Finding California in Boston

As graduation approaches (32 days…), I reflect on what brought me to Boston and the amazing aspects of this city that I love – “snow days,” the architecture, school, my college friends, local beer. I’m also reminded of the parts of Boston that have been a struggle for a California girl like me. I have narrowed these characteristics down to three (very) important things, that I think most Californians would agree with me on:

1. Miserable winter weather

2. Pastel pants

3. Lack of great Mexican food

While I can’t control the weather nor the male population’s need to wear every trending spring pastel color in one outfit, I have searched far and wide for great Mexican food. And now, with only a few weeks left in this dynamic city, I can say that there is a place here that tastes like home: El Pelon.

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My friends are going to kill me for revealing their “top secret” taco spot but I feel it is my duty to pass on the knowledge that was given to me. Located in the Fenway area, tucked behind West Elm and dangerously close to Chipotle, El Pelon is a treasure to say the least. With indoor and outdoor seating, this place is perfect for any day of any season. I fell in love with their signature pescado tacos – crispy cornmeal and spice encrusted cod piled high with purple pickled cabbage, crunchy cucumbers, limed onions and their chile mayo spicy sauce (don’t forget to add guac!) – so in love that I went back three more times in one week. It’s a blessing in disguise that they don’t have a margarita menu.

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You might be thinking that these look/sound like tacos you could get anywhere. But the ingredients are so fresh, the combinations of tastes are incredibly original and complimentary and the menu provides options for everyone’s tastebuds. Unlike other Mexican restaurants in Boston that I’ve tried – I won’t name drop the lame ones – the meat is local and fresh, toppings are unique, recipes have been fine-tuned over the course of fifteen years and their salsas, guacamole and hot sauces are made in house. Not to mention their prices are fantastic – these El Pelon signatures priced at $7.50 may not be the $2 out-of-the-truck price points I’m used to but they’re pretty close.

I’m incredibly disappointed that after living minutes from this gem for two years it has only just been put on my radar. I finally have my favorite Mexican restaurant in all of Boston with only weeks left of living in this city but I know that I will make the most of it before graduation. In fact, all this writing has left me wanting some right now.

xx

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