Recently I've returned to the weekend ritual of menudo as the morning meal for its restorative powers and leisure time celebration in soup form. I'm starting this thread to collect recommendations for menudo in Salinas and record the ones I've tried.
Perhaps the one to beat is from Eva's Cafe. Even though this is one of my favorite places to eat in Salinas, this bowl eluded me for many years, as it is weekends only and sells out early. It had been recommended to me by a Latino hipster who said that he leaves the clubs Friday nights and then dozes in his parked car in front of the cafe in order to be the first in line when it opens at 6am. With that kind of devoted fandom, how could I not try it?
I managed to drag myself in on a Sunday morning before 9am and got the last seat at this tiny eatery's counter. I ordered menudo . . . and the waitress said it was sold out. Chef Angelica spotted me from the kitchen and motioned the waitress toward her. Soon she returned and said that there was enough for one pequeño, $7. Sold!
Eva's menudo is indeed wondrous. Much deeper tasting and darker beef stock that left the tell-tale stickiness of melted cartilage from the pata on the lips. The roasted chile tones infused into the larger chunks of tripe and hit me as a bit too salty. This menudo style was actually spicy with a moderate chile kick. With the pillowy tortillas hechas a mano, I can see why it has inspired such praise.
246 Williams Rd
Salinas, CA 93905