While I started this blog as a quest to find and report the best gluten-free eats wherever I live or travel, it’s really a documentation of my endless love affair with tacos. It’s hard for me to ever turn a taco down, and I love that they are naturally gluten-free. Over the years I have found some pretty showstopping tacos, but that never deters me from the quest to keep seeking out new (and new-to-me) options near and far.
While walking through DC’s Farragut Square recently, the bright facade of Taqueria Local caught my eye, and after some quick research, I decided to give them a try. A relative newcomer to the neighborhood, Taqueria Local promises to deliver authentic and fun tacos in a casual setting that promotes food and the community. That promise is more than just words too: by sourcing local food, paying the staff above minimum wage, and giving back through donations of food and a portion of their profit, they are the real deal- which definitely impressed me long before I had a bite of food.
Taqueria Local’s menu is packed with gluten-free options- and they even mark vegetarian and vegan options too. As with any restaurant, I advise to treat the markings as a guide, not a confirmation of safety; I made sure to talk with the cashier to let her know of my gluten allergy and to double check that everything I intended to order was safe. She consulted with her manager, and upon confirming everything was safe, asked the staff to change gloves when preparing my food.
Unable to decide what to order, I decided to sample around the menu. Of course ordering tacos were a given, so I ordered a trio: two pollo (chicken) and one carnitas (pork). For an extra dash of flavor, I got a side of the guacamole, which is not marked as gluten-free on the menu but I confirmed to be safe. Completing the meal, I ordered the vegan pozole verde and an ice-cold lime Jarritos soda. I was impressed by the beautiful color and generous portion of each item- what a feast!
The first thing I noticed about the tacos were that the tortillas (which are locally made and delivered fresh daily), were doubled wrapped (major points in my book!) and were thicker and more durable than most others I have seen. The result was that the tacos didn’t fail and tear between bites saving me from dropping half of the filling on the plate. It’s a good thing that the tacos were sturdily constructed, because each one was generously stuffed with meat and vegetables.
The chicken tacos featured tender, thick cubes of chicken that were heavily seasoned with a spicy seasoning. I loved the complex flavor of the seasoning, as it married beautifully with a perfect pico de gallo salsa. While seemingly simple, the tacos were a revelation and I enjoyed every delicious and satisfying bite.
The pork taco was also simple, yet substantial with a generous serving of meat topped with cilantro and pickled onion. I liked the pulled texture of the pork, but it was on the dry side, and less seasoned than I was expecting (after the spicy flavor of the chicken). The pickled onions were not as tangy or sweet as others I have tried, but the flavor and texture of them contrasted nicely with the meat.
The vegan pozole verde earned my approval at my first taste. Spicy and bursting with tomatillo flavor, the soup is hearty and featured chunky avocado, radishes, hominy, and cabbage. Every spoonful was soothing, and was a perfect comfort food to complement my tacos.
And of course any good measure of a Mexican place is the quality of their guacamole, so I definitely had to put Taqueria Local’s to its paces. Thick and creamy with chunks of onion, tomato, and cilantro, the guacamole was just how I like it, and had a wonderful flavor from the mixed in cilantro, veggies, and lime. I dolloped a hearty helping on my tacos, which served to counteract the spiciness of the tacos, but when I polished all three off, I had no qualms scooping out the remaining guac with a spoon so as to not let any of it go to waste.
If you can’t tell by my review, Taqueria Local definitely earned my approval, which I was not expecting stopping in on a whim. I am absolutely thrilled to have another great taco eatery in this great city, and know this is a meal I won’t soon forget for the quality and quantity of the food. The food is prepared with care, the restaurant had a community-conscious ethos, and the staff were friendly- which confirmed my initial impression: this place is the real deal!