Wednesday, May 16, 2007

La Verdad

This has been a most exhausting week and a most exhilarating one, all at the same time. I worked well over 80 hours, effed up more than I ever thought possible, and got to see two of my favorite (!!) bands in the teeniest of tiny venues, all in the same week. I am happy. And wiped out. But wait till I write about what is planned for tomorrow. Oh I am so excited.

All this working and band deification leaves very little time for cooking, and for food in general. I have subsisted on... hell, I have no idea. Adrenaline? Vending machines? Was that dramatic? I am also still a little mad at my knife and haven’t really cooked since the cutting-off-a-piece-of-my-finger incident. It is strange, I know, to hold a grudge against an inanimate object, but it knows what it did was wrong and I just need to hear it before I can move on.

Ken Oringer, of Toro and Clio, stepped in to save me. He very recently opened a new Mexican restaurant next to Fenway Park and down the block from half of the skankiest clubs in Boston (as in, about 300 feet away from my lab. Yay me). It is the oddest of all spots for an uncompromising, authentic, no-nachos-with-fake-cheese-why-do-they-even-call-it-cheese type of Mexican establishment. Red Sox fans usually want nothing that doesn’t come in a plastic cup or on a hot dog bun, but I hope some will make an exception. And an exception it is.

That picture at the top? That is true beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I am beholding. You are looking at a carne asada torta from Ken Oringer’s La Verdad. It is: a sesame seed roll made specially for La Verdad by Iggy’s – crusty and soaked through with juices from the meat, a thin layer of refried black beans (key here – not pinto beans, but black beans – way more flavor and tons more texture. Not all refried beans come in a can, for all you Red Sox fans), carne asada that’s just chewy enough – no one wants filet mignon on a torta - and marinated through and through with spicy things and citrusy things and wonderful things, Oaxacan string cheese – more elastic than mozzarella, with a slightly milder flavor, creamy avocado, and a subtly spicy and sweet chipotle mayo. Umm, yea.

Beauty and perfection, all down the street from lab. I am saved from a slow and painful death-by-Cheetos.


Ben Chen said...

OoOoOOooOO that looks good! I got a bag of burritos from work. Not as tasty as it sounds.

Jonathan said...

Man, only after I leave do all the good places come in. I guess that means I have to come back and visit you at the lab. Hope you're not there too late again. I have to get you to talk to Nathan at the Tavern, since he was a sous-chef under Ken Oringer.

aimee said...

That's deification, not defecation. Excellent.

So, the Kooks and The Cinematics made it across the pond did they? The Kooks have been doing fairly well for themselves here, but I must say, I'm surprised you know the Cinematics. They're based in Glasgow and yet nobody an hour away here in Edinburgh seems to have heard of them. Go you. I'm so making you a mix tape(cd).

JC said...

Yay for favorite bands!

I think Mexican food is my favorite "genre" if you will. I love carne asada. That torta looks pretty good, but I must admit the mayo, even if it is chipotle, is giving me some pause.

Anna said...

Ben - What do you mean, a bag? What do you mean, from work? You don't work at a burrito place. Totally confused here.

Jonathan - There is so much stuff opening around Kenmore! Just in time for me to move away as well. Bummer. I would love to talk to Nathan. Meant to tell you - had a long talk with the chef/owner of Chez Henri. Neat guy.

Aimee - You've dropped your pen name! Very much looking forward to that tape. If I see Dixie Chicks on it, however, we can't be friends. It's just that simple.

JC - Ok, maybe it's not mayo. I have to check. It is some sort of creamy substance with chipotles in it. In fact, I am going to be at La Verdad Friday, so I will take careful notes and report back. Don't pause. Who has that kind of time?

aimee said...

Oops, there goes my anonymity. Meh. I can't believe you just outed my 'thing' for the Dixie Chicks, under my real name too!

Anna said...

I have no pity for you.

Marc said...

The carne asada torta looks really good! I've heard mixed reviews about La Verdad, but should probably check it out for myself. It's tough to get past Taqueria La Mexicana in Somerville and Angela's Cafe in East Boston, though.

Anna said...

La Verdad is good, but I have to say that it's spotty. It can be mediocre, but it can also be fantastic. Thank you so much for visiting, Marc! I love reading your posts on Chowhound (and on your own blog, of course).