First Look AND Taste Test: Chupacabra
stephanie | May 14, 2013 | 10:30AM |

All words: Dana Bleiberg
All photos: Stephanie Breijo

Tucked away just off H Street NE on the corner of 9th is that familiar blue and red goat’s head you might have seen rolling through the city’s streets. Due to new DC regulations becoming more and more unfriendly to food trucks, Chupacabra decided to ditch the truck and say hello to a permanent home.
The interior of Chupacabra is small to say the least. A kitchen, a counter to order your food, a few stools, and brightly colored skulls against black walls. Definitely not airy but thats OK because this location is all about; A. The food and B. The exterior. Currently the patio next to the building is furnished with six or so picnic benches but soon an awning and seating for 60 will take over the patio and most of the sidewalk making this your new favorite outdoor lunch spot.
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I am going to start off with a VERY important note. Chupacabra is NOT a mexican or tex-mex spot. This is a latin kitchen taking influences from all over South America and the Caribbean.
We started off with the Yuca con Chicharrones. Stewed pork belly that is then fried with chunks of yuca resulting an a perfect crunchy, salty bite of pork meat and fat that melts in your mouth. The yuca keeps you from overdosing on salt and fat – If overdosing on salt and fat is even possible. If you want a lighter appetizer go for the Jardin De Chupacabra. Whole jalapeños, cauliflower florets and slices of carrot pickled in house.
Next on the menu are arepas. An arepa, if you have never had the real or stadium food version, is a South American corn cake that is stuffed with fillings. We decided to try the arepa with jamon con queso.  Honey roasted ham and queso fresco filled a crunchy corn cake. Perfectly sweet and savory at the same time.
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After the arepas you will see a list of tacos which really you should look at as a list of fillings since each can be ordered as a taco, a bowl, or an arepa. Fillings come in taco form wrapped in your choice of corn or flour tortillas or in bowl form over corn and cilantro rice and black beans. Both are topped with cilantro and radish.
Over the course of the Chupacabra food truck over 20 different fillings have been created. Unfortunately our stomachs only had enough room for a few of them.
  • The Al pastor is that delicious-looking meat you will see cooking on a spit right behind the counter. Spit roasted pork marinated in guajillo and pineapple. Crispy from the spit, and acidicly sweet from the pineapple.
  • The chorizo con hominy filling is chorizo pork sausage seasoned with annetto and mixed with fluffy corn hominy. This one was a little bit mild for my taste but if you find most chorizo to be too spicy for your liking, this is for you.
  • Primavera, for you vegetarians out there, is a mixture of spicy eggplant and squash with smokey chipotle black beans. Super satisfying and filling in a corn tortilla.
  • Lastly, the borrego del fuego which is hunks of juicy lamb that fall apart on your fork and it is spicy. So amazingly spicy. The staff warned us multiple times about how hot this filling is, though in my opinion, it is perfect and by far my favorite thing on the menu.

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Finally we tried the Cubano which is further proof that Chupacabra is not a mexican restaurant. Bread is filled with roasted pork, ham, baby swiss cheese and pickles then pressed and grilled resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft melty inside. The pickles cut through the richness of the ham and cheese making it easy to eat two (or three) of these sandwiches.
Currently the restaurant is open from 11:00am-11:00pm on Sunday-Thursday and from 11:00am-2:00am on Fridays and Saturdays. Within the next month they expect to be offering breakfast (arepas with butter and mango jam anyone?!), take out and delivery services.
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To celebrate the 10th annual FotoWeekDC festival, FotoDC has partnered with Spain Arts & Culture and the Mexican Cultural Institute as the 2017 FotoWeekCentral Campus. FotoDC & BYT Present: FotoWeekDC 2017 Opening Party! https://fotoweekopening2017.eventbrite.com/ Join us for an exciting evening of photography exhibitions, open bars, small bites, photobooths, music, and more spread across our two-campus FotoWeekCentral as we launch the 10th Annual FotoWeekDC Festival! The FotoWeekDC 2017 Opening Party is made possible with support from The Reva & David Logan Foundation Be among the first to view this year's exhibitions at our two-campus FotoWeekCentral: Magnum Photos Present: Magnum 70 at 70 An exhibition of 70 photographic icons celebrating the diversity of the Magnum Photos agency and how its photographers have born witness to major events of the last 70 years. Including seminal works by Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Martin Parr, and Christopher Anderson, the exhibition spans the globe and covers regional events such as Arab Spring, South Africa under apartheid, and the recent migration crisis. SPAIN arts & culture presents: Cislancerus A project by Thenesoya Martín De la Nuez and Aníbal Martel Cislanderus is cultural project that gives a face to the Canarian descendants in the US. The exhibition shows the faces, and also the voices, of the so called “isleños” from Delacroix Island, the descendants from Baton Rouge, Reggio and San Antonio, Texas. The visitor will delve deep into their work as fishermen and hunters, and discover the ways in which they fight on a daily basis to preserve an unprecedented historical and cultural legacy. FotoDC Presents: FotoWeekDC 2017 Contest Winners See all the winners from the FotoWeekDC 2015 photography contest, featuring both single and series winners in the Fine Art, Photojournalism, and Photographer's Choice categories. View the gallery of 2016 winners here. Also featuring the winners of our 2017 FotoDC:STYLE spring photo competition. Featuring hot jamz from: Ayes Cold & and more TBA! Croosh Deets: Friday, November 10th, 2017, 7:30pm-11pm @ FotoWeekCentral Since FotoWeekDC is celebrating our 10th anniversary bigger and better than ever, FotoWeekCentral will be spread across two campuses this year, @ SPAIN arts & culture and the Mexican Cultural Institute! SPAIN arts & culture 2801 16th St NW Washington, DC 20009 Mexican Cultural Institute 2829 16th St NW Washington DC 20009 Special $45 early bird tickets on sale now! Price goes up soon! This is a 21+ event There is no dress code! Support from SKYY Vodka Stay informed http://www.fotodc.org/ https://www.facebook.com/FotoWeekDC https://twitter.com/FotoWeekDC https://instagram.com/fotoweekdc http://www.brightestyoungthings.com/ https://www.facebook.com/brightestyoungthings https://twitter.com/BYT
>>>>>>>>>>>> Ok, back to the article! >>>>>>>>>>>>