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

alkapal Oct 4, 2007 11:58 AM

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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    Steve RE: alkapal Oct 4, 2007 12:36 PM

    Your best bet is probably Guajillo in Arlington.

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      bylinemjf RE: alkapal Oct 4, 2007 12:58 PM

      El Paso Cafe in Ballston does a nice version.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bylinemjf
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        rHairing RE: bylinemjf Oct 4, 2007 01:05 PM

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

        1. re: rHairing
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          Steve RE: rHairing Oct 4, 2007 01:11 PM

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

          1. re: Steve
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            Jamie D RE: Steve Oct 4, 2007 01:32 PM

            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
          alkapal RE: bylinemjf Oct 4, 2007 06:31 PM

          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!

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          AnneBird RE: alkapal Oct 5, 2007 09:41 AM

          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
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            Jamie D RE: AnneBird Oct 5, 2007 09:54 AM

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

            1. re: Jamie D
              alkapal RE: Jamie D Oct 5, 2007 01:49 PM

              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. alkapal RE: alkapal Oct 25, 2008 07:13 PM

            hi everyone! any news on the carnitas front?

            2 Replies
            1. re: alkapal
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              MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 26, 2008 05:54 AM

              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
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                Jason1 RE: MikeR Oct 28, 2008 08:16 AM

                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. Meg RE: alkapal Oct 26, 2008 10:43 AM

              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.

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                sharp97 RE: alkapal Oct 26, 2008 01:58 PM

                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.

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                  Suemelk RE: alkapal Oct 27, 2008 07:08 PM

                  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
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                    MikeR RE: Suemelk Oct 28, 2008 08:44 AM

                    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
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                      Suemelk RE: MikeR Nov 2, 2008 01:48 PM

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

                      1. re: Suemelk
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                        Steve RE: Suemelk Nov 2, 2008 06:33 PM

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

                        1. re: Steve
                          Meg RE: Steve Nov 3, 2008 07:25 AM

                          Where's On the Fly?

                          1. re: Meg
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                            Steve RE: Meg Nov 3, 2008 11:37 AM

                            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.

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