Dirt Cheap Eats 2007: Taqueria Nacionale


Ann Cashion’s three-month-old taqueria might be hidden off to the side of her Southern seafood destination, Johnny’s Half Shell, but this daytime takeout is worth seeking out. The James Beard Award–winning chef’s style of fast food includes vibrant salsas made in-house, double-layered tortillas filled with the likes of orange-scented braised pork and piquant ground buffalo ($2.25 each), and fudgy brownies and breakfast pastries baked by Half Shell pastry chef Valerie Hill.

You won’t find blobs of sour cream or shredded cheddar—fresh cilantro, chopped onion, and a zigzag of avocado salsa enhance the flavorful meats just fine. To drink, there are glass jugs of freshly made fruit agua fresca—watermelon is especially refreshing—and glass bottles of Mexican-made Coke, which gets its mellower sweetness from cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.