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So Cal Style Carne Asada in Boston

highnoon May 2, 2007 10:53 AM

Any rec's on San Diego style carne asada burritos in Boston?
Haven't seen anything recent.

Hiddenboston, your pick will definitely be appreciated.
I lived near the PB Bahia for years and loved their burritos, although the carne wasn't my fav.

  1. x
    xxx May 8, 2007 11:06 AM

    I've been looking for over two decades. Nothing comes close.

    1. hiddenboston May 4, 2007 10:16 AM

      I haven't found much like that around here, highnoon, but I would say that you might want to check out Tacos Lupita in Somerville (there are others around, too--I also go to the one in Lawrence). Tacos Lupita has carne asada burritos, tacos, gorditas, and mulitas. I haven't had the burrito, but the grilled steak and cheese mulitas are so good that I need to restrain myself from stopping the car everytime I drive by the place.

      Thanks for any SD suggestions, BTW! I go out there often, and always try to get to Bahia Don Bravo in La Jolla for a burrito Colorado (stringy chunks of beef with red chile sauce--yum!) when I'm there.

      13 Replies
      1. re: hiddenboston
        Bob Dobalina May 4, 2007 10:55 AM

        I can vouch that Lupita's tortilla seems to be heated (and slightly browned/crunchy) from the grill.

        1. re: hiddenboston
          yumyum May 4, 2007 11:04 AM

          I always have the carne asada in my torta from Lupita. It's great -- flavorful enough to stand up to all the other ingredients and one of my favorite sandwiches ever. However, it is not citrus marinated as far as I can tell. I do know that they don't steam their tortillas, although I've never had a burrito there. I can't get past the torta.

          1. re: yumyum
            Infomaniac May 4, 2007 11:09 AM

            I'm pretty sure they steam the tortillas for the burrito's at Lupita's, but I'm not complaining.

            1. re: Infomaniac
              yumyum May 4, 2007 11:11 AM

              Are you sure??!! I noticed them assembling two burritos yesterday at lunchtime and I never heard the tell-tale steaming sound. I was listening. They might keep the tortillas in the steam table to keep them pliable, but I could have sworn no "steaming" happened. Tell me I'm not going deaf. What? Huh?

              1. re: yumyum
                Infomaniac May 4, 2007 11:17 AM

                The Lupita's in Haverhill puts the tortilla in the thing that looks like a George Forman gill and gives it a couple pumps before they fill it with all the goodness. I think that things a steamer. I'll have to ask next time I'm there.

                1. re: Infomaniac
                  yumyum May 4, 2007 11:21 AM

                  Oh thank god. In Somerville they don't have the steaming foreman grill ... the kind they use at Anna's, Boca, etc. I always knew my tacos lupita was better. :-)

                  1. re: yumyum
                    Infomaniac May 4, 2007 11:30 AM

                    You know, I've noticed a difference in taste between Haverhill, Lawrence, and Somerville. While they are all good, the same thing taste different at each place.

                    1. re: yumyum
                      chickendhansak May 4, 2007 11:56 AM

                      Someone want to explain to an ignorant foreigner why steaming the tortilla is bad? As I lightly grill mine at home, sprinkled with a few drops of water, I dream of recreating the chewy quality of the tortilla from a burrito place and assume that it is all down to the steaming iron thing. Have I got it all wrong?

                      1. re: chickendhansak
                        yumyum May 4, 2007 12:13 PM

                        I don't mind steaming -- it softens the tortillas so they are wrappable. But some object to the gummy texture steaming can leave behind.

                        To get back to the OP, please update us if you try Lupita's carne asada -- huge burrito is about $4, not much of a risk.

                        1. re: yumyum
                          highnoon May 5, 2007 04:34 PM

                          Thanks again. Great rec's and even a little history and geography lesson thrown in to boot.
                          I plan on trying Verdad, Romanos, Lupita, y Villa Mex.
                          I'll report back.
                          To be thorough I'll have to try the tortas as well.

                          As for the steamed tortilla debate, I find when they're heated on the grill they're less chewy (more bready, maybe?) and drier.
                          This helps with all the juices from the carne, salsa fresca, y salsa picante.
                          Also you get more of a cooked, vs raw, flavor.
                          At home I just put them right on a medium-low gas burner and give a couple spins and a flip.
                          Finally, HiddenBoston, I'd have to say my favorite CAB in PB is at Los Dos Pedros on Turqouise St in PB. Especially in the daytime when Mama y Papi make them with extra love.

                          As for Chinese my East Coast friends all agreed that Mandarin house in Bird Rock best satisfied our cravings for familiar Chinese.

