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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Five new restaurants to try around Foggy Bottom

Nick Perkins
Traditional Bolivian salteñas, a toasted shell filled with rich broth, from emerging Foggy Bottom food vendor Saya Salteñas.

While the end of summer can leave a sour taste in your mouth, new eateries around Foggy Bottom can be your most appetizing development of the fall.

After a year of change in the GW dining scene, new eateries and reopened restaurants are bringing new cuisines and old favorites to campus this fall as students return to campus. From a new spot specializing in a concoction of pot pies, soup dumplings and enchiladas to the bistro behind the University Student Center renovations, here are some new restaurants to check out around campus.

Saya Salteña Brings Alum Home

Soon to be nestled on a tiny block on Pennsylvania Avenue next to PoppaBox, Saya Salteña is the culmination of GW alum Maria Helana Iturralde’s nearly 20 years in the restaurant business mixed with her Bolivian heritage. Iturralde said after graduating from GW in 2005, she worked for a catering business before opening her own catering company in 2015, where she started to introduce Bolivian food to her customers.

“The cool part of the clients that I had, a lot of them were from GW, and it allowed me to introduce some Bolivian products out there,” Iturralde said.

She said just before the pandemic, she began work on refining a recipe for salteñas, a Bolivian dish reminiscent of a cross between pot pies and soup dumplings served in an enchilada shell. She said she wanted to avoid nonnatural additives like MSG, which are common in recipes for the dish.

She and her husband began selling salteñas prepared this way at the start of the pandemic.

“You should see me literally in my van with that hotbox going from vineyards, wineries, breweries — wherever we could sell that was allowed during COVID times,” she said.

Iturralde said the shop expanded to pop-ups around D.C. and eventually a shared kitchen in Shaw, before moving into their soon-to-open location in Foggy Bottom. She said while the restaurant is not yet on GWorld, they will offer a 10 percent discount to students.

The restaurant has five varieties of sandwich-sized salteñas ($7 each) — spicy and nonspicy pork and beef, as well as a vegan option — with each salteña coming stuffed full of broth, vegetables and spices from aji amarillo and aji rocoto peppers that grow in the Andes Mountains.

“Because it takes longer to grow, it’s sweeter at the beginning, and it’s spicy at the end,” she said. “You’re going to eat it, you’re going to taste the food, and then after a couple of bites, you’re like, ‘Oh my god, this is spicy.’”

The salteñas themselves are as delicious as advertised — they come in toasted, soft shells chock full of broth which spills all over you if you bite into the wrong part of the dish first. The beef salteña has a rich umami flavor, starting out sweet and ending spicy, while the chicken salteña is almost reminiscent of a chicken soup as the subtler flavor of the broth lets the vegetables shine.

There’s certainly a learning curve to eating salteñas to avoid your hands being drenched in the aromatic broths — a trap I fell into — but each meal comes with instructions on how to properly eat a salteña.

“You shake, you bite the top off and then slurping is allowed,” Iturralde said. “Slurping is encouraged, actually.”

Saya Salteña will be located at 1919 Pennsylvania Ave. Ground Floor 07. They have not yet announced an opening date.

The Bussdown Brings Foggy New Flavors

Joining an ever-expanding Western Market lineup, The Bussdown is a pan-African kitchen combining Caribbean and Cajun Creole dishes. The eatery originated in Oakland, California, where it operated as a delivery-only ghost kitchen after opening in the heart of the pandemic.

After opening last week, the Western Market location is the restaurant’s first full in-person spot. Menu offerings range from soul food to fried plantains.

The Bussdown is located in Western Market, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

A Returning Favorite: Teashi Opens in DuPont Circle

With GW’s transition to dining halls, many old favorites have departed — think Chick-fil-A and Sol Mexican Grill. But this summer, just a 15-minute stroll from its former home in the Shenkman Hall basement, Chinese restaurant Teashi opened a new location.

Teashi, the name a cross-language portmanteau of the English and Chinese words for tea house, carries over some of its menu from its time in the old Shenkman basement, offering rice bowls ($9.95 to $10.95), noodle bowls ($10.95 to $11.95) and spicy ramen soup ($11.95 to $12.95​​). Apt to their promise of being a tea house, the restaurant also sells bubble tea ($5.95 to $7.95) and fruit teas ($4.95), with flavors like peach and mango passion fruit.

Teashi is located at 1234 19th St. NW #100. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays.

New in the Stu: Absurd Bird and Chaat House

A summer of renovations in the student center has brought two new GW-run restaurants — chicken shop Absurd Bird and Indian eatery Chaat House. Absurd Bird plans to offer chicken prepared any way one can think of, from fried tenders to a classic rotisserie chicken.

Chaat House joins a busy Indian food scene on Foggy Bottom, alongside neighborhood mainstays like Bindaas and Flavors of India, with the GW-run offering saying they will sell both wraps and bowls. Both Absurd Bird and Chaat House also offer meal deals, giving students an entree, side and drink for one meal swipe.

Absurd Bird and Chaat House are located on the first floor of the University Student Center, 800 21st St. NW. Opening dates and hours are yet to be announced.

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