El Pelón: A New Addiction


I need to start off this post by apologizing for not reviewing anything recently. I have a backlog of reviews that are forthcoming, but it has been difficult because of work (hiding from INS), La Copa Mundial (actually the NBA Finals… go Celtics!), and my strict workout regimen (drinking bottles of scotch alone). But I am back and I am focused!

My kind of addiction

El Pelón (loosely translates to “the Pelón”) is known in Boston for two things: 1) Making fantastic burritos, specifically El Guapo; and 2) for burning down not once, but twice. When it burned down the second time, I was disappointed because I had never made it to the Fenway location before I fled Boston for DC. Well, it has been rebuilt in the yuppie W.A.S.P.-y college neighborhood of Chestnut Hill near Boston College (the “Boston” institute of higher learning…. not actually located in Boston). It’s located at the end of the B-line on the Green line. On the upside, it’s accessible by public transportation, but on the downside, you have to take Boston public transportation, which is relatively as enjoyable as being a college girl at a bar with Ben Roethlisberger.

On day 2 of Pinothon weekend, a group of us make our way to the picturesque area near BC (read: inordinately Caucasian) to finally try the infamous El Pelon Taqueria. Being the genius that I am, I suggest to my brother (Little Peen) that we each get separate burritos and share them to cover more ground. Of course he complies (he has no other choice), and we put in the following order:

1) El Guapo (the handsome!): Grilled Steak, Mexican Rice, Black Beans, Fried Plantains, Jack Cheese, Fire Roasted Salsa, Romaine Lettuce, and Crema ($6.50)

2) Pollo Burrito: Grilled chicken, Mexican rice, Jack Cheese, Romaine Lettuce, Salsa Fresca, crema, hot sauce, and guacamole (+$.75 extra) ($4.95 before guac)

A guapo holds EL GUAPO!

First off, El Guapo! This is the trademark burrito of El Pelón. They add a unique twist to a standard burrito; the not-so secret ingredient: fried plantains (which can also be ordered as a side for $3.95).  The fried plantains provide a sweetness that contrasts superbly with the saltiness of the burrito. I have to admit that I was skeptical going into it, but Little Peen was optimistic.  The rest of the burrito’s ingredients were very good, but not amazing. The grilled steak was not overcooked, but not super flavorful; the rice was traditional Mexican rice that I really enjoyed, and the “fire-roasted salsa” must have referred to the way the salsa was made, not the actual heat content of it because it lacked real kick. The burrito itself was very well put together. Steamed flour tortilla and the right balance of each of the ingredients.

Secondly, the standard burrito. Gotta love the low price. Less than $6 for a delicious burrito including guacamole and sour cream? Sign. Me. Up. Or in the words of Pete Carroll, “I am so uh…. fired up.” The ingredients were fresh and, unlike many places, the chicken was not dry. Hooray! The burrito was a slightly scaled down version of El Guapo, so most of those points carry over here. Other options for the standard burrito include Bean and Cheese ($4.50), Calabacitas (veggie $4.95), Carnitas ($4.95), Carne Asada (steak $5.25), and Pescado (fish, $6.25).

A few minor knocks: 1) Salsa and guac were very good, but not great. 2) The brothers Pino were still a bit hungry at the of the burritos. That being said, it would probably satisfy most mere mortals, but it is not a massive burrito (Little Peen just has a small head).

Those few issues aside, I highly recommend El Pelón if you’re in Chestnut Hill yuppie watching. And unlike everything else on BC’s campus, El Pelón’s sense of superiority is well deserved (and not given to them by their parents). I give it an emphatic and strong 4 sombreros. ¡Olé!

What? Rehab? You're fiiiiiine.

El Pelón Taqueria
2197 Commonwealth Avenue
Brighton, MA


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