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El Compita Truck – Mariscos al Estilo Sinaloa (Salinas)

Melanie Wong Jun 3, 2007 11:25 PM

A chowhound cannot live by tacos alone. El Compita’s truck specializes in mariscos al estilo Sinaloa. It’s parked during daylight hours on Kern St. at the corner of East Alisal Street, near Mission Linen (315 Kern Street). As this photo of the truck taken around 1 PM after the lunch rush shows, the surrounding area is clean and free of litter.

Image of El Compita truck -
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1101/5...

Image of El Compita menu -
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1082/5...

I stopped here in April to grab a quick bite, a tostada mixta ($3). I was happy to see the green El Yucateco habanero hot sauce, my favorite condiment for this type of mariscos. This was a good effort, if not distinguished. The blend had too much surimi (fake crab) and ketchup for my taste, making it too sweet but that was easily remedied with a squirt of lime. Also, the octopus was rubbery.

Image of tostada mixta –
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1116/5...

This truck is just down the block from the El Grullense taco truck. A good place to send fishatarians while you’re chowing down on Grullense’s carnitas.

El Compita truck
831-753-7915

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  1. rworange RE: Melanie Wong Jun 4, 2007 01:35 AM

    I've never tried a seafood truck before. Don't have one in Richmond as far as I know. Are there any other seafood trucks you know of in Salinas? Interesting the prices for coctels are less than in restaurants. I added this to my Google maps. Also updated the link for the Valdez truck to point to the latest link.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      Melanie Wong RE: rworange Jun 4, 2007 10:03 AM

      So far I've found two other mariscos trucks . . . my head is bursting, must brain-dump. I'd say El Compita is in the middle in quality of the three.

      Thanks much for the hard-work on the two Google maps. It makes the food of the street much easier to understand and locate.

      Google Maps of Salinas Street Food,
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/407568

      1. re: rworange
        Eat_Nopal RE: rworange Jun 4, 2007 11:40 AM

        If you are ever in L.A. there is a Mariscos truck in the Highland Park neighborhood that delivers $6 Mexico City style shrimp & octopus cocktails that are extraordinary. If you are ever down there... e-mail me, I will get you all the info you need.

        1. re: Eat_Nopal
          Melanie Wong RE: Eat_Nopal Jun 4, 2007 01:24 PM

          Will do. What does Mexico City-style mean in reference to cocteles? Also, what do you put on yours?

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            Eat_Nopal RE: Melanie Wong Jun 5, 2007 08:31 AM

            Mexico City usually has Tomato Juice, Olive Oil, White Wine, Lime Juice, Avocado, Chipotle Pepper paste, sliced Spring Onions & Salt

            Acapulco usually has Peeled, Chopped Tomatoes, Lime Juice, Olive Oil, Cilantro, Dried Mexican Oregano, Chopped Onions, Chopped Serranos, Avocado, Salt & Green Olives.

            Yucatan usually has Peeled, Chopped Tomatoes, Lime Juice, Sliced Habaneros, thinly sliced Red Onions, Salt & Black Pepper

            Veracruz usually has sliced spring onions & tops, lime juice, chopped jalapeno, finely chopped celery, cilantro, mustard, olive oil, white wine vinegar, soy sauce & fines herbs

            Jalisco usually has lime juice, ketchup, cilantro, avocado, chopped serranos & salt

            There are many other styles... but that should give you some ideas about the subtle variations.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal
              Ed Dibble RE: Eat_Nopal Jun 5, 2007 09:08 AM

              Last winter, I watched a guy make my campechana at a stand here in Yuma, and for the liquid, he put small amounts of canned tomato sauce, ketchup, lime juice, Clamato, bottled hot sauce, and finished it with two ladles of shrimp water - the water in which the shrimp had been boiled, as he explained. Much fishier flavored liquid than most other cocteles I've had.

              Also of note were the black clams that were one of the main ingredients (along with camarones, ostiones, pulpo, cebello, pepino). I've only found them at this one seasonal stand, and while the exterior of the clam is grayish, the interior is solid black. A wonderful sweet flavored clam. I was once told that it was a local clam from Los Mochis, but I have never seen it elsewhere. I have no idea if this a Sinaloan style coctele or just one unique to this stand.

              ed

              1. re: Ed Dibble
                Eat_Nopal RE: Ed Dibble Jun 5, 2007 01:24 PM

                Yup that sounds like Sinaloa style... they have some interesting cocktails & ceviches there including a raw shrimp ceviche called Agua Chile. Another classic Sinaloa sytel cocktail is the "Vuelve a la Vida" which has Ketchup as well as Worcestire sauce.

                Like I said there are many variations.... then you go to the Gulf states and start having all the non-tomato cocktails like the one from Veracruz or those based on Coconut Juice etc.,

                1. re: Eat_Nopal
                  Melanie Wong RE: Eat_Nopal Jun 5, 2007 05:13 PM

                  Thank you, I've found a truck that has "Vuelve a la Vida" on the menu and I didn't know if it was a cocktail or a slogan!

