Chilean Sandwich of Boston: The Chacarero

Forget Boston’s history, I crave its Chilean sandwiches.

Years ago I followed the Freedom Trail, a painted red line that shepherds Boston tourists along sidewalks to historic and yawn-worthy points of uninterest.

Thankfully, I was diverted by a savory scent, from the Freedom Trail’s red line to the Chacarero line.

I asked a local, who explained between bites: “It’s Latin and it’s wicked tasty.”

Next thing I knew, I was ditching Freedom for feed’ums.

When I got my sandwich, I inspected it—what the hell was this thing, anyway?

Moon-shaped bun, wafer-thin chicken slices, smashed avocado, muenster cheese, “green sauce,” tomato and green beans? Delectable.

Of that trip, Boston’s Chilean sandwich was the standout experience, seconded by some enlightening conversations with Harvard students:

Harvard Campus Bookstore Clerk: “I’m sorry Sir, we don’t have any books by Timothy Leary…”

Me: “Still holding a grudge, eh? Say, what’d you get on your SATs?”

Years later, I returned to Boston with Rachel. We were on the Freedom Trail (oh my god, did this thing get even lamer?) when it came time to jump ship for Chacarero, which had moved to an indiscreet storefront downtown.

The sandwich was good, but not like I remembered.

I kept returning to the counter for “more green sauce, please” to doctor it up, with the cook started charging me 50 cents per plastic thimbleful.

In some form of cruel Boston “green sauce” torture, his ungenerous pours kept shrinking as if to say “you’ve had enough, I’m cutting you off!”

He also kept trying to push “orange sauce” instead of the the “green sauce” I was asking for. While the green is made with jalapenos, the orange is a habanero hazard that could char you for life.

I finally relented and accepted his orange offering, which was so spicy, I had to slurp my spit to protect my mouth from igniting into a habaner-O face.

When we left, everyone there knew my name. Each employee asked, “You like’a eet hawt, eh?” while smiling at me with new-found respect.

They saw our maps. “Are you on the Freedom Trail?” they asked.

“No,” I said, “The Sandwich Trail.”

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