Subject: El Pelon Tacqueria
From:firstname.lastname@example.org (Seth Ditchik)
Posted: January 09, 2000 at 18:56:28
In Reply To: Austin Grill - Astonishingly Bad
Posted by Tord Svenson on January 09, 2000 at 08:56:00
Seth said -----
If you're looking for real Mexican food in Boston, check out El Pelon in the Fenway area (96 Peterborough St.). It's a small place, with a few tables and nothing over $6. Chef/owner Loretta worked at East Coast Grill and Casablanca before opening up this place in an attempt to bring authentic Mexican food to Boston, as opposed to the Tex-Mex that most places serve. Their tortas are excellent (try the pork), they make their own chips & salsa (three varieties, one very hot), and if you come on a weekend you can get tamales and sometimes even brunch. Full disclosure: my wife works there, but I ate here before she started working there and was overjoyed to find good Mexican food in Boston (I lived in Queens, NY, which as Jim Leff will tell you is ground zero for Mexican food in NY). Give it a try; I promise a much better experience (and much lower bill) than Austin Grill.
-------- Reply ---------
Characteristics of Chowhounds include irrepressibility. I had to do some food shopping in Brookline and El Pelon is not that big a walk from the Beacon St. Green Line so I headed over for an early dinner. El Pelon Taqueria is tucked away in a quiet corner of the Fenway m behind Bolyston St. not far from the Fenway T stop, Fenway Park and the old Sears Building. There is a block of storefront restaurants on Peterborough St. that includes some candidates for future visits -but I was here for what Seth described as "real Mexican food." When we want good burritos we have been traveling long distance to Baha Betty's in Brookline Village. The question that was in my mind - are El Pelon's burritos better?
The El Pelon is small and bright -just a few tables and counter service. Lots of Mexican chachculas (sp?) hanging everywhere. I asked about what to try and the taco was suggested. I ordered the Carnitas Taco ($3.75) - a pulled pork version with pinto beans, limed onions and pickled red cabbage. It came with sliced cucumber garnish. The taco shell was soft corn and had a different flavor which - I would guess - was due to the oil it was cooked in (?). I also ordered the house special drink called Horchata - sort of a Mexican orzata with a cinnamon flavor. Very good. The taco was great! Nice early supper.
I ordered the house special burrito to go - my wife and I ate it for lunch the next day with some sour cream and salsa. It is called the Burrito Bravo and is a flour tortilla stuffed with Poblano peppers, 3 cheeses, pinto beans and Carne Asada. ($5.75) Both my wife and I rated it as better than Baha Betty's - which is better than anything else we have tried around the city. The layer of beef is superior and getting down through the stuffing to the Poblanos is a taste experience. The tortilla also has a different flavor I liked. We washed our Burrito Bravo down with a couple of cold Bass Ales - El Pelon doesn't sell liquor, alas. You can bring in your own brown-bagged beer or wine -but it is illegal -- so don't make it obvious if you decide to do so. El Pelon also does catering.
My wife and intend to come back for further exploration of the menu and for the weekend specials. The cook told me that the weekend offerings depend on what's good among the produce that is seasonal. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it :-)
Out the door on foot and over the bridge to Brookline and the Beacon Market for coffee and some good deals on chicken and calves liver. The T ride to Collidge Corner is free and I spent an hour or so at Trader Joe's before doing my "Beast of Burden" immitation back to Dorchester and a warm old house I call home.
Seth -- thanks for the recommendation. Your wife was a most gracious host ( and busy, too!). El Pelon is well worth a visit by anyone who wants good Mexican food. It's so much better than the Austin Grill in quality, price and ambiance that I almost got mad -again.
( I sent in a fifty word abstraction of my review of the Austin Grill to the Herald's Dining Out column -we will see if it makes the cut).