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l.a. expat seeking "l.a."-type authentic mexican food

can anyone familiar with la's version of authentic mexican food (think loteria!, la cabanita, king taco, or la estrella) recommend a similar restaurant in the boston area...i'm even willing to drive an hour from boston if it's really good.

i've been disappointed by all of the authentic mexican restaurants in boston (i was sad after eating at casa romero, el pelon, sol azteca, etc.). i'm looking for: salsa made with fresh tomatoes instead of canned; freshly fried tortilla chips that are light and thin with a fresh coat of grease and a dusting of salt; food that actually has heat; and even food cooked with lard.

thanks if you can help.

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  1. This is a perennial topic of discussion on this board, and as another displaced angeleno, i share your pain and can say it's just not really available here. (i should qualify that: i've tried most of the places mentioned on this board that are relatively T accessible in metro boston, but can't comment on things farther away) Sadly, those real platos tipicos places just haven't made it up here. (Yet??)

    One thing that can be quite tasty (just don't try to compare it to a CA version) are the fish tacos at El Pelon-- if you go when it's not crowded and you get them hot, crispy, with a not overpowering sauce and the pickled cabbage, it's quite nice. (I realize this probably isn't the kind of thing you're seeking, given the places you mention, but boston hasn't really gotten past the "mexican food = tacos and burritos" phase) The burritos at El Pelon have always been a disappointment to me, though....

    For things that are also found in Salvador or other places, there might be some hope. I've had some passable tamales and chile relleno from Taqueria La Mexicana in union square in somerville, but the other options there are more hit or miss. Can't remember their chips-- it's not something I pay attention to so much. Boca Grande also has a menu format that's at least kind of recognizable for a mexican place-- they never seem to live up to my hopes, though... :(

    1. Having moved here from California, I doubt you will ever find EXACTLY what you are looking for, but I think you'll need to go to East Boston and check out some of the more authentic (read: Mexican food for Mexican people) places there. That's where you're going to find the stuff cooked in lard, decent carnitas and pollo asado, fresh tortillas. There are a lot of options in Eastie - Taqueria El Rancho Grande, Rostiria Cancun, Rincon Limeno, Rosteria Jalisco - that cater more for the taste you're looking for (though I can't guarantee they are all up to the quality level you are used to). Just drive over, park around Maverick Square, and go sniffing around.

      1. Check out previous posts on Tacos Lupita in Somerville; it's Mex-Salvadoran, and it's highly regarded here for things like pupusas and tortas. Don't know specifically how transplants feel about it. (I lived in LA for 5 years, but to this day all I miss about it is the fact that I could get frozen yogurt in myriad funky flavors on literally every corner. I'm sure those stands have all been replaced by Starbucks now anyway.)

        1. I grew up in cali and the northwest, I am sad to report that u wont find what your looking for....the closest i have found in 7 years is rotisceria cancun in maverick square, mostly for papusa (not mex, but delish) and for burritos and such. The flavors are authentic here and I find that to be as comforting.....

          1. I too am a native of So. Cal and have been terribly disappointed for what passes as Mexican food here. I will say that I have had EXCELLENT chips, salsa, and guacamole a Cafe D in Jamaica Plain. The fish tacos there are also very good (I have only occasionally been less than impressed). The guy who owns the place is a San Diego transplant and clearly knows what's what. The chips are exactly what you are looking for--thin, fresh, crispy, and served right out of the fryer. The salsa is also fresh (and I don't normally order anything made with winter tomatoes because I am always disappointed). Give the place a shot--I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

            1. You're in the wrong place. Best Mexican around here are El Serape in Braintree, Jose's in Cambridge and Tu Y Yo in Somerville,

              1. I'm a Northern Cal. transfer, (S.F.), and I'm sorry to say that the best place I've found for what you're missing is Baja Fresh, the CA-based chain with a few outposts here (Hingham, Stoneham and Peabody). They were bought by Wendy's (which is in the process of wrecking them, IMHO), but they still make their chips fresh, thin and warm, and their salsa bar has one of the better pico de gallo I've found, and it's all you can eat.

                1. I'm from here, and since I first went to Cal in '84, have since been several times, as well as CO, NM and others, I won't eat much Mexican here. Go west young person.

                  1. San Francisco transplant here--I'll echo the same--When I'm home in SF I eat Mexican food everyday to get my fix :)

                    Here...well...I should say I'm a vegetarian that eats fish--so yeah El Pelon on a good day for fish tacos. I like Boca Grande for black bean, guacamole & salsa tacos--they're good; not as good:0 Really lack that great corn tortilla flavor that we know--and yeah I wish the salsas here were spiked with serranos--offer a choice , like in Cali, hot or mild! New England palates..Boca Grande's tamales were a good deal--fresh...But LA and SF are different scenes as well...

                    1. Felipe's Taqueria in Harvard Square.