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Jul 25, 2011 12:15 PM

Boca Grande and Anna's Tacqueria turning into corporate Chipotle?

I've hit Anna's in Davis Square a few times this year already and been supremely disappointed in the bland chicken and the dry mostly tasteless pork....not what I remember from Anna's last year.
Hit Boca Grande in Coolidge Corner this weekend and to my horror, a lot of the interesting mexican flavors have been replaced w/ various chicken flavors...colorado, lemon....pineapple???
I gave up and got an al pastor burrito and the guy pulled it out of the fridge and tossed it on the grill to reheat it :-O

Both used to be more authentic mexican but did I miss the news that they're now trying to be more like Chipotle? :-P

Boca Bar & Restaurant
11 Pine St, Waltham, MA 02453

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  1. Boca Grande always sucked hard, so let's just get that out of the way. As far as meat quality, it varies highly between Anna's locations and if anything this is totally anti-corporate because they can't figure out how to standardize their product.

    Anna's now offers slices of whole fresh avocado and you can even get cubit-long super burritos (some locations). These are highly authentic touches that bring the product incrementally closer to a real Mission/Oakland product.

    Burritos are a Northern CA product, and I think the concept of "authentic Mexican" is irrelevant in terms of defining the qualities of the style. If I had to guess why Anna's recently introduced some new meats (chicken ranchero, steak in salsa roja) it might be to compete with these new Boca Grande flavors, or with Boloco which I guess is the local king of "variety in a tortilla."

    Full disclosure: Chipotle is overpriced and not very good

    11 Replies
    1. re: Luther

      And speaking of inability to standardize between locations, the Davis Square Anna's has always been the worst of the lot. The Beacon Street and Harvard Street locations in Brookline are generally better.

      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        Porter Square's Anna's is IMO a good one.

        BTW last I checked Boca Grande was still doing cochinita pibil at its Mass Ave in Cambridge branch, which I would have thought a respectably uncorporate filling.

        Chicken colorado has been on the menu there for years, no? And I would guess it is much as in Rick Bayless's take on mole coloradito which he describes as a Oaxacan recipe.

        1. re: chickendhansak

          Porter's Anna's is where I get the very spicy chile verde. They do bring the spice on that one!

          1. re: yumyum

            That's a good one. And of course they now do the sauce on its own w/o the pork too.

            1. re: yumyum

              I've had decent burritos from the Porter Sq Anna's also. Better than the Beacon Hill location.

            2. re: chickendhansak

              You are correct, chickendhansak, Boca has had chicken colorado for at least 4 or 5 years.

              Boca Grande
              149 1st St, Cambridge, MA 02142

              1. re: mangorita

                Even longer! I remember getting it at least 8-9 years ago and it was just as delicious then as it is now.

          2. re: Luther

            I found your post very articulate and informative. The one point I do not grok is the 'cubit long burritos of the Mission.' which, while eating Mission take-out burritos these last 12 years, i have not noticed.

            The only Anna's we have been to is the Davis Sq spot, and we always have had terrific pastor burritos ( as good as our fav Mission ones) and chile verde there. I'll make a point of going for a gustar of their new fillings (as I always ask for a taste before ordering any Boston area Mexican sauce or filling, given that 99% of them are yech.)

            Have you tried the new fillings/what did you think?

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              The ridiculously long super burritos are something I can recall having at El Ojo de Agua in Oakland, never seen them in MA. I haven't tried any of the new flavor meats because I don't like a lot of sauce in my burrito, and I'd prefer the meat to be unsauced.

              1. re: Luther

                well you might want to tweak your wording then, if both you and i have not seen these in the Mission (not Mission Hill) of SF.

            2. re: Luther

     "authentic mexican", I mean the flavorings on the meat and how they're cooked (it could also mean the guacamole which totally pales to stuff I've had in Texas and Mexico but that's true of both locations). Two flavors in particular I miss off Boca Grande's new menu: conchinita pabil and beef birria. Replaced apparently by pineapple flavored chicken??? :-P

              Good to know the David Square Anna's is the worst. I've hit Anna's at the Coolidge corner location too, though I also thought the meat was less flavorful than the Boca Grande there (before the menu change), so maybe Boca has location variation as well. The Davis Square Anna's various chicken flavors are even less flavorful than the Coolidge corner location and their pork (al pastor?) was really dry the time I had it...most likely because most people at that location seem to order the chicken on weekdays.

              Boca Bar & Restaurant
              11 Pine St, Waltham, MA 02453

            3. Like you I was dissapointed with Boca Grande's menu changes which they instituted a few months ago. They dropped Birria which was one of their differentiators from Anna's.

              1 Reply
              1. re: HubFlyer

                The Differentiators- sounds like a good name for a rock band.

              2. I still miss Big Burrito in Allston. Sigh.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KevinKS

                  Yeah, they were my favorite as well. The Boca Grande in Brighton Center is the best of the ones I've been to. Never been a fan of Anna's.