The most popular taco truck in Salinas is probably Tacos El Grullense, parked on Kern during the day ( http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq... ). Starting out with this catering truck, the owner, Juan Medina, then opened a sit-down taqueria in the Alisal district.
A couple weeks ago, I gave it a try with my mom and dad. You order and pick-up at the counter. The menu is priced the same as the truck and offers several additional options.
Overhead menu -
El Grullense is part of the Steps to a Healthier Salinas health promotion program and displays
a photo gallery of its healthier dishes.
Photo menu of healthier dishes -
These are eligible for a 10% discount (download coupon here, http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1... ).
The delicious aguas frescas, $1.50, are housemade, prepared fresh and from scratch each day, meaning that the tamarind starts from pods, not powdered mix. They have less sugar than the norm. We tried the tamarindo, which had more intense flavor and pulpy bits, and the horchata.
Aguas frescas -
The spicy tostada de ceviche, $2.50, topped with avocado slices, was superlative. Flecked with shredded carrots and coarse ground black pepper, the pieces of fish have an initial firmness to the bite then sink into softness at the near-raw core. Even the corn tostadita has a special taste to it.
Tostada de ceviche -
My dad had the chile relleno plate. For $6.50, you get TWO, plus rice, beans, and salad, and hot tortillas. These are prepped to order. The egg omelet-like batter was very light and fluffy. The soft and mild roasted peppers were filled with oozy Monterey jack cheese. Freshly cooked ranchero sauce was a bit weak due to underripe tomatoes, but overall this was a terrific chile relleno and a bargain to boot.
Chile relleno plate -
The tomato rice deserves a special mention, as it was wet, near soupy actually. The toasted grains of rice were swollen with great flavor. Steeped with jalapeño, this had quite a kick and a delicious lift from lime juice.
We had ordered the plate with whole beans. When the counter lady realized she had served refritos topped with cheese instead, she gave us an extra order of the whole beans. A little undersalted, the firm beans were somewhat simple, flavored with a bit of onion.
Whole beans -
Mom had a pair of tacos, $1.25 each. These were very good, but didn’t quite have the pizzazz of the truck’s product. Same kind of tortillas, but not fried quite as much, or maybe I prefer to add my own condiments at the truck.
Carnitas taco and cabeza taco -
All in all, a very satisfactory lunch, and a good spot for an inexpensive sit-down meal with the parents.
Taqueria El Grullense
976 Acosta Plaza, Salinas, CA 93905