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Jugueria La Tropical: Oaxacan in Salinas

Melanie Wong | May 24, 200911:27 PM

Salinas has another Oaxacan kitchen. Opened last year, Jugueria La Tropical is located in the strip mall behind Chase Bank in the Alisal district. The window signs promise “100% Oaxaqueña”. A simple set-up, you order and pay at the counter, then the food is brought to your table.


As expected from the name, La Tropical offers a full line up of jugos (juices), licuados, agues frescas, and fruit cocteles. So far I've had a "vampiro" (beet, orange, celery), sandia (watermelon), and a chilacoyota agua fresca, all good.

Oaxacan-style tortas are another specialty here. I’ve tried the cecina torta, $4.50, plus a buck for the quesillo cheese. Pressed on a telera roll, garnished with mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado, grilled onion, pureed black beans, the semi-dried pork was delicious, especially with real quesillo.

The menu also features enchiladas made with green or red mole. On the weekends, menudo and tamales made with mole wrapped in banana leaves are available. A few Sundays ago, I had a chance to try the chicken in mole negro tamal.
Wrapped securely with aluminum foil as well, the tamal had quite a lot of masa on the outside of the banana leaf wrapper.

Once unwrapped completely, this was pretty hefty with a good amount of chicken filling and heavy masa slick with lardy flavor and moistness. The complex mole had medium chili heat, enough that I needed to order a cold drink. The bitter chocolate came through mostly in the finish, balanced by fruity notes and a touch of sweetness but not too much.

Jugueria La Tropical
822 E Alisal St, Salinas, CA

Jugeria La Tropical
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