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Arecibo Puerto Rican Food | Salinas and Marina

Melanie Wong | Jun 13, 201510:55 AM

A few Saturdays ago I had a chance to grab lunch from Arecibo Puerto Rican Food's stand at the Oldtown Marketplace farmers market in Salinas. The proprietress said that it makes occasional appearances here. More reliable places to find the Arecibo's cooking would be Thursdays 2pm-8pm at the VFW hall and commercial kitchen in Marina or Sundays at the farmers market in Marina.

She's hoping to save up enough capital to buy a food truck.

The menu was more extensive and ambitious than would be expected for a small operation. I ordered three small things to have more variety for my first time.

First up, bacalaitos (salt pollock fritters), $4, fried to order and as good as it gets. Wonderful mojo . . . intensely garlicky, bright with citrus, refreshingly tart, a kiss of spice . . . what's not to love?

Arroz con gandules, $4, featured soft rice stained reddish-orange with a tasty sofrito, green olives, capers and firmish pigeon peas. Nice job here too.

Guava empanadas, $4, were fried on the spot too. Hot and crunchy pastry, the cream cheese and guava filling's molten so be cautious.

This was a welcome opportunity to chow on a cuisine not seen often in California. And when available, not of this high quality. I'm sold on Arecibo and will try a larger plate next time.

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