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Finally tried Chacarero (OK) and Beard Papa (WOW!) downtown...

I am finally checking out the high points recommended downtown now that it's my workplace (it used to be in the very unchowish Seaport/South Boston area).

Chacarero was chaotic with a long line at 12:40 and it was really unclear about how you pay, get a receipt, and THEN order the sandwich (why don't they have a simple sign that says "Stand here in the cashier line first and then get in the other line to order your food" -- though they were quite friendly at the window -- it was the one on the side of Filene's, by the way) --

The very big "small" BBQ chicken sandwich with extra hot sauce and guac was a LOT of food for $6 (enough for two to split easily, in fact), but aside from that, I didn't get why it's highly-touted -- it's a decent chicken breast sandwich with some decent vegetables (green beans, roasted peppers, and tomatoes) on fresh but bland round bread -- seems that's it to me -- no really unique spice or flavor in mine today, though the heat in the sauce was OK.

I'm not sure what I'm missing about it. What is it that others love there? - should I order differently next time?

Beard Papa in Quincy Market, on the other hand, was definitely the most expensive ($2)and BEST cream puff I've ever had -- pristinely fresh vanilla custard in a perfect puff pastry shell sprinkled with just enough powdered sugar.

There was no line at 3:30p on this Tuesday and the server was very smiley and friendly. I am NOT a cream puff fanatic, but I'd go out of my way once in while for another one of these!

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  1. I agree with you on Chacarero. Didn't seem to wow me either.

    1. I'm so excited that there's a Beard Papa in Boston! Their cream puffs are definitely the best out there - the shells are baked and are always super fresh and crispy, and doesn't get soggy because they fill it for you right there.

      Their special flavors - chocolate, strawberry, green tea, mango are also good - but I think that vanilla (with little flecks of real vanilla bean) is by far the best.

      I fell in love with them when I worked next door to a Beard Papa's in NY.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Christie

        Inspired by this thread, I grabbed a Beard Papa cream puff during lunch. Cream puff aside (tasty chocolate cream with a fairly crispy shell), I noticed that the Quincy Market location only does chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Here's hoping they add mango, et al, soon.

      2. I think if you are a cream puff fanatic, you might not like Beard Papa as much -- I've heard complaints that their puffs are filled with custard instead of cream. But I love it, especially the eclair (what you had, except with a dark chocolate topping instead of powdered sugar). Mmmm.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pia

          I find that Beard Papa's cream puffs have an odd, kind of metallic aftertaste.

          Pass.

        2. Another underwhelmed Chacarero eater. Probably too much hyper for its own good. I will try it again soon with less unrealistic expectations.

          Beard Papa absolutely rocks, though.

          1. I'm a fan of Chacarero. I like the mix of marinated beef, cheese, avocado, hot sauce, etc..Bun is ok. They certainly could make it "clearer" as to how to order, pay, pick up.

            If you want to try them again, there's also a store on Province St..rarely a line. I'm told they also have empanadas; but I haven't tried them yet.

            Different hounds..different tastes.

            3 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              Former Chacarero junkie here.

              Having worked downtown for almost a decade I think one of the main attractions to this place has been that it's just a little bit different from the rest. Just about every corner you turn around here there is a deli/sub/bagel/salad/Italian shop with little variation to what they offer on the menu. I agree that the ingredients are simple, but I think it's the combination (plus being in close proximity to most offices) that makes it a hit. And I admit when I first discovered it I spent a whole summer overdosing on the large combo with extra beans, cheese, and sauce. Now I just occasionally go there (before 11:30am to avoid the line) when I need a meat and heat fix.