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Jun 2, 2007 08:42 PM

Google map of Salinas Street Food

The Chowhound posts about Salinas street food ... many by Melanie Wong ... have made Salinas a destination for me next time I'm in that area.

Here's a map for others who I know are interested in these wonderful and delicious vendors.

Sadly these unique food vendors might soon be gone because Salinas wants to ban street vendors. It was my main reason for exiting the freeway and stopping in Salinas. I've already seen the Steinbeck Museum. and been to the rodeo. I haven't tried all the interesting street vendors in town.

Anyone trying new street vendors, link your topic to this post and I will add to the map. You can also let me know of additions by using the email address on my profile (My Chow) page. There's an email address on the map link, but I won't check that as often.

In the first reply of this topic there is a cheat sheet of all the information in the map as of this original post. It is subject to change and the best place to check is the Google map for the most current info.

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  1. Salinas Street Food

    There are 33 approved food trucks and 240 mobile vendors, which include ice cream push carts (paleteros), flower vendors and other street sellers ........ If you know of any great Salinas street food, send tips to

    LA PERLA 1
    715 East Market Street

    Overview: Very flavorful & fiery roasted tomatillo salsa. Cabeza is deliciously beefy and smooth. Good lengua cut into buttery chunks paired well with green salsa. Beef birria nicely spiced, but stringy

    Hits: cabeza, lengua, chicharrones,
    Misses: birria
    Hours: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Corner of Division Ave. & East Market Street, west of Sanborn Road

    Overview: Two small batch salsas de molcajete , the lighter-colored one more vegetable-like and savory and a smoky, redder, and more hotly spiced type, As demonstrated in the high quality of her artisanal salsas and the stewy red sauce, this talented woman is clearly a Maître Saucier or whatever the Mexican equivalent of that might be!

    Handmade-to-order tortillas are thick and chewy with real substance and deep corn flavor

    The gordita masa cake itself was dry-grilled, nicely charred. The fried pork crackling turned soft and spongy braised in a complex red chile sauce. Intense and flavorful, it was a bit damp and heavy, however still very enjoyable

    Grilled Mexican hot dog is nicely charred and wrapped with a slice of crisp bacon. Nestled in a soft toasted bun it is lightly topped with ketchup, mustard, mayo, onions & tomatoes. Self-serve thick avocado-tomatillo salsa & zanahoria en escabeche

    Hits: Mexican hot dog, gordita, salsas, tacos with home-made tortillas
    Misses: al pastor, adobada
    Hours: 1pm to 9pm (but often gone earlier
    )Phone/email: 831-757-3755
    More info:

    Truck Route: Unknown

    712 E Alisal St

    Overview: Seasonal fruit including fresh citrus, tomatoes, melons, mangoes, other tropical fruits, nopalitos, etc

    Hits: No reports yet
    Misses: No reports yet
    Hours: Unknown
    Phone/email: 831-422-9437
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    223 Williams Rd

    Overview: The cabeza taco is piled high with glorious meat, coarsely diced and meltingly tender with the deep beefy resonance of meat roasted and plucked from the head. It was steaming hot and juicy too, scooped from the steamer tray, and garnished with chopped cilantro and onions, limes, and radish slices

    Hits: cabeza taco
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: lunch & 7pm – 11 pm at Williams Rd
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added – lunch route in industrial zone

    Next to the Walgreens on 575 N. Sanborn Road and possibly 700-block of East Alisal Street

    Overview: Tamales (pork, chicken, cheese/chili), elotes, and champurrado

    Hits: Average pork tamal and champurrado
    Misses: More reports needed
    Hours: 4:30pm to 9:30pm.
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Just west of Maritza's on 549 East Market Street

    Overview: The beef birria was better than the carnitas which were bland.

