Boca Grande Taqueria
Let's Drive To Brighton For Tamales
I was craving a dose of monster tamale goodness last Sunday and with Cora hustled over to Boca Grande in Kendall Square, Cambridge. I'm supposed to be some sort of burrito expert right? Well I expertly forgot that Boca in Kendall is closed on Sundays.
That hit the spot. As always, the tomatillo chicken tamale delivers the goods.
Talkin Bout The Internet
I'm not sure which I like more.
A Meeting Of The Minds
These good guys wear white, it seems.
We met up at Boca Grande in Brighton. Back in the Morello era, Boca Brighton did not exist, so this is truly a tale of old meets new. Double.
Zach got a carnitas grande burrito with black beans, guacamole, and sour cream.
Weight: 19.3 oz | Price: $5.85 | FDR: 3.30
John got steak grande burrito with pinto beans, guacamole, and sour cream.
Weight: 21.8 oz | Price: $5.85 | FDR: 3.73
I got a steak quesadilla with rice.
Weight: 14.6 oz | Price: $4.50 | FDR: 3.24
We talked about our good fortune in working so close to Boca, The Internet, Excel, and of course burritos. Because we are geeky and unashamed.
Burritos Before Tables And Graphs
Dammit I'm a dork. Whatever. You love it.
It's hard to tell how the time I spend at Boca Grande relates to proximity, taste, value, and variety. Chart that up, nerds.
Price Hikes At Boca Grande
Though menus and placards have yet to indicate the new prices, a clear but small sign at the register cites a 30% hike in food costs (the cost they pay for unprepared food - costs to the consumer rose less than 30%) as driving the increase.
Rival Anna's Taqueria raised prices more than once before Boca responded by widening the price gap. See also: Fed Stabilizes, Anna's Raises, Consumer Price Index and Tacos, and No Longer Under Five Dollars.
I'm not sure how much yesterday's chicken grande burrito cost exactly, but it passed the $5.00 mark without sour cream or guacamole. Price comparison to follow when Boca prints up new menus.
If you want quality, you've got to cough up a few extra quarters.
Not All Chile Rellenos Are Created Equal
Boca has the occasional special, one of the things that make them truly great. Seeing chile rellenos as the special of the day, my previous lunch plans of enchilada glory were quickly abandoned.
Well, kudos to Boca Grande for trying, but these chile rellenos were a bit of a let down. They took a while to prepare, and were heavy on the water and cheese with no substantial filling.
Unrelated, the Kenmore Boca Grande has bottles instead of fountain sodas, just in case that's important to you.
Mary Had A Little Cordero Adobo
One day they were offering Cordero Adobo, which appears to be lamb marinated with cumin and cinnamon.
It's not traditionally served in a burrito, but I was in need of something to eat on the run. It was moist, tender, a little fatty, but completely amazing.
Hopefully we'll see the Cordero Adobo again.
Weight: 18.4 oz | Price: $4.25 | FDR: 4.33
Boca Grande Opens In Kenmore
Burrito Blog was never a fan of Burrito Max, but I'm never happy to see a taqueria close. Especially in Kenmore square, which has been hurting since that miserable Hotel Commonwealth decimated the neighborhood. El Pelon is close, but still over a half mile away.
This is the fifth Boca Grande. Congratulations!
Boca Introduces Creamed Corn Tamale
Boca Grande has launched a new tamale: the creamed corn chicken tomatillo. This one, John Liu, winner of Burrito Blog's first speed eating content, loves.
Personally I still prefer the original chicken tomatillo tamale. I don't think the corn chunks really add anything - you can see them in the photo. Also the tamale seemed as if it were a little richer, as if it were made with more butter or oil. Who am I kidding, I don't know how to cook.
Hey, to each man or cat, his own.
Tamale weight: 17.9 oz | Price: $4.25 | FDR: 4.21
A Tale Of Three Tacos
Tacos al pastor usually come with that green sauce that I have yet to identify. It's not quite spicy, and should not be mistaken for guacamole. However, when al pastor appears in menu items other than tacos, the green sauce does not come standard.
See also: getting sued for guacamole misrepresentation.
Boca Grande has a menu option where you can get three tacos al pastor. Al pastor tacos can also be purchases a la carte.
See also: A Tale of Two Tacos.
La Gata Likes Pork Tamales
The Baby technically belongs to my roommate. Check out the dialogue:
Me: I'm going to put The Baby on Burrito Blog and link to that story you wrote about her for your college newspaper. She's gonna be totally famous.
Tevvy: Wait - you should link to her MySpace page instead!
Me: (in disbelief) The Baby has a MySpace page?! What's the URL?
Tevvy: I forget...can you look it up if I give you her email?
