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Aug 2, 2004 02:56 PM

Gutierrez Drive-In, Salinas

  • m

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.

Gutierrez Drive-In
61 Sherwood Dr


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  1. Thanks for the update Melanie! Still dream about their scallop cocktail and shrimp cocktail. Must get by soon!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Christinet
      Melanie Wong

      Forgot to mention that my mom likes the mojarra frita (whole fried fish) here. We didn't order it this time because she didn't have a pair of chopsticks with her ... easier to separate the flesh from the bones that way. (g)

    2. 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.

      5 Replies
      1. re: TerriL
        Melanie Wong

        But does your husband use chopsticks to eat his fried fish? (vbg)

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I'm surprised he can be bothered to use a fork!

          Gutierrez is one of the few places in town that hasn't changed much -- remember Rosita's Armory? We still go occasionally for sentimental value, but the food is vastly different from the 'old days.'

          1. re: TerriL
            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.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Didn't the owners divorce, and didn't one open Revancha, near Gutierrez?

              Did you go to SHS? My sibs and I all graduated in the early/mid 80's.

              1. re: TerriL
                Melanie Wong

                Don't I seem like a Cowgal? I'm down in Salinas today, and, gasp, I'm wearing a purple t-shirt with gold lettering on it (from Sonoma's Pedroncelli winery).

      2. I have seriously hurt myself at the old G&R trying to eat the entire protion...somehow I don't expend as many calories as I used to.

        Great carnitas, shrimp cocktails, ceviche, diavola....

        I also like the Pollo Dorado on Alisal

        1 Reply
        1. re: Food Tyrant
          Melanie Wong

          My sister is very fond of the crispy tripas here.

          (It's so gratifying to finally get some response to my posts for Salinas.)

        2. 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.