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Cheap Eats 2013: Quick Change

During the week, Tutto Bene slings spaghetti. But on weekends, it’s all about Bolivian salteñas.

Diners enjoy a Bolivian spread in an unlikely setting at Tutto Bene. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Long before “pop-ups” became a trend, Tutto Bene owner Orlan-do Murillo was transforming his Ballston Italian dining room into a Bolivian eatery on week-ends, with soup-filled salteñas popping up next to platters of fettuccine Alfredo.

The kitchen switches gears smoothly. South American ingredients—Argentinean sausages, beef tongue for spicy aji de lengua—start arriving on Thursday. Potatoes, a staple in Bolivian cuisine, take pasta’s place as the favored starch.

Soups, such as the hangover-helping pork stew, are left to simmer overnight so they’re ready for customers come lunchtime. Turn up the heat with the house-made chili sauce, and wash everything down with mocochinchi, an iced tea made from Bolivian peaches.

Then there are those salteñas. The warm, empanada-like turnovers, filled with stewed beef or chicken, are the sole Bolivian item available on weekdays—a hint of the deliciousness the weekend brings.

Tutto Bene, 501 N. Randolph St., Arlington; 703-522-1005.

This article appears in the August 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.

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