    Hits: average beef birria
    Misses: carnitas
    Hours: Evenings
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    8 Williams Road

    Overview: This second truck serves breakfast foods and lunch items in Hollister (San Benito County) in the morning, then appears at this spot in Salinas at night

    Hits: lengua
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: evenings after 6 pm
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Next to J J's Auto Sales at 349 E Market St

    Overview: Hot Dogs, Champurrado, Elotes. The hot dogs on a grilled bun are accompanied with crispy bacon. A hot dog "con todos" is dressed with a squirt of mayonnaise, then piled with chopped fresh tomatoes and onions, two pieces of quartered jalapeño escabeche, relish, ketchup, mustard, and finally a squiggle of crema. These masterpieces are $2.50 each. The champurrado has a faint amount of chocolate and is very smooth and creamy with hardly any graininess

    Hits: Mexican hot dogs, champurrado
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: After 5 pm
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    E Market St & Ivy St

    Overview: Utterly delicious Mexican hot dog wrapped with a strip of bacon and grilled. A frank with everything includes mayo, mustard, pickle relish, chopped tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and black peppery onions braised in butter and mustard, pickled jalapeños, raw onions, a squirt of crema. Also available grated cotija, and cheezwhiz

    The large fresh pork tamale has smooth, thick masa with the rich flavor of lard. The pork filling was shredded and hot in its spicing with harmonious flavors. Piñas had chunks of canned pineapple and currants.

    Hits: champurrado, Mexican hot dog, tamales
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: Evenings after 4 pm
    Phone/email: 831-235-1435 or 831-751-7984
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Parked at the receiving office for Fresh Express on 900 E Blanco Rd

    Overview: The breakfast items, tacos and tortas are made fresh. The carne asada taco is made with chewy flank steak. The beef had a nice fragrance from reheating on the grill. Served on very thin and tender doubled corn tortillas with topping of finely shredded fresh cabbage. Self-serve condiments on a side bar included chopped cilantro and onion, salsa fresca,l tomatoes and a red and a green hot sauce

    Hits: carne asada taco, chorizo & egg breakfast burrito
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: Weekdays about 2pm – 4pm
    Phone/email: 831-759-8257 or 831-595-6578 cell
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Sun Street at East Market, next to the Cummunidad Cristiana de Salinas
    (West of Market Street exit from Hwy 101)

    Overview: Smoky, deep, lusty seasonings on the juicy pork al pastor with a bit of browned edges for contrast vs. the juicy, chewy dice of well-grilled flank steak azada . . . it's a toss up which was the better. These were topped with a very complex roasted red salsa along with fresh cilantro and onions.

    Tripas tacos - The pieces of tripas had crusty, crisp golden-flavored spots along the smooth muscle. Cut into longer lengths, the tubes of small intestines stayed tender and toothsome. Porky, earthy, and so good with the luminously vibrant roasted tomatillo salsa and very fresh dice of onion and cilantro. The doubled corn tortillas were very good quality too, heated with some oil on the flat top.

    Hits: tripas, al pastor, carne asada, cabeza, lengua, quesadilla de maiz
    Misses: None so far
    Hours: Unknown
    Phone/email: 831-794-2015
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    201 Williams Road at the corner of E. Market Street next to Quality Market and Video

    Overview: Beef birria taco - Very juicy and flavorful long-braised beef, nice tortillas with toppings of chopped cabbage, onion and cilantro, plus cucumbers and radishes on the side. Nopalitos (cactus), mashed avocados en molcajete, roasted jalapeños, and fruity chile de arbol salsa gratis from the condiment bar took it over the top.

    Hits: beef birria taco, nopalitos
    Misses none so far
    Hours: 5pm – after midnight
    Phone/email: 831-754-2310
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Across from the Aloha Motel on 235 Kern St south of East Market Street on motel row

    Overview: Operated by El Grullense restaurant. Self-serve salsas, carrots en escabeche, sliced radishes, lemon wedges, and soft braised onions. The other special thing here is the tortillas. The small tortillas had been grilled to bring out the fresh corn flavor. These have a bit of bubbly browning that gives them a roasted quality and a slight crispness.

