder not the pre shredded stuff. I warm it until soft, then break it apart into a frying pan in crisp it up until golden. Not as good as the best, but a nice option.

            2. Surprisingly, the carnitas fajitas at On the Border (a chain, I know) are actually really good. Aside from the chips, salsa and margaritas, it's the only thing I really like there. It's a great fix, in a pinch.

              1. I like the Carnitas at Coyote Cantina & Grill in Fairfax City. It is located on Main St. just outside Old Fairfax in the TJ Maxx shopping center. That is probably my favorite item on their menu.

                1. I had a really good carnitas taco from a green and white cart in front of the Smithsonian American History museum on the mall Sunday before last. I can't remember the name but I think it had the word Fresh in it. It was $3.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Suemelk

                    I didn't know they had carts, but I suppose it could be from Baja Fresh, the chain that has several shops in the area. Their carnitas taco and burrito is actually pretty decent. If it came from the side of a truck (and maybe a cart) it would be more chow-worthy than a clean order-at-the-counter chain restaurant.

                    1. re: MikeR

                      I found out the name of the cart is On The Fly. They also have empanadas.

                      1. re: Suemelk

                        I adore the On the Fly tacos, more new-California style than authentic Mexican. The pork and the chicken are delicious concoctions.

                          1. re: Meg

                            It's a cart, so it's mobile. I believe they are at 8th and H, NW Mon-Fri at lunchtime. The green cart is supposed to look like a giant fly.