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Salvadoran, Mexican, and Peruvian - What could be bad?

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fredid Apr 11, 2009 03:43 PM

Four of us had an impromptu mini-crawl in Day Square, Eastie today. Left damp and full!

Started at BUEN GUSTO (Salvadoran) with pupusas (cheese, cheese and loroco (an herby flower) and pork); three tacos - chicken, tongue, and beef; and a couple of horchatas - a lovely, sweet, almond milk and cinnamon drink. The pupusas were fresh and flavorful - I especially liked the curtido (slaw) that came with them. The tortillas in the tacos were delicate and homemade and the meat (a couple of bites, each) was deliciously grilled. The salsa verde that came with the tacos ad a nice bite!

We had been enticed and "hyped" by the announcement of roasted rabbit on their specials board - Alas, it was not to be! (Too close to Easter? Ah, we'll just have to come back!)

Dashed next door to TAQUERIA JALISCO, for their weekend special of birria - beef with a spicy sauce and more delicious tortillas! The beef reminded me of Grandma's pot roast in tenderness and tastiness, although the spicing was completely different!

Finally, whipped round the corner to RINCON LIMENO, where we took a pass on our beloved ceviche and indulged in a couple of desserts - Mazamorra Morada is a bright colored jellyied "blob", made from Peuvian (purple) corn and a compote (so I'm told) of fruit - you'll see the pic of our licked clean bowl! And to finish our meal with elan, how about flan?! They call it Crema Volteada - a huge portion and sweet, jiggly, smooth, and delicately caramelled.

Finally, our Chow Crew may have a space or two to squeeze in another; if you're interested, please click on my screen name and send me a note. Or, create your own! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5595...

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Rincon Limeno
409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

El Buen Gusto Restaurant
295 Bennington St, Boston, MA 02128

Rosticeria Jalisco
293 Bennington St, Boston, MA 02128

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  1. MC Slim JB RE: fredid Apr 11, 2009 04:26 PM

    I'm taking notes! Buen Gusto has been on my list for a while, but Jalisco is a new add. Thanks for the detailed report!

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. n
      NoNatto RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 05:41 AM

      A satisfying mini-crawl on a raw day. Pupusas at Buen Gusto were very good (though I found it hard to distinguish the ones with and without the loroco) and the accompanying slaw was excellent, with a peppery kick. Tacos also were a nice rendition, with fresh tortillas, slightly charred meats, and a tasty green salsa. The birria at Taqueria Jalisco next door was delicious: big chunks of meat in a rich chili-spiked broth, just right for tucking into a tortilla with some onions, lime juice and hot sauce. And the flan at Rincon Limeno might have been the best dish of all, had it not had to compete with the mazamorra morada, or “purple pudding” (a first for me), consisting of stewed chunks of quince(?) and apple suspended in a thickened gelatin spiked with cinnamon and clove(?).

      Photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/84539512...

       
       
       
       
      1. SaraASR RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 06:12 AM

        I wish I saw this sooner. I went to Day Square last night for dinner to Taqueria El Rancho Grande and was quite disappointed. Incredibly greasy sauces, not homemade chips, really really terrible service, credit card machine not working... first Eastie dining expedition where I can truly say I was dissatisfied.

        3 Replies
        1. re: SaraASR
          MC Slim JB RE: SaraASR Apr 12, 2009 09:10 AM

          I'm sorry to hear this. It's been a couple of years since I've been back to El Rancho Grande, and though it was dumpy-looking, I thought the food was quite fresh-tasting on my last visit.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            SaraASR RE: MC Slim JB Apr 12, 2009 10:42 AM

            LOL, still quite dumpy looking, but I excepted that and didn't mind a bit. Oh well, one place down, many more to try!

            1. re: SaraASR
              galangatron RE: SaraASR Apr 12, 2009 11:19 PM

              i haven't been to el rancho grande in a few years but i remember liking their goat tacos and tacos de la cabeza (beef cheek tacos). the latter is a sunday special

        2. Nab RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 09:11 AM

          Sounds like a nice outing despite a sloppy day, thanks for sharing !

          The birria was of particular interest to my eye, for at least a couple of reasons - it being de res (which I've found to be less common) and the fire-engine red and seemingly fuller-bodied 'sauce'. Can you elaborate on this ? Was it very spicy ? Looks to be a chile/tomato-based sauce instead of the (perhaps) more traditional consomme. Of course, there are so many variations of birria, I'm just curious as to this particular prep.

          I may have to jaunt out there today now that I've got birria on the mind !

          Thanks again.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nab
            f
            fredid RE: Nab Apr 13, 2009 01:45 PM

            Nab - Don't forget - the birria is a weekend special!

            and dear Limster - this was YOUR tip! (Yes, I know, it's been years, but I remembered it!)

            1. re: fredid
              limster RE: fredid Apr 13, 2009 01:48 PM

              It wasn't really my tip, I passed it down from another hound. That's what the boards are great for. :)

          2. limster RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 12:18 PM

            Just a quick check - this was birria with beef rather than goat?

            2 Replies
            1. re: limster
              n
              NoNatto RE: limster Apr 12, 2009 02:08 PM

              The meat (beef, indeed) was as tender as pot roast, and shredded easily when we divvied up the portions. The sauce was thin (in texture, not flavor), deep red from the chilies, presumably; it didn’t taste especially tomatoey, but I couldn’t say for sure there were none. Its flavor was rich and spicy without being especially hot; extra heat was provided by the accompanying green chili hot sauce. On the basis of this rendition, add me to the ranks of birria fans.

