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Last night, Washington City Paper hosted a poolside margarita competition on the rooftop of Archstone First + M in NoMa, pitting 10 Mexican restaurants and other margarita-slinging joints against each other.
Among the contenders: El Centro D.F., Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, Masa 14, Cuba Libre, Casa Oaxaca, Cuba Libre, El Chucho, Tortilla Coast, Fujimar, and El Tamarindo.
The nearly 500 guests were tasked with voting for their favorite drink. Meanwhile, I helped judge the competition alongside Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen and Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Hill as well as Neil Dundee, the market manager for Union Market. (Side-note: Chersevani and Dundee recently got married. Congrats!)
So, who’s got the best margarita? Drum roll, please!
Casa Oaxaca was the crowd favorite, followed by El Centro. Judge’s pick went to El Chucho in Columbia Heights, which served up a tart, smoky margarita with Jose Cuervo, smoked triple sec, house-made herbal Damiana liqueur, morita chile-infused agave, and fresh lime. And again, El Centro was the runner-up for its “culantro” margarita with cucumber and cilantro.
Check out pics of some of the winners below:
Judge’s first place winner: El Chucho
Judge’s second place winner: El Centro D.F.
Photos by Jessica Sidman