El Centro D.F.

I actually have a whole bunch of posts that come before this one chronologically, but I promised to move this up my queue, so here it is! A couple months ago, I got an email from my friend Junk Food Guy asking me to help him set up his new blog. As a bribe, he would take me to a free dinner that he won via Urban Daddy at El Centro D.F., a new taqueria near U Street NW. I’m actually not a big fan of Mexican food, but I have a feeling that has something to do with the fact that I haven’t had very good Mexican food in my life. I remember thinking during Top Chef Masters Season 1 that I would like to try Rick Bayless’s Mexican cooking, because it looked so good! Maybe I was missing out on something really amazing, here. So I headed off to El Centro with “open heart and empty stomach.”

For the dinner special, we were taken down to a stony, almost dungeon looking room downstairs that serves as their “tequileria” – where they stock a huge number of tequilas at the bar. We had some time beforehand, so the bartender told us about the various tequilas they have there, and that you can order a “tequila flight” if you wanted to try a bunch of them. (He even showed us the shot glass tree thing they serve it in).

After waiting around for a while, we finally got around to ordering food. The dinner was in three courses. For the appetizer and dessert courses, they gave us a sampling of three items each. The entree course was the only one where we got to choose from a selection of things. I’ll begin with the appetizers, pictured above. There was a sampling of chicken flautas, chicken tamale, and steak huaraches. They were all very good! I think my favorite was the steak, though it’s a bit hard to see in this photo (it’s near the back). It was like a mini steak flatbread pizza. I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a tamale before, but I really enjoyed this one.

The rest after the jump:

Here’s the aforementioned tequila tree! The bartender poured some liquid in from the soda fountain, but none of it is actually tequila. XD I told him I was a food blogger, so I guess he wanted to set up this photo-opportunity.

The meal came with their signature margarita. I’m just noticing now how much salt they have crusted on one side of the glass! What’s up with that? The margarita wasn’t too strong, which is good for someone like me, who doesn’t drink very much.

For my entree course, I got chicken zarape with bacon, panela cheese, cotija cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle sauce, crema fresca, refried black beans and creamy white rice. I thought it was decent, but nothing extremely remarkable. The rice was interesting…almost like rice pudding, except with a little more texture. I think they must’ve made the dish with a whole lot of garlic, because I took some of it home and it stunk up my fridge like crazy!

photo by: Junk Food Guy

My pal Junk Food Guy chose more wisely. He got the pork carnitas – slow roasted pork shoulder, guacamole, pickled onion, salsa verde, habanero salsa and charro beans. I had a little bit of it and it was very good! The pork was so tender and juicy. And as you might know, I love activity food where you can customize your food to your own taste and construct it all at the table. XD

Dessert courses were all fabulous: tres leches, churros, and flan. My favorite was the tres leches, pictured in the foreground. It was so spongy and milky and delicious!

In all, I’d say I’m more a fan of Mexican food now than I was before I went. I’d choose a different entree the next time, though.

As for my friend – he has successfully launched his blog since then, and has been busy writing away about his adventures in junk food. If you love chips, candy, and all things guilt-ridden, follow his blog at Junk Food Guy. (^__^)/

It’s great that you got a selection of foods – it sounds like it was a varied meal. I think I prefer that sort of dining, where you can pick from lots of different things and explore the flavours.

The photos look incredible, as always, and even if one or two of the courses didn’t strike you that much, they still make me really hungry! :)

it was a great meal – so glad you could come with me! wait til you have some of the tacos I make from scratch – you’ll love ’em.


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