We found ourselves walking down L Street in downtown on a weeknight and hungry for a quick dinner. Since much of downtown turns into a wasteland of closed restaurants by 6 p.m., we were gearing up to settle for Quiznos. However, as we passed Vermont, I remembered a little restaurant tucked between K and L called Casa Blanca. We rounded the corner expecting to find it closed, but instead did an awkward happy dance when we saw the glow of a neon "open" sign. I was ready to hug the nice woman behind the counter when she told me they stay open until 10 p.m. on weekdays.
Since we had basketball to watch, we ordered our food to go. However, if you're inclined to sit for a spell, Casa Blanca offers table service complete with the requisite telenovela blaring from a large TV. We ordered our food and B asked if we could purchase a bag of chips to eat while we waited. Big high five to Casa Blanca for giving us chips and salsa on the house to satisfy the rumbling hunger monsters in our stomachs.
Since we were nearly delirious with hunger, I went way overboard in the ordering department. I thought ordering 4 pupusas as an appetizer seemed reasonable until we got home and saw that they were big and fat and served with a mountain of tangy slaw. We would've been very satisfied to have eaten these for our dinner.
But since we like to go big or go home, we each ordered a burrito. B tried the burrito mojado which means "wet burrito" for those that took German instead of Spanish in high school. It was massive and completely gringofied, but hit the spot. The rice, often a throwaway dish, was perfectly cooked and had a nice zing to it.
I test drove the beef burrito which was similarly massive. While all of the ingredients were good, it was a little blah in the flavor department. I piled on some of Casa Blanca's very spicy green sauce and was in tongue tingling heaven.
Is my opinion of Casa Blanca colored by my excitement that they were open late on a weeknight and the fact that I was starving? Probably, but sometimes all you need is a smiling face to serve you a reasonably priced burrito. For that, Casa Blanca fits the bill.
Second Thoughts from B
A couple of days ago I told you about CFITA restaurants (that's cheap, fast, and in the area). Casa Blanca is now the latest to earn this title. The difference though is that for those of us who work and/or live in downtown, we're always in the area.
If I didn't live nearby, I don't think the memory - or lack thereof - of my massive burrito would bring me back. But the pupusas might. They were both light and fluffy while being packed with enough cheese to sink a ship. How they produce such a culinary paradox is a mystery to me. All I know is that four was without a doubt too many, but that doesn't mean we didn't eat them.
So let's check the scorecard. Local CFITA restaurant. Noteworthy menu item. Friendly, casual atmosphere. Add it all up and you get the return visit guarantee.