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.