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Behind the Scenes at Training for Mi Cocina's Opening

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Signage for Mi Cocina.
Signage for Mi Cocina.
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

[Photos: Missy Frederick/]

With one week until opening, the 85 new employees at the upcoming Mi Cocina in Chevy Chase were hard at work last Friday memorizing menu details, cocktail combinations and the history behind the entree names of the restaurant. There's an entire culture to learn at Mi Cocina, the Texas-based restaurant chain which is opening its first D.C. location (the closest right now is Atlanta, explained area director Rodolfo Medina).

Servers are given little booklets that explain the back story behind every menu dish, particularly those which are named after former employees of the restaurant, such as El Ray's, a cheese enchilada, taco and tamale combination. The Mambo Taxi drink, a combination margarita sangria beverage, is an allusion both to one of the owner's favorite movies and the fact that you'll need a taxi to get home after downing one, explained Medina.

The restaurant's design features a large two-sided booth popular with families, a glass-enclosed private dining room with a super-high ceiling, dramatic chandeliers and murals from artist Luis Sottil. Specially made vases took five years to produce, according to a spokeswoman. There's seating for about 155 people in the dining room.

Popular items at other Mi Cocina locations include loaded nachos, brisket tacos and fajitas. Dishes can be ordered "sunset style," with chili cilantro lime queso and fried onions. There is white queso, and a ceviche that recently won an award at Taste of Atlanta. Unique to the D.C. location - a salmon dish, posole and a tamales section. The restaurant will offer catering as well. Opening date is this Friday.
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