                          I loved Da Kine Hawaiiian, especially the plate lunches, at PB Drive & Mission.
                          Cafe Athena on the East end of Garnet had good Greek food.
                          Last, but definitely not least is the Bronx Pizza shop in North Park.
                          Possibly the best pizza I've ever had. BYOB too.
                          My Boston roomie and I ate there for a week straight once we found it.
                          These rec's are from a couple years ago, hope they're still worthy.

                          1. re: highnoon
                            hiddenboston May 7, 2007 10:10 AM

                            Thanks, highnoon. If I do get to San Diego this summer, I'll have to try Los Dos Pedros. Then maybe a nightcap and a sunset at Lahaina's! :-)

                            1. re: hiddenboston
                              highnoon May 8, 2007 04:56 AM

                              You're welcome.
                              Hopefully I'll be doing the same thing in the fall.

                    2. re: Infomaniac
                      Bob Dobalina May 8, 2007 06:56 AM

                      I am pretty certain that the outside of my Lupita (Somerville) burrito shows a little toast on the outside, so I always figured that they toss it on the fry-grill after assembly.

            2. Sgt Snackers May 3, 2007 06:23 PM

              La Verdad does a pretty decent carne asada in the tacos; and I believe they have a burrito and carne asada plate as well. Not sure if it hits on all of the So Cal specifications.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sgt Snackers
                highnoon May 3, 2007 09:45 PM

                Thanks for all the responses.
                I have my work cut out for me.
                The right marinade for the meat is really key, i think. Many of the other variables can be explained and tweaked.
                I know these are hard things to recreate outside their natural habitats, but if iIcan find a reasonable facsimile I'll be happy until I make it back to SD.
                I did a lot of legwork in SD and finally found Chinese and pizza that satisfied my cravings.
                To paraphrase Woody Allen- the stomach wants what the stomach wants.

                Hiddenboston, I'd still love your rec. You're batting 1.000 with me. Love the Wheelhouse and the Pleasant as well as Bahia, of course.
                Thanks again.

              2. c
                chezchristine May 2, 2007 10:56 AM

                Can you describe what it's like?

                7 Replies
                1. re: chezchristine
                  highnoon May 2, 2007 11:18 AM

                  Well, the carne asada has to be marinated a certain way. I believe it's citrus-based with onions and garlic.
                  As for the burrito, you need a good tortilla heated on the grill, not steamed.
                  Cheese would be a Jack and Cheddar mix.
                  Salsa fresca, or pico de gallo, would be heavy on the cilantro and fresh tomatoes.
                  That would be it unless you asked for guacamole or something else.
                  No black beans or whitish rice like in San Fran or many places around here.
                  It's really just a regional way of making the burrito.
                  Boy, it's like a delicious Mexican steak and cheese when done right though.
                  I had the opposite problem when in San Diego- finding pizza, chinese and Steak subs made the "right' (Boston) way.
                  Around here the best meat I've found is at Fajita's & Ritas but they bake the whole burrito or something and the tortilla comes out crunchy.
                  Baja Fresh isn't bad either.

                  1. re: highnoon
                    Bostonbob3 May 2, 2007 11:19 AM

                    Romano's Pizza in Roslindale has the best burritos around here.

                    As odd as that seems. (Separate Mexican kitchen.)

                    1. re: highnoon
                      Infomaniac May 2, 2007 11:29 AM

                      Have you tried El Pelon Taquieria on Peterborough Street in the Fenway?
                      The problem is even if you find the real deal here in Boston, it's just not going to taste the same being 3000 miles away from the Pacific Beach.

                      1. re: Infomaniac
                        highnoon May 2, 2007 11:45 AM

                        Haven't tried El Pelon. I heard they were more authentic Mexican, which is great, but not what I'm looking for in this burrito.
                        As for the PB experience, I'll just have to use the vivid imagination that got me through so many boring classes in school.

                        1. re: highnoon
                          heWho May 2, 2007 02:56 PM

                          Yeah, you really aren't going to find exactly what you're looking for around here. The suggestions for burritos given so far are good. I'd also throw in Tacos Lupita just outside of Porter Square in Cambridge. Their steak is just ok, but their roast pork is to die for. They're also very heavy on the cilantro.

                        2. re: Infomaniac
                          Bostonbob3 May 2, 2007 11:46 AM

                          Exactly. Just as a New England clam bake doesn't taste the same in Los Angeles.

                          Every area/region has specialties based on its geography, climate, and immigrant populations.

                          1. re: Bostonbob3
                            RoyRon May 3, 2007 07:02 AM

                            Tres Amigos in Stoneham has a Carne Asada burrito that closely matches what you describe.

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