Some may scoff at urban taco culture. In their defense, it can be difficult to justify tacos over $6.00 made with ingredients that are neither fresh nor local. Lucky for us, the ladies behind Chaia have re-configured the urban taco to be more healthy, sustainable, and satisfying than ever before.
Chaia began in Georgetown and was founded by Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon. They just opened their second location in Penn Quarter and have no intention of stopping the growth of their concept and ideas for mindful consumption.
They just launched brunch to further their footprint in the D.C. dining scene. They offer a variety of healthy on-tap beverages like kombucha and vinegar-based super drinks, but also offer a house margarita and sangria (offered bottomless and slightly healthified).
The vegetable base of these glorious tacos are brunch-worthy on the weekends only with pasture raised eggs. Some highlights include the braised mushroom taco, roasted celery root tlayuda, the creamy kale and potato taco, chilaquiles, green rice, and of course, chips and dips.
Chaia is transparent about everything that goes into their food and beverages. Corn tortillas are pressed and griddled right before your eyes, the locally-sourced ingredients are proudly proclaimed throughout, and there’s no limit to indulgences despite how healthy and fresh everything is. Check out the cocktails and desserts on their menu!
The sunlit space has California vibes with its light wood and blush color scheme, making taco consumption aptly situated. I enjoyed the braised mushroom taco with an egg sunny side up and the creamy kale and potato taco with an egg scrambled. These tacos were ultra filling and dense with flavor, but felt light and fresh. The sunny side up egg further dressed the taco with its rich, silky yolk and really provided that comfort food experience, mess included.
The scrambled egg taco with kale and potatoes was a harmonious combination of flavors. This taco included pickled onions for crunch and acid, roasted potatoes for salty substance, sauteed kale for viscosity, and creamy eggs and cheese to keep everything together. This one was probably my favorite.
The tlayuda is similar to a tostada: a crunchy, flattened taco with sweet and sour complements. Devoured pizza style, the tlayuda’s creamy and hearty qualities distracted from the fact that it was entirely vegan.
The perfectly portioned and affordable sides to accompany the tacos and tlayudas were the chilaquiles and green rice. These were as decadent as your favorite bar’s nachos, but fresh, veg-forward, and more enjoyable. We devoured rice that was colored green from an aromatic herb blend and was then topped with crumbled cotija cheese. I want to have this rice on the side of all of my meals. Every day. For the rest of my life.
Whether you want to maintain your bottomless brunch streak or want to stroll out in sweats for breakfast tacos, Chaia can adapt for just about any vibe you’re going for. One thing will remain the same though, and that’s feel-good food that will never compromise on flavor.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes for Chaia. Chaia is appropriate any time of day, but this brunch is special, healthy, comfortable, and consistent.