              1. re: NoNatto
                Nab RE: NoNatto Apr 13, 2009 06:42 AM

                NN, thanks for the details ! It certainly looks & sounds like an interesting version, in that the liquid component seems to have been fairly aggresively spiced/flavoured (as opposed to the more commonly seen consomme-style, which is based on the spiced drippings from the 'moist-roasted' meat). I must admit a preference for a well-balanced consomme approach, but a beauty of birria is that there are so many styles.

                I need to search the board for other mentions of birria (hopefully goat as well) and slurp them down one-by-one.

            2. hiddenboston RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 06:36 PM

              Thanks for the report! We almost went to Buen Gusto last weekend but made a last-minute decision to go to Alia in Winthrop instead. I'm hoping to try again over the next couple of weeks.

              1. galangatron RE: fredid Apr 12, 2009 11:12 PM

                i was disappointed the conejo al horno (roast rabbit) was unavailable at el buen gusto but thoroughly enjoyed the homemade pupusas and salvadoran style tacos. the pupusas were generously stuffed with filling (cheese, pork, and loroco) and the meat in the tacos (beef, chicken, and tongue) had a nice char flavor

                the tender chunks of beef in the birria at taqueria jalisco were great wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla and topped with diced onion, lime juice, and a squirt of hot sauce. not to mention using the leftover tortillas to sop up the remaining sauce in the bowl. there were also lots of tempting desserts in the refrigerated chest at the front counter (arroz con leche, flan, gelatina de mosaico)

                and the mazamorra morada and crema volteada (two of my favorite desserts) at rincon limeno was the perfect way to end the day

                1 Reply
                1. re: galangatron
                  t
                  Taralli RE: galangatron Apr 13, 2009 05:54 AM

                  I was 1st on the scene & ecstatic about the rabbit, as I knew Galangatron would be - soooo disappointed they didn't have it! My absolute favorite was the bright red birria, at Jalisco, w/it's medium heat and tender beef - perfect for a cold, rainy day. Service was very friendly and accomodating w/our many questions readily answered. Besides desserts, they also sell their homemade round cheeses, raw sausages and rotiss marinated chickens that include rice & beans, tortillas and guac for $13.50.

                2. Nab RE: fredid Apr 16, 2009 09:37 AM

                  Despite having just returned from South America (Argentina & Brazil), Striperguy's suggestion of an Eastie jaunt was a no-brainer, recent rumblings (including the above one) helping out in no small part.

                  There are a handful of focused themed crawls that ought to be undertaken in this nabe. From tamales to tacos (Peruvian, Salvadoran, Mexican, Colombian), and me being a soup & stew guy, would love to take a tour of regional bowls (sancocho, birria, menudo, posole, sopa de pata, ajiaco, gallo en chica, cuchuco, etc).

                  Without any real plans, we did somehow inadvertently repeat the trifecta conducted above, though now that I think back to it, having successfully tracked down the elusive bunny at El Buen Gusto, we really had no choice for our first stop.

                  Nicely rubbed with a flavourful mix of spices which I couldn't put my finger on, the fresh-not-frozen rabbit was expertly roasted, not a dry bite to be had, charred & crispy exterior, luscious meat slipping right off the bone. Served with a scoop of rice, thick-cut fried potatoes, and a couple of thick corn tortillas, packed full of lightly lardened masa, which may as well have been called pupusas as far as I was concerned.

                  Thick, hand-cut totopos, perhaps just slightly past their prime:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3358/3...

                  Rabbit plate:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3626/3...

                  Tortillas:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3553/3...

                  We also sampled a couple of Salvadoran tamales, gift-wrapped in plantain leaves, creamy (white corn?) masa mouthfeel with a very mildly flavoured & lightly sauced chunk of chicken filling. Perhaps a little denser than what I expected for the Salvadoran varietal, but tasty nonetheless, and served with one of the finer examples of curtido as mentioned above.

                  Tamale:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3542/3...

                  Feeling lucky, I thought I'd ask the nice folks at Taqueria Jalisco if, by chance, there was birria to be had on a Weds night. No luck, but a buttery cabeza taco with a trio of excellent salsas ranging from tangy to spicy did not disappoint. In speaking with Maria, I inquired as to the possibilities of some other more difficult to be found Jaliscan specialities, to which she responded enthusiastically, "Call me with a couple of days notice, and I'll make it all for you." As if I needed another reason for a return trip.

                  (blurry) Cabeza:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3564/3...

                  Despite being rather fully-distended, I urged Striperguy to share a dessert of anticuchos (marinated/grilled beef hearts) at Rincon Limeno, and he did a better job of pulling weight than me, scarfing down tender heart after heart with great gusto.

                  Anticuchos:

                  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3593/3...

                  I feel embarassingly underinformed as to the subtle differences in regional Central & South American cuisines and will make a point to get back to Eastie as often as possible for a proper schooling.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Nab
                    t
                    Taralli RE: Nab Apr 16, 2009 10:07 AM

                    What are the Jaliscan specialties you were referring to?

                    1. re: Nab
                      StriperGuy RE: Nab Apr 16, 2009 01:21 PM

                      Welcome back to beantown. We had a pretty good roll there. The tacos de cabeza, and rabbit were great. And as for the anticuchos. who knew how delicious beef heart could be; dang that was tasty. After that dinner it is brown rice, tofu, and green vegetables for the rest of the week.

                      Mittapheap soon.

                    2. hotoynoodle RE: fredid Apr 17, 2009 06:01 AM

                      ooooooh -- had the rabbit last night @ buen gusto and it was delish. split a couple pork and cheese pupusas and they were tender, soft and wonderful. agreed also on the curtido. the server was so nice and obviously pleased that we wanted off-the-menu items and happy we enjoyed everything so much!

                      next time tacos!

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