    Carnitas--tender and juicy, drenched in an intensely-flavored broth, topped with a smoky, well-developed red sauce. The lengua was wonderful as well, full flavor, cooked just right, not mushy, again with a delicate napping of reduced pan juices. The grilled jalapeno garnish was lovely--

    Hits: carnitas, lengua
    Misses: al pastor
    Hours: 11am to 7pm, 7 days a week
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Abbott Pl & Johnson Ave (Across the intersection from East Romie Lane and Abbott Street)

    Overview: Owned by El Jaliscience Restaurant. Carnitas is highly recommended. Tacos come with a nice helping of jalapeño, carrots and red onions in escabeche and a lemon wedge. The garnishes of cilantro and onion were fresh as can be, but a few of the meats could be better.

    Hits: carnitas,
    Misses: tripas, cabeza
    Hours: Late morning & afternoon
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    631 E. Market Street in front of Cliff's Tire and Battery Service

    Overview: buche, barbacoa de cabeza, sesos, birria, and more.

    Hits: More reports needed
    Misses: carne asada, barbacoa de cabeza
    Hours: Unknown
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Parked in the lot of Joe’s Produce (201 E Alisal Street @ California Street).

    Overview: The menu displayed on the side of the truck only has a fraction of the types of meats available. Tacos are topped with a greater quantity of veggies (cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes, and onions) and a bit more meat than the norm and include a couple roasted jalapeños wrapped in foil as well as lime wedges. The best was the tender and succulent cabeza. The tomatillo salsa, flecked with charred black specks was excellent bursting with complex flavors and balanced heat. Tortas may be the item to try.

    Hits: cabeza
    Misses: carnitas, carne asada, lengua
    Hours: 7pm to 11pm, Monday through Friday
    Phone/email: Unknown
    More info:

    Truck Route: To be added

    Original posts

    La Perla 1
    Salinas Street Food

    Mayra's Catering Truck
    Mayra’s Mexican-style Hot Dog (Salinas
    Salsa de Molcajete and Gordita @ Mayra's Catering Truck, Salinas

    Anaya Produce Truck
    Anaya Produce Truck, Salinas

    Apatzingan Catering Truck
    Cabeza Taco @ Apatzingan Catering Truck (Salinas

    Catering 3 Marias
    Tamal and Champurrado from Catering 3 Marias, Salinas,

    El Kiosko Taco Truck #1
    El Kiosko taco truck in Salinas,

    El Kiosko Taco Truck #2
    El Kiosko taco truck in Salinas,

    Jaquez Fast Food Service
    Mexican-style Hot Dog al Jaquez (Salinas),

    Julio Valdez
    Mexican-style Hot Dog al Julio Valdez (Salinas),
    Tamales for Christmas: Julio Valdez (Salinas) and D'la Colmena (Watsonville),
    La Daisy Catering Truck
    Taco Break @ La Daisy Catering Truck, Salinas,

    Mister Taco
    Faster and Better (not quite Cheaper) at Mister Taco, Salinas

    Tacos Colima #1
    Birria and Nopalitos Taco @ Tacos Colima #1, Salinas,

    Tacos El Grullense
    Tacos El Grullense truck in Salinas

    Tacos El Jaliscience
    Tacos El Jaliscience truck in Salinas

    El Taco Rico
    El Taco Rico truck in Salinas

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      In Melanie Wong’s Salinas street food reports she has some stunning photos of the trucks, food and people who own those trucks.

      Those are now in a second map - Salinas Street Food Photo Tour. The pictures are all in one easy link. It is a good way to know what to expect when visiting these vendors

      If you click on this link, get some napkins first and be prepared to drool ... and maybe shed a tear that this piece of Americana might soon be gone.

    2. rwo: what a wonderfully organized post. thank you. I agree that these vendors are a community treasure and should be protected not harrassed. Their convenient locations near jobsites and busy streets and extended business hours make them a complimentary, not competing, business form to the storefront taquerias. I can't wait to try some of these other vendors.

      I don't have a new location, just a repeat trip to comment on. Stopped at El Grullense yesterday coming south through Salinas from Aptos. It was as heady an experience as my first visit two weeks ago. The tender juiceyness of the lengua and carnitas (the reduced pan juices really make the difference) and the fresh corny flavor of the grilled tortillas make these snacks stand head and shoulders above any I've tried.

