Anita’s (Vienna)

It’s rare that I find an excuse to be this far out (outside the Beltway?! Gasp!) so when I finally did, I knew I had to cross Anita’s off my list. People who grew up in the Southwest constantly wax poetic about the Mexican food of their youth, and I am no exception. Cal-Mex things I haven’t been able to find at all on the East Coast: decent (or reasonably priced) avocados, a good breakfast burrito, the tostadas of my youth, or a bean and cheese burrito with the completely liquefied beans oozing out. And East Coast, please stop putting rice and mushrooms inside burritos. What even is that?

I know New Mexico-Mex is a completely different animal but I was ready for it. And by “ready for it,” I mean that my husband and I hit up Caboose for a solid hour and a half prior to arriving, so I was about 3/10 drunk. The perfect level for consumption of liquefied beans!

We promptly ordered two Anitaritas, which the server told me were much better than the classic margarita. At a price of $10, I’m not going to argue. The Anitarita was a standard margarita, but it got the job done.

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We decided to both order off the New Mexico Specialties section of the menu. My husband ordered the carne adovada and I got the Las Cruces. We covered all our chile bases here!

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The chicken was fairly moist but kind of just a plain old chicken breast under a bunch of green chile sauce and cheese (you can’t even see it under the stuff). The flavors in the sauce were good but the meat itself was nothing super special. I appreciate salad. The flautas were a little dry inside but the shredded chicken within had a great chicken-y flavor that is often not present in American factory-farmed chicken. Also, you may notice in the photo: sopping wet, eat-with-a-spoon beans. I’m in heaven here.

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What the chicken lacked in sauce absorption, the pork had in spades. The red chile sauce was slightly sweet, slightly smoky, not much heat but good flavor. The pork was flavorful. This made great tacos with the mini flour tortillas they brought (another nostalgia-inducer for me).

Price: $25 per person.

Bottom line: Anita’s is great if you miss sloppy, hole-in-the-wall Southwestern U.S. Mexican food or if you are buzzed, and even better if both are true. Amazing? No. But sure to be a crowd pleaser.

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