Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anna's Taqueria.

Kathy & I are beginning to mentally prepare for our upcoming trip to Boston in April, which will be the first time we return to that grand ol' town since we moved a little less than two years ago. By 'mentally preparing,' I mean of course we have talked a lot about where we are going to eat. We haven't even had much contact with the friends and/or relatives on whose floors we are planning on sleeping, BUT, we do know that one of the first places we will stop is Anna's Taqueria.

Anna's has a few locations around the Boston area - one in Kendall Square in Cambridge which I never went to, one rather large location in Allston on Harvard Ave which I went to a few times, and a smaller one in Brookline on Beacon Street, and it is this one which we frequented the most and which is the closest to my heart. Our fondness for Anna's was a fondness shared by a large majority of Bostonians, and this Anna's was directly across from a C-line T stop, making it easy to hop off, grab a burrito, and hop back on to continue your commute home. This convenience also made it a somewhat scary place to be during rush hour, when the lines of customers were the longest and most East Coast-ish harried. You really had to be on the ball at Anna's because if it was your turn in line - this became confusing because there were often two lines and two different places where you could be called over to order and these lines could easily become mushed together - but if God forbid it was your turn and you didn't move forward right away or couldn't hear someone from another line calling you over and everyone behind you did, they would definitely tell you so. "GO," "Hey, it's your TURN," "Down THERE," with an impatient roll of their eyes, and you would immediately be shamed and embarrassed. And then if you weren't quite sure what you wanted to order, instead of shouting your order and moving down the line as fast as possible, you were in even more trouble. It is this kind of friendly good neighborly-ness you really don't get enough of on the West Coast.

Perfecting your order at Anna's was a well crafted art. Kind of like the way some people craft their perfect coffee order at Starbucks, but less annoying. All of my friends and I went through our first few burritos and quesadillas - 'quesadillas' at Anna's meaning basically a burrito but more smooshed down and fried - that tasted good, but not perfect, until we added or subtracted a few ingredients here and there until we had OUR perfect Anna's order, and we realized that heaven in our mouths had been achieved, and we proceeded to order that exact thing every single time we went, which was a lot. Even though I haven't eaten there in two years, I still remember Kathy, Steve, and Sam's perfected orders as well as my own, due to many "Oh, you're going to Anna's on your way over to the apartment? Want to pick me up some?" phone conversations.

There were a few people at the time who said, "Burritos? Oh man, wait until you try Chipotle!" (Chipotle, strangely, had not infiltrated Boston as of the time I left, I am not sure about now.) "It is soo much better than Anna's." Having tasted Chipotle now, which I definitely enjoy, I can also tell you that these people must have been certifiably out of their minds. There were also a category of college-age Bostonians who made it their mission to search out the areas best taquerias, and claimed there were others that were more indie, better, but I don't believe them either. There were also fools like Keegan who said Boca Grande was better. My loyalty will always stay with Anna's.

The employees at Anna's didn't speak much English and stayed in what are probably pretty sexist taqueria gender roles: the guys made the food, the pretty girls checked you out. (Cash only.) They all probably also worked 12 hour shifts, but there were a few guys who always seemed to be there whose faces I still remember, and who, everytime they called me up to the counter to order my black bean and rice quesadilla, smiled SO BIG, and just looked SO HAPPY, even though it must have been the 100th black bean and rice quesadilla they'd made that day, and every single time it broke my heart a little in a happy, American Dream-esque way.

The love we held for Anna's in our hearts grew to such ridiculous proportions that whenever I think about Boston and the things I miss about it, other than our friends of course, there are two things which immediately jump to mind: the T, and Anna's Taqueria.


  1. i want it in my mouth. also, i hated their salsa and it was what made my first like 10 burritos there just okay. took me forever to figure out it was just the salsa.

    p.s.- steve, i'll pick you up 5 cheese quesadillas on my way home.

  2. Steak quesadilla w/ salsa, guac, sour cream, and rice.

    I remember seeing some of the Brookline employees together on a T in Cambridge. I think Kathy was with me and we really wanted to get their autographs or something.

    The Brookline Anna's was especially heavenly in the wintertime because it was tropical in there with all the condensation that got on the windows.

    Chipotle is def not as good.

  3. Steak (sometimes grilled veggie... with the corn!) quesadilla with black beans, rice, sour cream, gaucamole, and light hot sauce.

    Sweet jesus I want one!

    You forgot there's also one at Porter and one at Davis. :) There's also a new taqueria right next to the NY Pizza on Tremont across from Emerson thats been there like 3 months. Not as good as Anna's but I seriously would have eaten there every day if it was when we were going to school there. Or when I worked at Shitty Place.

  4. i guess i will have to try this next time i am in boston because i am obsessed and in love with chipotle! =x

  5. oh god. i miss anna's so bad. the best part for me, was going to an exhuasting capoeira class then going to anna's and eating burritos (chicken burritos, no beans). it was heaven in my mouth.

  6. tahnie - i hope i didn't diss chipotle too bad! i definitely love it (especially their quacamole), and qdoba, too. (mmm qdoba's queso burritos!) i just hold anna's in a higher esteem. :)