      El Grullense's location is definitely EZ Off/ EZ On, and there is always plenty of street parking just a few paces away. As Melanie described, there is a small bench against the freeway fence for waiting, or for eating your order. At $1.50 per taco, most of the young working men customers can put away a well-made and satisfying dinner of 1/2 dozen or more; I usually see their paper plates with 6, 8 or 10 tacos fanned out around the plate edge ready for garnishing at the condiment bar. I've seen many families pull up and get large take-home orders. I order mine para llevar, so I can 'bib up' in my car and eat where it is a bit warmer. My to-go plate was garnished with radishes and a roasted pepper, and already sauced, then wrapped in foil. I think the tortillas might suffer if kept in foil for too long. These best eaten on the spot.

      El Grullense buzzes with business at most times, yet there is never a speck of litter, not even a bottlecap, anywhere to be seen. The proprietor is always charming and gracious. A model that surpasses many bric-and-mortar places I've been.

      I hope someone stops and reports on the marisicos truck parked at the south end of that block of Kern street.

      Thanks again for the post rwo; a great resource.

      1 Reply
      1. re: toodie jane

        Many thanks, rw, for creating these great guides!

        Ask and ye shall receive (sometimes). Here's my report on the El Compita mariscos truck on the corner of Kern and E. Alisal from one visit on April 12.

        Also, a reader sent me these links about the street vendors' successful suit against the City of Santa Ana in Orange County which overturned the city's attempt to limit their hours of operation, as it failed to prove they threatened public safety.

      2. Updating the street food thread with frozen treats,

        The Ice Cream Machine Truck (Salinas) and two stands where you can buy elotes (in season),

        Cup of Elote @ Catering 3 Maria – East Market St., Salinas
        Elote al Julio Valdez, Salinas

        At the January hearing, another consumer, "Jose Vara stated that the vendors provide fare that he may not be able to buy from a restaurant. Vendors are not an issue for the community, but for SUBA. The City can address unlicensed vendors. Many vendors only sell one item and would not benefit from an incubation program." I remember him using elotes as an example as something he could only buy from a street vendor. Wish I'd asked him who he patronizes.

        Edited to add: found my post on the original La Perla truck (which oddly is not enumerated as #1),

        2 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          How'd you add the little truck icons and burger/shake icons? I want to steal them for my Google Map of (obscure Eastern Jackson Heights, Queens) Street Food.

          1. re: Jim Leff

            In edit, click on the picture of the icon in the upper right and there will be a menu of available icons. Fair play. I stole the idea from your street map. Those Google maps are great.

            If you ever want to add pictures in the text (icons are limited to menu though) , know the editor is extremely, to say the least, sensitive to hidden editing controls. Melanie's photos were just so good though

        2. What an absolutely wonderful post. Thank you so much for all your hard work, both of you. Since I usually just read the SF Bay Area board, it took this NY Times article to make me look here.

          Quote from Melanie at the end.

          I'll be stopping at El Grullense on my next trip down to Cambria.

          1 Reply
          1. re: moosechop

            And if you should be passing through at a time when the truck's not in service, you can check out El Grullense's sit-down restaurant. Here's the thread,

            Taqueria El Grullense
            976 Acosta Plaza, Salinas, CA 93905

          2. To add reports not mentioned:

            Fresh Garbanzo Produce Truck in Salinas

            Taco de Carnitas @ La Perla truck, Salinas

            Carne Asada Taco – Beto Catering Truck, Salinas

            Saturday at the Old Town Salinas Market Place (and farmers market)

            Tacos Acambaro Wagon, Salinas

            La Paloma

            Mariscos Las Glorias

            Mariscos El Kora Truck, Salinas

            Guadalupe H. L. Ascencio Produce Truck, Salinas

            El Peregrino Taco Truck, Salinas

            Rogelio S. Coyt Produce Truck, Salinas

            Zamudio Produce Truck, Salinas

            Krystal’s Catering Truck, Salinas

            Catering Acambaro Truck, Salinas