Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finally a TRUE Mexican Restaurant, Tacos El Costalilla in Alexandria, VA

     If you are like me, you enjoy well prepared, authentic Mexican cuisine.  The problem with living in the Alexandria area is that you are surrounded by "authentic" Mexican restaurants that are run by El Salvadorians.  Now please do not read too far into that statement,  I am a huge fan of El Salvadorian food but it is not Mexican.  Plainly stated, if you go to a Mexican restaurant, you want to eat Mexican food. 

     Having said that, if you are following this blog, I am about to reveal a hidden gem of epic Mexican flavors!  The restaurant I am talking about is called Tacos El Costalilla and it is located at 7862 Richmond Highway in Alexandria, VA.  (If you do not have a basic understanding of Spanish, you will have a hard time ordering here.)  This restaurant primarily serves tacos but they have some amazing alternative dishes.  When I say tacos I am talking about a flavor palate that stretches from the usual beef and chicken to beef tongue and tripe!  The possibilities are endless and if you are willing to put your apprehensions aside, you will not be disappointed!  

     My wife ordered a beef taco and a shrimp ceviche tostada (They also offer fish ceviche).  She said the shrimp ceviche was equivalent to the exceptional ceviche she experienced on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico.   What's amazing about the tacos is when you order them, all you get is the freshly made corn tortillas and the meat accompanying it.  On the side, they offer a small toppings bar to dress your tacos with.  The bar has: cilantro, radishes, diced onion, lettuce, lime wedges, a mild cilantro salsa, and a spicy chili salsa. 

     My true test of a Mexican restaurant is the tamale.  The tamale is nothing short of an art form and something that is passed down from generation to generation.  This restaurant does not disappoint!  I decided to order a chicken tamale and a beef tamale.  The only thing that I can say to give justice to how exquisite and delicious the tamales were is to explain to you that the last time I had one so well prepared I was in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.  At the end of my meal I decided to try a leche empanada and all I can say is wow!  The above should be enough to convince you to try this magnificent restaurant. 

- Chris

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