If Californians make snide remarks about New York City's Mexican food, you can only imagine what New Yorkers have to say about Boston's version. After all, when it comes to Mexican food, New Yorkers would probably like to forget where Boston even is. But they'd listen up when considering that renowned Boston chef Ken Oringer has a taqueria there, especially when one of its sandwiches, the chile relleno torta, has been ranked by The Boston Globe as one of the city's "earls of sandwich." Too bad it doesn't deliver. In fact, you can easily find two better sandwiches in the city, one fast-food, the other, a special.
Sure, La Verdad has to be a pre and post-game moneymaker — it's right outside Fenway and serves margaritas, tacos, salsas and chips. That doesn't mean it's great Mexican food. Too bad the sign in the adjacent taqueria makes an even more ridiculous claim — one seemingly encouraged by Bon Appétit — that it serves the "Best Mexican Food in the US." It's one of the more preposterous signs you've ever seen.
Here's the problem with La Verdad's storied chile relleno torta: the molasses makes it too sweet, the super-thin cornmeal crust breading fell off the pepper, and it was an Aneheim pepper instead of a poblano pepper — a fried Aneheim pepper — unstuffed! A chile relleno is a stuffed pepper. Always with queso, sometimes with meat, sometimes also with breadcrumbs. This was an unstuffed Aneheim pepper, quickly fried with cornmeal. There was a nice pepper taste, which you're grateful for, but it wasn't a chile relleno. Bottom-line, the bread was excellent, the rest of the sandwich was forgettable, the tacos were horrible, and you never need to return to La Verdad for Mexican food unless of course, the game just ended and you're wasted.
So what do you do with that? After all, Boston's a big city and there have to be better sandwiches even if The Globe hasn't a clue where they are. Here are two suggestions.
Kelly's Roast Beef
Kelly's Roast Beefjust made an appearance on The Best Thing I Ever Ate On the Beach down in Miami at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, and they have the sticker on their door to prove it. If you're driving down Harvard Avenue, save a half-hour of your life and never go to Redneck's for a dry, nasty sandwich drenched in BBQ sauce. Kelly's has a thin-sliced roast beef sandwich that's moist with a light BBQ sauce topping, mayonnaise, and if you're smart, a touch of horseradish. And on a decent bun for a chain.
Another great sandwich in Boston that's worth seeking out (if Hungry Mother deigns you worthy enough to offer this to you as a special), is the open-faced, fried oyster sandwich on pain de mie with remoulade and bacon. Is it technically a sandwich? Eh, good enough. Crusty, light exterior, juicy oyster inside, light, pickupable bread, and tangy remoulade. It may only have one slice, but it's twice the sandwich that La Verdad's chile relleno torta is.
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