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Recap: Guajillo Happy Hour

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On a frigid Friday evening, we did something very out of the ordinary. We headed over the Key Bridge to Arlington. Cori Sue was catching up on some Bitch business with Associate Editor Amanda at Guajillo, which specializes in authentic Oaxacan Mexican fare. The unassuming space is perfect for staving off the cold with a great happy hour. The cozy, thematic decor makes you feel like you could be in a family’s home in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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We were big fans of Casa Oaxaca. When the Adams Morgan spot closed recently due to rising rents, we were unsure of where to get our authentic Mexican fare. Thus, we made the decision to journey across the river to its sister restaurant, Guajillo, to try out its incredible happy hour we’ve heard so much about.

At Guajillo, it’s not just happy hour—it’s the happiest hour—with La Hora Mas Feliz offering specials 5-7 p.m. every day but Saturday. There are $5 sangrias and margaritas, $4 Mexican beers, and wines by the glass at $4 on Sundays. The appetizers include nachos, soprecitos, flautas, and a guacamole-black bean-queso combo.

The place grew more crowded throughout the evening—until at 7:30 p.m. it was absolutely packed. Clearly, Virginians know this is the spot for an affordable, hit-the-spot Mexican meal.

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Upon being seated, we were immediately asked for our drink orders. Given the surroundings, we selected glasses of red wine from South America off the Latin-American leaning wine list. House-made chips accompanied by a well-spiced warm salsa arrived with our drinks and whetted our appetites for the meal that was to come.

The drinks are great—and exactly what you’d expect out of happy hour at a Mexican joint.  The sangrias and margaritas were strong, sweet, and fruity. After several glasses and several hours, we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant and into an Uber as very happy campers.

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Guajillo’s happiest hour offers a few of its select favorites at a reduced price. We ordered the soprecitos and the flautas. The flautas were certainly the standout appetizer. The dish was a large plate of crispy taco shells stuffed with a smoky Chipotle potatoes, rich molé sauce, and a Mexican slaw, which provided a coolness and crisp. Despite, it’s large size, the dish was polished off.

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The soprecitos are fried sweet potato sleeves, not unlike the flautas but filled with a vegetarian-friendly option. They were covered with a Mexican slaw and a fluffy white cheese. The dish was delicious.

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After a few baskets of tortilla chips and glasses of Malbec, we caved and ordered queso, which was fine but we’ve had better.

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We also ordered the plate of five tacos. You can order one variety, or mix-and-match. We opted for two steak, two fried tilapia, and one pork. All of the tacos are served in corn shells, with each one unique in its own way. The skirt steak is served with chopped onions. The fish tacos are served in the typical fashion: lightly battered with purple cabbage and a Chipotle mayonaise.

Cori Sue, being the generous happy hour companion she is, allowed Amanda to try the lone pork taco and she was not disappointed. The marinated meat was braised until perfectly tender and topped with pickled onions for a bit of bite.

We’ll definitely be back to Guajillo for a happy hour very soon and also plan to—spoiler alert—pay a visit during brunch hour.

1727 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, Va.

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