Inspired by recent posts about East Boston, and remembering the fun we'd had a few years ago kicking around Maverick and Day squares, a few of us got together on Saturday to revisit some faves and try some new spots.
Started at Tapatio where we got a large bowl of steaming seafood soup -- lobsters, crab, prawns, muscles, squid and chunks of white fish were mounded high in a tomatoey-buttery broth. Absolutely delicious. The pupusas are great -- freshly made and definitely better than my former fave at Tacos Lupita, especially when topped with the tangy slaw and thin red salsa. We ordered them revuelto, a winning combination of pork and cheese -- and everyone was having pupusas there. Three liver tacos left me cold, but others seemed to like them. Our server was nice but we definitely suffered from the language barrier -- a combination of pointing and gesturing and very basic spanish got us plates and bowls and cutlery eventually. $7 a head with a hefty tip to make up for the huge table of dirty plates we left. Amazing.
Next stop -- El Penol -- for Columbian food. A rocky start of yucky drinks (corn/hominy and milk, aguapanela and hot chocolate straight from the swiss miss packet) but when we got our Picada for 2 to share between the 6 of us we were PSYCHED. This was a mountain of grilled pork, beef, chicken, sausage, bacon lardons (chicherones?) fried plaintains, soft baby potatoes, yucca tater tots and wedges of lime to squeeze over. Seriously this was a giant plate of food and we couldn't finish it all. It was mostly meat, not a lot of filler, and absolutely delicious. Would have been more delicious if we had thought to order hot sauce to perk things up. Our waitress was sweet and the place was warm and cozy and packed. Again, $6 a head.
We needed to take a little breather so we headed to a bar (naturally) that was formerly the Pony Lounge but is now a Columbian bar/dance club next to Rincon Limeno -- brand spanking newly painted and with only a few patrons inside. It was a cold day so a few of us had scotch, a few had coronas, and one of us sampled every columbian liquor in the place. ;-)
We briefly considered heading in for some ceviche next door but cooler heads prevailed and we decided to sally forth to Santarpios. After waiting for about 15 minutes outside, we finally got in and had an okay pie (wasn't cooked long enough despite being ordered well done) and great lamb and sausage skewers. The sausage is really spicy/peppery and that lamb just rocks, especially with the pepper juice. Finally, it really was time to cry uncle and roll back to the T.
A great 5 hour vacation (we all felt we had been dropped in the middle of a completely different city) and some of the best chow I've had for a long time. And to think we've barely scratched the surface ... I'm excited to go back soon.