Claire, a native speaker, explained that female cats are not called el gato, and that you can't make a burrito out of a cat.
Bursting At The Corn Husk Seam
Ok, to be fair, I've been eating these things constantly and in secret. Not all my meals are shared on the so called series of tubes. While none have been as amazing as the first, all have been great experiences.
The Kendall Square (Cambridge) Boca Grande employees that served this particular tamale were kind enough to substitute guacamole for sour cream free of charge, giving this tamale the high score. You guys rule.
Boca Exposé: Beef Birria
On the way to the office to go over a 75 page paper that about 0-1 persons will ever read, I stopped and got the a grande burrito with no beans and extra hot sauce. And beef birria.
According to Wikipedia, the only site better than Burrito Blog, birria is:
A spicy meat stew usually made from lamb or goat. Originated in Jalisco. Makes great tacos, usually served with guajillow chilis and an onion cilantro salsa.Boca Grande doesn't have lamb or goat, so their birria is made with beef.
The birria was delicious, though not nearly as spectacular as lamb birria I had in Los Angeles at Don Antonio's.
The only thing keeping down the rating is the post consumption blues, which were technically not blue, and rather violent. It is unclear if the explosive aftermath was caused by the beer birria, the extra hot sauce, or a third, unknown factor.
Cochinita Pibil Enchiladas
Cochinita Pibil is a slow roasted, citrus-ish pork dish, made with Achiote (also known as Annatto seed) that takes a day to prepare.
At the on demand world of Boca Grande, it takes only minutes.
I think it's more traditional to serve Cochinita Pibil as a dish with rice, beans, and tortillas on the side instead of in an enchilada. No matter, the enchiladas were great, and no more fatty than the carnitas. Definitely worth a try.
Boca, after testing out 2 new menu items, you are batting 1000. Good work.
No Meals Served On Flight To LA
I did not forget that airplane food sucks or has been reduced to chips and pretzels. Either way, I appropriately packed my stomach with a grande chicken ranchero with guacamole at Boca Grande before takeoff.
While at Boca, I ran into Kevin and Livia. Hi, what a nice surprise!
Logan to LAX is six hours. As a courtesy to fellow passengers, I skipped the beans and cheese.
Tomatillo Chicken Tamale
As always, ordering was a last minute decision. I went with the tomatillo chicken tamale, for $4.25. That's pretty pricey for a tamale, which are usually under $2.00.
You get what you pay for - there was such a nice balance of spice, corn, tomatillo, and chicken. I added nothing.
This was a tamale of superlatives:
- Most expensive
- Most massive
- Most delicious
- Most definitely recommended
This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: .
Menu Expansion, Boca Grande
It's been about a year since we first covered Boca Grande Taqueria, the bitter rival of Anna's Taqueria. In that time, Boca has released a number of new menu items and changed some things in an effort to differentiate from Anna's. I believe they have succeeded.
Rather than make you look at the old menu, and then the new menu, and then click for the full size, I'll just type out what they've got. Because I love you.
There's the standard Burrito, Burrito Grande, Quesadilla, Taco, and Mexican Plate, all of which are also available at Anna's. Historically, Enchiladas, Tamales, Chicken Colorado, and Chicken Ranchero were the big differentiating menu items. There's a few more Boca only deals that should be brought to your attention.
- Grilled Lemon Chicken
- Beef Birria
- Cochinita Pibil
- California Burrito (sprouts and avocado)
Boca Lands In Brighton
Parking is easier than Coolidge Corner and Cambridge, and the hours are 10 am - 11 pm every day. I think this is the biggest Boca location yet.
That leaves you with no excuse to eat bad burritos.
Burrito Bone Smears Meal
Now some may not care about this vestige of authenticity, but many gringos aren't really used to this sort of thing.
My meal was ok, sans bone. We both had the chicken ranchero: enchiladas for me and a burrito grande for Greg.This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: .
Badly Needed Enchiladas
Thank you, verde sauce.
This Boca Grande Taqueria meal was rated: .
Welcome to Boca GrandeI remember when Boca Grande opened up in Coolidge Corner (Map). My then fierce loyalty to Anna's Taqueria made me keep my distance, but after a while I finally got curious.
I went a few times, really for the enchiladas, but didn't get hooked until I became part of the frenzy at the Kendall Square location in Cambridge, MA (Map). This tiny storefront serves hundreds of people each weekday, and then either sends them upstairs to sit and eat or back to their cubicles.
There's also a location in Porter Square (Map). All Boca Grande Taqueria hours are 10 am - 11 pm each day.
I'd post a link to their site, but it looks like who ever is in charge there was too busy ringing the cash register and forgot to renew the domain name on the menu: www.bocagranderestaurants.com. Instead, check out their Citysearch page here.