Tico: Two Texture Beef Tacos

Tico Tacos

Michael Schlow’s in town. Perhaps you saw him making the short trek from his Columbia Heights pad to his brand new 14th Street restaurant that opened last night. You might recognize him from Top Chef Masters! What’s heartwarming is that unlike some celebrity chefs who pop in to open a restaurant, Schlow’s committed to staying around for more than a hot sec…and it shows.

This is the second Tico to open its doors – the first is in Schlow’s hometown of Boston – but he’s tweaked the menu to match our tastes, like by sprinkling in some Old Bay when appropriate. Overall, the restaurant aims to serve American food with Latin/Spanish twists inspired by Schlow’s travels.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Two Texture Beef Tacos are a lot of fun. Super tender beef is juxtaposed by crispy beef that’s been dehydrated, not fried, and chili and fresh herbs kick up the flavor. Schlow says he pays just as much attention to texture as he does flavor. Look for something soft and chewy to be balanced by crunch in almost every dish.

Manchego

… Like these manchego fritters, which you dip in a sticky, fruity sauce on the side. This dish is symbolic of how vegetarians can go buck wild at Tico, because a large portion of the menu celebrates seasonal vegetables, and they’re used quite creatively. A standout is an order of edamame falafel tacos. Click here for more photos from the meal.

We couldn’t be happier about this addition to the neighborhood. They’ve thought of everything. The artwork lining the walls is the work of Schlow’s wife; Schlow himself built all the music playlists; and Schlow committed a whole lot of resources (read: cash money) to build an acoustically sound dining room to make sure you can still hear your dining partners in a lively atmosphere. The guy literally had someone poke thousands of holes in tin tiles to ensure that sound would get trapped instead of bouncing right back down to disturb diners. Cheers to that.

Two texture beef tacos not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Mockingbird Hill: Manchego, Honey and Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts

Mockingbird Hill Manchego

Sherry and food pairing may be a new frontier for DC, but Mockingbird Hill, that Shaw Sherry bar, has you covered. This is especially impressive because Sherry has more aromatic compounds (307!) than regular old wine. You can expect to taste notes of everything from hazelnuts and lemongrass to oyster shells and hay. So our number one snack, a.k.a. The Best Thing on the Menu? Manchego cheese that you slip and slide through honey and finish off with a dip into chocolate covered corn nuts. Classy and corn nutty all at the same time.

Mockingbird Hill Pork

A close second is their pork rillette. Who doesn’t love rich, luscious spreadable meat? It’s served with buttery toast and pickled vegetables and goes great with any variety of Sherry – Amontillado (Edgar Allen Poe’s fave), Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Amoroso, Fino, etc. See, there’s way more than Manzanillo! Obviously, since it’s a Sherry AND ham bar, you can’t go wrong ordering a ham sampler, our favorite of which was the lomo.

Mockingbird Hill Sherry Flight

Probably the best way to experience Derek Brown’s Mockingbird Hill is by ordering a flight. It comes with snacks, and premium Sherry education. Sherry wizard Chantal Tseng or one of her handsome young bartenders will explain everything you need to know – like the fact that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it’s from three specific towns in Spain, or that it’s produced using a complex solera system that involves mixing of different vintages to add complexity and balance. Visit their Facebook page for special flight offerings.

Manchego, Honey and Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like Cork, Boqueria, or Estadio.