Gutierrez Drive-In, Salinas
A couple weeks ago my mom and I stopped at Gutierrez for a quick lunch. We shared a carnitas taco, adovada taco, mariscos burrito, and a piña agua fresca. It's still excellent, fast and amazingly cheap - our tab was 7 bucks and more than we could eat.
The adovada (marinated pork) was especially good and a new one for me here. Really wakes up the mouth with complex, spicy, smoky flavors and juicy porki-ness with just the right amount of grease.
61 Sherwood Dr
Mom and I have been back a couple times in the last month. With so many other Mexican choices in town, we figured it had been at least three years since our last visit here. Coming back was like old home week and it was hard to choose from so many old favorites.
For the first one, a seafood taco, $2.50, for Mom and the burrito version, $4.50, for me. The seafood filling is a saute' of shrimp, octopus and fish in a tomatoe-y sauce with sweet softened onions and bell peppers. The taco's on a corn tortilla, and the burrito version's wrapped in a chewy, thin flour tortilla sans beans and rice. If you want other than the chosen filling inside a burrito, you need to request it. The burrito is about double the size of the taco. Here's the seafood taco after Mom had already eaten a couple of the shrimp.
And I treated myself to a chavela preparada, rimmed with cooked and peeled shrimp. This shows the chabela and the helpings from the self-serve salsa bar.
Next visit, the carnitas for Mom turned out to be too dry for her. Others might appreciate the dorado browned crust more.
No matter. The Specials plate, aka combo, with a choice of two items with rice, beans and salad for $8.50, was enormous, more than plenty to feed the two of us. The seafood enchilada was sauced with a chile-spiked tomato sauce and the chile relleno filled with melted oozing cheese was made with a smaller type chile pepper such as an Anaheim. Excellent creamy refritos, and seeing the yellow rice here reminded me that not all Mexican rice has tomatoes and yellow is just as likely in Salinas. Pretty good side salad with beets and green beans under a pink mayonnaise-y dressing.
Tortilla chips are gratis and by request. You do want to ask for them, as they're very thin and crackly. Mom likes the Jamaica (hibiscus) agua fresca here, and adds a squeeze of lemon from the salsa bar.
I noticed that Gutierrez has a special for Taco Tuesdays that we need to check out from 2 to 6pm. If anyone has, please tell us about it.
All in all, a happy homecoming. We won't wait this long before we're back again.
I've been going there since I was tiny. I live in the Bay Area now, but still stop in whenever I'm back in my home town. My husband gets the mojarra frita; I usually get the carnitas plate, with beans in the tortilla bowl. And of course a bag of tacos and burritos to take home with us.
re: Melanie Wong
Jesse, the son of Rosita's owners, was in my high school class. He was one of the few kids who got a car when he was 16 - a flashy Camaro, IIRC. I don't remember the details, but he passed away shortly after college and many say that his parents and the restaurant were never the same after that.