I’m the first to admit that I eat with my eyes (and perhaps my nose) – smitten by seasonal colors, vibrancy, and a passion that can only be identified through thoughtful detail and intention. With lines seen winding through DC’s farmers markets, Chaia, the ‘farm to taco’ brainchild of founders Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon, continues to top my list as a fast-casual favorite on a sunny Sunday morning (cue: warm breezy picnic in the midst of Dupont Circle hubbub). With menu options ranging from zucchini with farmstead cheese to skillet charred corn with green chilies and a fried farm fresh egg, market goers find themselves immersed in seasonality and the local and sustainable minded attention it dictates.
In celebration of Goddess Month, this April, Chaia has partnered with In My Bowl (!) to conceive its first completely plant-based creation, the ‘Five Greens’ taco, the epitome of warm weather, sunshine, light and bright flavors, and Goddess Vibes. The locally sourced, seasonal bite features five springtime greens: collards, mustard greens, spinach, lacinato kale and turnip tops. Lightly sautéed with olio picante and delicately topped with a Smoky Tomatillo Salsa, pickled watermelon radish, and hyper local micro-greens, this wonderfully striking taco is served in Chaia’s signature hand griddled corn tortillas. Make mine a trio – please and thank you! The ‘Five Greens’ taco will be available at the Dupont Circle, White House, and Georgetown University farmers markets through the month of April.
Chaia’s Smoky Tomatillo Salsa [makes about 1 cup]
excellent as a richly flavorful topping for your at-home taco or salad dressing substitute
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 fresh serrano chiles or 5 habaneros
1/8 large white onion, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup cilantro, stems removed
2 chipotles en abobo
kosher or sea salt (to taste)
sugar (a pinch)
Put husked tomatillos in a medium pot of boiling water and turn off the heat. Cover for five minutes.
Strain and place in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth.
Chaia is located at: DC’s Dupont Circle (Sundays, 8:30am-1:30pm), White House (Thursdays, 11am-2pm), and Georgetown University farmers markets (Wednesdays, 12-5pm).
Chaia has broken ground on its first brick-and-mortar taco shop: 3207 Grace Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007. The Georgetown storefront is set to open in Summer 2015. http://www.chaiadc.com/