Cielo Rojo to Be Featured in Season Premiere of WETA’s ‘Signature Dish’

The quality and diversity of the restaurants in the area continue to attract local and national attention.

A new episode of WETA’s Signature Dish highlighting three DMV-area restaurants will air on Monday, September 25, featuring Takoma Park’s Cielo Rojo. 

Signature Dish will premiere the first episode of its second season entitled “Comfort Food” by visiting Preserve in Annapolis, Cielo Rojo in Takoma Park, and Caruso’s Grocery in Capitol Hill. As part of the new season of the show, WETA will also launch the Signature Dish Restaurant Guide.

This episode features Cielo Rojo’s pozole verde, which has received critical acclaim from local food critics.

“We feel very honored to take a part in WETA’s Signature Dish,” co-owner Carolina McCandless said to the Source. “We have watched the show and are big fans! We appreciate the care they take to really get to know the background of the food they feature and their focus on small businesses in the DMV.”

“The pozole verde is such a hearty and comforting dish, perfect for the comfort food-themed episode we’re kicking off our second season with,” Signature Dish host Seth Tillman said. “The fresh vegetables and all the herbs really have a chance to shine, and the spicy kick from the peppers and the acidity from the tomatillos balances the dish perfectly.

“I also liked that the dish featured hominy, which is corn that has been nixtamalized (a process that involves soaking and cooking the corn in an alkaline solution) and cooked until it begins to “bloom,” Tillman continued. “Corn is at the center of Mexican cuisine and certainly at the center of Cielo Rojo’s menu, so it was great to feature a dish that showcases Carolina and David’s commitment to sourcing and cooking heirloom varietals from Mexico.”

Cielo Rojo opened at 7056 Carroll Ave. in Takoma Park in 2019. Co-owners David Perez and Carolina McCandless announced last year that Cielo Rojo would relocate and expand to 7211 Carroll Ave., adjacent to the TPSS Co-op and Takoma Park fire station. Construction is now underway, and fast-casual San Pancho Burritos will open in the original location. Cielo Rojo’s pozole verde has been previously praised by Washingtonian as one of the area’s “Super Comforting Soups to Get You Through Winter”, and former Washington City Paper food editor Laura Hayes praised the stew in “The Best Thing Our Food Editor Ate All Week.”

Signature Dish airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on WETA PBS and 8 p.m. on WETA Metro. Six more episodes are slated to begin in January 2024, according to WETA.

Photo: Amanda Lee for WETA

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