      2. Ed Dibble RE: Melanie Wong Jun 4, 2007 10:50 AM

        Just want to thank you for all the Salinas taco truck posts. They're incredible. Love the pics also. I like to think that Yuma has a vibrant taco truck scene, but your posts on Salinas still amaze me. It's hard to believe the number of the trucks there and some of those tacos look sooo good.

        Oddly enough, one other difference is the number of places that specialize in seafood. Fish or shrimp tacos are offered by most of the trucks here. Coceteles are also fairly common. I have even had mantaralla tacos and caguamanta (stingray soup). Considering that Yuma is stuck in the middle of a desert, one would not suspect such an emphasis on mariscos.

        Anyway, keep up the posts, and please do whatever you can to keep the trucks legal up there.

        ed

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ed Dibble
          Melanie Wong RE: Ed Dibble Jun 4, 2007 11:08 AM

          I've heard that some of the Salinas catering trucks work in Yuma during the winter. The city had its first big hearing on the matter on January 23 when these people were off for the season and didn't receive notice. It did bug me when Councilman Barrera went off on how the vendor food was unhealthy linking their food to the national problem of childhood obesity. Quite obvious that he'd not checked out the trucks lately to see the seafood offerings, how greaseless the meats can be, and the variety of veggies offered with them gratis. I'll also say that the field workers who gather around these trucks look far slimmer and indeed in need of more calories, compared to the customers at McDonald's nearby that no one has suggested should be shut down.

          I'm going to have to ask about mantaralla! And, please do shoot me an email when you're headed this way.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            rworange RE: Melanie Wong Jun 4, 2007 02:46 PM

            Do the seasonal trucks set up in town or do they just work the fields. My first taco truck was a field truck, bucause like an idiot I chased it down a farm road ... the delicious Chowhound reports got to me ... I saw a taco truck and I was going to catch it. That truck had just left the produce stand, so I just missed that stop.

            I can't help thinking how this is going to impact the brick and morter businesses as well. You mentioned one truck that bought some food from a local commisary. My taco truck had pan dulce so they were probably buying them from a local panedria. What about the bottles of soda sold. Those come from local businesses. If anything, those businesses supplying the trucks with meat, tortillas, produce, etc should be speaking up.

            PS: After finally figuring out that idiotic map editor, I cleaned up the Photo Tour map so that the text and picture size is standard. I also added links to your original pictures at the end so that if someone wants to look at the larger picture, they have the source. There was a way to do that by clicking on the picture, but just didn't have the patience to fool with it.

            1. re: rworange
              Melanie Wong RE: rworange Jun 8, 2007 08:55 AM

              To work in town requires a city permit in addition to a county health permit. The ones that go out to the fields and do not sell in town are not subject to the city's ordinances. One of the impacts of the proposed ordinance may be more competition for the business outside the city limits if this activity is banned in Salinas.

              I can't find my post on the taco truck, Nayarit, parked in Castroville. Don't know if that's the same one you found. Here's the local papers piece on it (not archived for long).
              http://www.thecalifornian.com/apps/pb...

        2. The Chowhound Team RE: Melanie Wong Jun 8, 2007 05:45 PM

          We've moved a non-food digression to the Not About Food board at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/409630

          1. Melanie Wong RE: Melanie Wong Sep 26, 2007 05:36 PM

            This afternoon went back to this truck for the third time. While I wasn't that impressed the first visit with the tostada mixta, the next go-round, I really liked the campechana. So today, I ordered the coctel de camarones ($6), figuring that the cocteles might be the strong suit here. And, yes, indeed, I liked this one too. Finessed tomato-cucumber-shrimp water, carefully chopped veggies, spark of lime, ripe avocado slices, soft barely opaque de-veined shrimp, and lots of cracked black pepper. Very nice, refreshing snack.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              v
              villadeste92 RE: Melanie Wong Aug 1, 2012 06:46 PM

              Time to update this post. El Compita has move to Smith St , right off East Alisal St. Hours are still the same. I love this place. The cervice de camarones is delicious. Have a single tostado or I get a large container (vaso) to go. This comes with tostada shells, limes, hot sauce and even some candy for $7.00. Take it home and have a feast. The oyster presentation looks amazing. Oysters, topped with cucumber and tomato and a large shrimp. Add your favorite hot sauce and you're in heaven. No seating, people are either standing around the truck eating or sitting on the curb eating. Limited parking on the street, but there is a large parking lot across from the truck.. Definately worth a visit anytime your in Salinas.

              1. re: villadeste92
                Melanie Wong RE: villadeste92 Aug 1, 2012 08:00 PM

                Thanks for the update. Yes, El Compita is one of the trucks that had to move after the changes in the Salinas ordinance. Good to hear that it's going strong, haven't stopped there for a couple years.

                I didn't know that it made ostiones preparada, the garnished oysters you describe, gotta get some! The ceviche de camarones en aguachile, the very spicy version, has been my favorite thing there.

                Edited to add: Worth mentioning that this is a day time truck. Catch it for lunch or through the afternoon.

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