Instantly, you're drawn to the decor of Mi Vida, a recent addition to The Wharf and the lone Mexican restaurant at the development. It's the "tree of life" that will grab your attention, towering over the foyer of the restaurant with its vibrant colored flowers, an indicator of what to expect throughout the rest of the dining room, from the artwork to the glassware and dinnerware.
You’ll have to forgive me, this post comes to you without photos of any food. It took me a good two minutes at a candle lit table to realize I wasn’t going to get a decent photo, and my friends had already dug into their meals before I could get a shot of their plates (I might be one of those pesky blogger people but I’ll never use a flash at a dinner table, and no amount of LED light was going to make a plate of brown food desirable). Instead you’ll have to settle for pictures of cocktails and the aforementioned tree.
I'll get this out of the way now - I love a fruity frozen drink, throw an umbrella in it and I'm yours. Mi Vida has one of the fruitiest, smoothest - almost creamiest frozen drinks I've had (sans umbrella). La Frozen, a mango margarita that has just the right amount of tequila, enough so you can taste the alcohol, but not too sweet that one is enough, and three will give you just that right amount of buzz. You know what I mean. Don't judge. I went during this year's never ending winter but all I could think of was the summer months ahead and the post-work happy-hour, at $6 each, a bargain if you ask me. If fancy frozen drinks aren't you thing don't fret, there's an extensive tequila and mezcal list, with plenty of beer on tap and a sizable cocktail menu too.
I'm a simple guy when it comes to Mexican food, shove a bowl of chips and guacamole in front of me and I'm a happy camper. Not quite table side guac but made to order nonetheless, it's always a must have and Mi Vida is no different. We opted against the blue cheese, grape and almond add-on as it just didn't seem right. Can anyone explain that to me, no, I thought not?Now, on to the not so photogenic food, the dish in question is the simple Carna Asada. The steak was perfectly cooked (pink) and served with sauteed peppers and onions, in a mushroom sauce. It's the sauce that made this noteworthy, reminding me of dish I used to get back home, rich and creamy with button mushrooms with a bite. There is plenty of steak but not near enough to enjoy with the sauce, it's situations like that that need a side of tortillas to wipe up the sauce.
The menu is mostly what you'd expect from a Mexican restaurant; tacos, enchiladas, mole and ceviches, but there are a few exceptions which I'll venture to next time, such as the guajillo beef burger - I can't say I've often seen a burger on a Mexican menu.
Mi Vida Restaurante: 98 District Square, SW Washington DC (closest metro: Waterfront Metro)