Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bourdain checks out a local favorite

In this season of No Reservations Anthony Bourdain travels to Washington DC and visits José Andres restaurant Café Atlantico and a little-known place in my neck-of-the-woods in Arlington, VA: El Pollo Rico. I was anxiously awaiting a Washington DC episode to come since one of my friends was eating lunch with coworkers at El Pollo Rico and called me up to tell me that none other but Mr. Bourdain himself entered the place during her lunch! Okay, if I wasn't at work and didn't have a meeting within the next 10 minutes I would've driven there in an instant! It's about 3 minutes from my work and a tiny place in a nondescript parking lot. It's only of those hole in the wall type places that is actually a little piece of heaven.

Chicken, oh the chicken! I don't know how they get so much flavor into their rotisserie chicken. El Pollo Rico is cash-only and you'll go out of your way to pull out cash just to eat here. You order at the counter. Quarter chicken, half chicken, half white chicken. A guy then takes a whole chicken and hacks out your part with a butcher knife. There's no sugar-coating this. And frankly, you don't care! Fries that are so creamy inside and cole slaw complete the order. Those are the only two sides. You know a place is good when they offer only two sides, no other options, and you wouldn't want it any other way. It comes with two tiny dipping sauces: a green bitter jalepeno dip and a creamy tangy one. There's only one way to dip. Mix the green sauce with the creamy white one. Add more green depending on your affinity with heat. That's all there is to it.

I was so impressed that Bourdain got wind of this place. It truly is one of those places that only locals know about. It lends validity to the places Bourdain visits since I can testify to the local celebrity of this place.


melissa said...

That is freakin cool. Wish you could have gone to see him.

And mixing the sauces sounds like something I would love.

Tiffany said...

Oh trust me, it took everything in me to not disappear from work and run there immediately! How can you know that Bourdain is up the street from you and just sit there?

Since you said you like heat I bet you'd love a good amount of the green sauce!