Best of El Planeta 2011

Choosing a side in the ongoing Boca Grande vs. Anna's Taqueria vs. Chipotle vs. Qdoba burrito war is a great step toward figuring out your dinner plans, but not the best way to get exposed to Boston's Latino culture. Fortunately, El Planeta newspaper has a cheatsheet for the uninitiated, in the form of their Best of El Planeta 2011.  The full 97-item list, the product of the area's only "Best Of" poll focused on the Latino community, is available via, but here are some highlights:

Best Taquería in an Unusual Location | Villa México:  Gas station snacks are no longer limited to 7-11 taquitos of indeterminate vintage and equally mysterious contents.  You can fill up more than your car at Grampy's Gas Station in Beacon Hill; tucked away inside the unassuming shop is a small takeout counter serving some of Boston's best burritos and other authentic, homemade Mexican food.

Best Chocolate & Coffee Combination | Chocolafee:  Although it's hard to imagine anything ever qualifying as a "worst chocolate & coffee combination," all mocha morsels aren't created equal.  It's the 100 percent Colombian coffee used by this family-owned, East Boston business that kicks up the quality here--just like it will your pulse.

Best Summer Installation in Boston | The Big Hammock:  Architect Hansy Better Barraza may be the first person to understand what should be an obvious principle: the bigger the yard, the bigger the hammock.  For a hammock commensurate with the size of the 15-acre Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, that means using 4278 feet of rope to create the what was definitively the world's largest hammock and potentially the world's comfiest piece of public art.

Best Hispanic Soap Opera | La Reina del Sur, Telemundo:  The runners-up in this category include a show in which a wealthy dance student is frozen in a cryogenic capsule, and another that revolves around illegitimate pregnancies and mysterious diseases in the fashion industry.  But it's the saga of Teresa Mendoza's rise to infamy as a drug dealer that has kept viewers glued since the first episode, the most-watched in Telemundo history.

Best Local Psychic | Sra. Lupe:  You can keep Googling "dream interpretation websites" until you find one that looks more legitimate than a mid-90s Geocities homepage (which you won't), and you can harass your friends to analyze your fortune cookies every time you get takeout (which they won't). Or you can call a professional who guarantees results.

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