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Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Enjoy traditional food with flavor and fusions made with passion.

Article by Stephanie Green

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

October is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and nothing conveys Latin pride better than food. 

“For me, the month represents a celebration of our culture, and an opportunity to share our traditions and what makes us unique,” says Paola Vargas, general manager of Joy by Seven Reasons, a Latin fusion restaurant in Chevy Chase. 

Her favorite meal starts with the tequewños, fried buttered dough filled with cheese and served with a sugarcane mango sauce. “It takes me back to my childhood memories in Paraguay,” she explains. 

The “journey of treats” continues with her beloved short rib sandwich served on ciabatta bread with bib lettuce, tomato, shallots, pickled onions, plantain butter, and veal demi. Oh, and let’s not forget the conchitas a la parmesana, the branzino, or the seafood coconut rice.

But what Vargas finds the most delicious are the memories made around the table. “Something very important about our food is that it truly brings us together, is something that you share with others because you enjoy it with the family, with friends, or even someone that you just met. A lot of the warmth and kindness that Latinos are known for comes from that.”

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve highlighted several restaurants in the surrounding area of the Potomac community exemplifying the Latin gift of blending friendship and food. Fair warning – do not read on an empty stomach.

Joy by Seven Reasons

A Chevy Chase concept restaurant encouraging guests to “get crazy and be sexy.” In addition to a wide-ranging menu of Latin-inspired dishes, Joy offers delectable spirits like The Seven Reasons Old Fashioned, Poma de Los Andes, and Mangifera, which are some of their most requested cocktails. Their patio is the perfect place for your pup as it is dog friendly, and Joy has even created a special menu for Fido. Yappy Hours will allow your furry friends to join the month-long celebrations.

5471 Wisconsin Ave

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Aroma Latin Fusion

Liliana Orozco and German Noriega launched Aroma Cafe in 2014 to bring a slice of their native Colombia to their Latin community in Northern Virginia, with specialty offerings like empanadas and Bandeja Paisa. After a successful five years, they opened a full-service restaurant to further promote the gastronomy of South America. Chefs Antonio and Jean Paul Poggi of Peru mix their backgrounds in haute cuisine and tourism to bring their guests the best of the Latin world at Aroma Latin Fusion.

15200 Potomac Town Pl Unit 120

Woodbridge, VA 2219

La Casita Pupuseria

Culinary director Iris Veronica Jimenez is a first generation Salvadoran American and learned the art of good cooking by observing her parents run their grocery store in Adams Morgan. Today the family affair continues at her eateries around town, including Gaithersburg, Northeast DC, Nationals Park, a roaming food truck and more. Diners can indulge in fried dumplings made from yuca and cheese, rich hen and vegetable soup, and tender flap steak with sauteed tomato, among other South American treasures.

2 E Diamond Ave

Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Spanish Diner

Renowned chef José Andrés brings the success of his Mercado Little Spain in New York City to Bethesda. The location is literally close to the heart of the philanthropic Andres because the town happens to be his home – although his mind and stomach will always pine for Spain. The menu features Andrés homeland favorites like Serrano ham, Spanish tuna, and bocatas, Spanish-style sandwiches. For breakfast and brunch, diners can delight in the multiple—and utterly original—ways the Spaniards prepare eggs.

7271 Woodmont Ave

Bethesda, MD 20814

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