Hogo, Mount Vernon Square

Happy One-Year Anniversary to Hogo, who celebrated the milestone on December 19th.
I walked up and saw, in the window, from behind, a familiar looking Spin Doctor. 
‘Heh, that’s Tom Brown manning the vinyl,’ I smiled to myself.
I walked inside from the frigid cold, shook Tom’s hand, and grabbed a seat at the bar, ready to warm up from the inside. My super-friendly bartender immediately took my order.
“I’ll have a hot rum drink,” I shivered.
There really is something deeply warming, at the soulular level, of a Hot Rum Cider ($10) – spiced rum, cider, lemon, sugar, spices, and “holiday cheer.”
While I was gratefully sipping my hot rum, my bartender brought out some egg nog she had just made. “This is the first time I’ve ever made this,” I heard her say to someone else, adding proudly, ‘And I have to say: it’s really good!’
Guess what my next drink was? House Egg Nog ($10) with egg nog, rum, and “visions of sugar plumbs.”
For the first time making a drink, she pretty much knocked it out of the park. This is another one of “those” drinks that I had to restrain myself from drinking too quickly, or from ordering about ten of them.
Hogo has apparently been serving a Pan-Latino menu for awhile now, and on this evening, it was to great success. I ran into a couple of friends at the bar, regulars at Hogo, and they highly recommended the conch fritters – that was good enough for me.
I don’t know who’s cooking at Hogo right now, but with all the fine Latino cooks in the area, it’s always an encouraging sign to see Pan-Latino cuisine on a menu, and on this evening I batted two-for-two.
My first course was a Crawfish, Beans, and Cheese Pupusa ($4), and it was everything you’d want in a pupusa. Served with blissfully unsweet pickled slaw and a tomato dipping sauce, the crawfish added both a little taste of the river and a nice variation in texture. Of the two pupusas available, I was advised to get this one, and I’m glad I did.
Then I went with the Buñuelos de Concha ($8) which, on their own, were possibly the best conch fritters I’ve ever had (having spent some time in the Keys and the Caribbean, I’ve had a lot of genuinely awful conch fritters). What put them over the top was the ingenious lemon remoulade dipping sauce, the lemon being a perfect counter-taste to the fritters. These were a wonderful surprise, especially considering that Hogo is primarily a drinking bar.
Tom Brown has a winning combination with this menu coupled with rum-based drinks, and I hope he stays with it. I also wish both Hogo (which is in Italic in the Dining Guide based on the strength of this meal) and The Passenger the best of luck with their upcoming lease situation.
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