More from Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants & Bars California Santa Cruz Locally Sourced Food Truck

The Truck Stop, Santa Cruz

Melanie Wong | | Apr 23, 2012 05:40 PM

In another thread, “toodie jane” asked, “…any dining favorites from your trip to SC last year?” Quite frankly, after striking out at some lower-priced, recommended places, we reverted to mostly cooking for ourselves at the vacation rental using local produce from the farmers market/stands and provisions from El Salchichero, Shoppers Corner and Stagnaro’s. But if you don’t have the time or space to cook, The Truck Stop pays good attention of product sourcing served up in a mobile format. The breakfast chilaquiles were the best thing I found to eat in Santa Cruz.

I was lucky to catch it on a day when it was away from its usual route and instead parked overlooking Steamer Lane for the Cold Water Classic surfing competition. A great day by the ocean.

I had really wanted to try the arepas I’d heard about. But none were offered this morning, so I ordered the chilaquiles. Here’s the breakfast menu (other examples on the website), it changes often.

While I waited, I noticed this thank you note to local farmers that supply the truck. Truly nice to see them acknowledged for their support.

And Truck Stop may be one of the few mobile vendors with its own portable herb garden. Here’s the grow-your-own cilantro.

While different from my preferred style, no denying that this plate of chilaquiles was quite excellent. Skip the orangeade though (too weak), instead spring for a brewed-to-order Four Barrel coffee.

The chilaquiles start with freshly made crispy corn chips (rather than pan-fried leftover tortillas) baptized judiciously with smoky ancho sauce. On first glance, the saucing looked skimpy to me compared to the customary drenching, but the ancho salsa was so flavorful, this amount was plenty and the chips stayed crunchy. Two cheeses (Monterey jack and queso fresco), a runny-yolked fried egg, squiggles of crema, and onion topped the pile of sauced chips. And what really made this sing was the dribble of cilantro pesto-like green sauce kicking in a fresh herbal note. The balance and detail of the preparation show a chef’s hand. So much goodness for only $6 (including tax).

I tried to return to the truck on our last day in the Cruz. But The Truck Stop tweeted that it had mechanical problems and would not be open that day. Since then, this truck has faced licensing and venue issues but continues to persevere. Keep your fingers crossed and send positive thoughts as this truck is a gem. I hope to catch up with The Truck Stop some day soon to try more of the menu.

Calendar and locations for The Truck Stop on its website. Currently during slow season (April 2012), the truck is operating only on Saturdays and Sundays.