Chowing in Firebaugh and Huron
(See the full version with photos here: http://cyrusfarivar.com/blog/?p=1462#...)
So on Wednesday, when I drove from Oakland to Santa Monica — a drive that I’ve made since I was a kid easily over 100 times — I decided to spice things up a little bit. I-5, as most people know, is California’s most boring section of highway, and it serves exactly one purpose: getting people from the north to the south and vice versa as fast as possible.
However, some research on Chowhound turned up the presence of a taco truck just a few miles due east of I-5. I was *so* there.
There I found what may be the loneliest taco truck in the state on the dusty corner of Nees Ave. and Russell St., just west of the town of Firebaugh, CA.
As I pulled up sometime around 2:30 pm, a Mi Rancho tortilla delivery truck driver was chatting away with the owner. I arrived and ordered an asada and pastor taco.
The asada was a bit dry and boring, but the pastor was decent — not a whole lot of zing to it. The “picante” salsa wasn’t all that “picante” and was a bit more on the sweet side than I would have liked. I’ve had better in Oakland, but it was a nice welcome change from the dearth of options along I-5. But when the most expensive thing on your menu is a $3 burrito, I really can’t complain. On my drive back tomorrow, I’m going to swing by and order the burrito — that is, assuming the truck is there on the weekends.
From Firebaugh, I headed due south to the town of Huron, CA.
Along the way I was greeted with dirt fields that seemingly had recently been freshly picked of their cotton.
I drove through town and the abandoned Ritz Theater caught my eye.
Fortunately, there was a taqueria next door:
La Esquinita Mi Pueblo Taqueria
36905 S Lassen Ave
Huron, CA 93234
Given that I’d just eaten two tacos (and a really disappointing chile verde burger previously in Huron and a worse horchata), I figured I’d try another taco — this time, chorizo. As I sat down to eat one man told me that the mustachioed man behind the counter makes the best tacos in town. It was pretty good, not to overpowering, but respectable.
On the way back to Salinas from Fresno yesterday, I thought I might check out the lonely little taco truck. Yet as I approached Firebaugh from the east and saw how little traffic or activity there was in town, it occurred to me that I might want to grab a snack in town and not bet on the vendor remaining at his outpost when things seemed so deserted. Later, it turned out that the taco truck was not to be found some time after 6pm
I saw Jimenez Fast Foods dead ahead, well, actually the truck trailer in the parking lot emblazoned with that name. Ok, that's one option here, but first i drove south and then farther north and through the main drag. I found Carnitas Jimenez, but that turned out to be just a market despite the signs painted on the windows and the lady inside directed me back to "treinta y tres" (Route 33) for the first place I saw.
Back at Jimenez Fast Foods (which actually says Carnitas Jimenez at the entrance), I ordered two tacos. Then the cashier discovered that she couldn't make change from a $5 bill. So, I ended up with just one carnitas taco, $1.17 + 0.09 tax = $1.26. I ordered it with everything, which turned out to be cilantro, onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, and some canned tasting hot sauce. The carnitas were golden and chopped to order, but quite bland. This might have been one of the few times in my life that i had to reach for the salt and pepper shakers to season a taco. Not inedible, but one was enough. On the positive side, these are larger than typical.
Carnitas taco -
I also noticed Taqueria Don Pepe's in town and wondered if it's related to the locations in Fresno and Salinas.
968 O St, Firebaugh, CA
Jimenez Fast Foods
1320 N St, Firebaugh, CA
Thanks for the pointer to LEMPT, cfarivar, every time we pass through this little agricultural mecca of the central valley we just know there are some muy autentica gems waiting to be discovered. By all means stop into Chris'/April Meats sometime, btw, where did you have the bad chile verde burger experience? Definitely will not waste exploratory time there.
Thanks for the report! It is nice to hear about people chowing in out of the way areas. Here is a link to some favorite spots in the Firebaugh/Huron area if you ever are in the area again. Chris' Meat Market has an outpost here in Fresno and I love their tacos! The original location is in Huron and I have never been!
and an article on the background of Chris' (if you are interested...