A Red Sox game was in full bloom when I ventured over to El Pelón Taqueria in Fenway, one of many restaurants surrounding the ballpark. Its brightly colored umbrellas and wooden picnic tables stood out on the bright sunny day. Despite being past peak lunch hours, the taqueria was swarming with customers.
The next time you head over to Fenway Park, skip the overpriced stadium dogs. Just two blocks away, the culinary mecca that is Peterborough Street offers seven global cuisines in one short stretch. Here’s your dish-by-dish guide to top-notch pregame dining.
Favorite Fenway eatery El Pelon Taqueria made the top five when statistician, data journalist, and Mexican-American cuisine fan Nate Silver embarked on a quest to find the nation’s best burrito. Silver mined Yelp scores, then did extensive taste tests with a selection committee that visited restaurants and voted on the burritos.
Asking how a chain and an independent restaurant differ may seem like a deceptively simple question, with the most obvious answer being that independents have one unit—or maybe two, according to an official definition from The NPD Group—while chains are larger in both size and scale.
This week we journey from Boston to Alabama and from San Francisco to El Paso to determine the fourth entrant in the Burrito Bracket’s final round. If my Round 1 opinions hold, it will be a close match between El Paso’s Delicious Mexican Eatery and San Francisco’s Taqueria Cancún. California already has two restaurants in the finals; does it rate a third?
El Pelón Taqueria owner Jim Hoben might be best recognized for his swooping handlebar mustache and a burrito that is now being lauded as one of the country’s best by David Chang and FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. But Hoben has some other equally enticing offerings at his two taquerias, including some of the city’s best guacamole, mouth-watering carnitas enchiladas with verde sauce, and an alluring array of tacos.
We now know the best four burritos in what we define as the Northeast in our Burrito Bracket. Correspondent Anna Maria Barry-Jester traveled from Iowa to Maine as part of our search for America’s best burrito and found some gems along the way — including a burrito with a freshly handmade corn tortilla.
I promised myself I wouldn’t eat the whole burrito at El Pelón Taqueria. It was my second burrito of the day, and late that night I was flying to California to begin the last region of the Burrito Bracket. But who was I to leave behind even a single piece of the sweet, fried plantain embedded throughout the bundle?
The Northeast, which in the Burrito Bracket extends from Missouri to Maine, has the second-most burrito-selling establishments of any of our four regions (after California, of course). It lacks the historic Mexican culinary influence of California and the West, but is flush with college campuses and big cities, which breed burrito lovers.
According to Silver’s website and blog FiveThirtyEight.com, there are 67,391 restaurants in the United States that serve a burrito. In Silver’s ongoing quest to find the country’s best one, the El Pelón Taquería burrito has been named number four.