Restaurants & Bars

Tacos El Jaliscience truck in Salinas

Melanie Wong | Jan 21, 200707:08 PM     3

When my sweep of Salinas on Thursday turned out to be largely unfruitful, I backtracked to the Tacos El Jaliscience, across Abbott Street from the cemetery, that I'd noticed long ago but had never tried. This is the brightest and shiniest of the trucks I've tried in this run. Considering that it's parked on the street next to the Sundowner horse trailer dealer, I thought it was pretty cute (and smart) to have an image of a horse painted on the truck. El Jaliscience also set out two green patio chairs for dining al fresco. Even after 2pm, I had to wait my turn and it was the busiest of the taco trucks I've tried with a steady stream of customers.

Image of Tacos El Jaliscience truck -

The address on the cab of the truck, 505 E. Alisal Street, is the location of El Jaliscience, a brick and mortar restaurant. El Jaliscience has a second restaurant on Sanborn Road. This is the first of two examples I ran across of established restaurants using a mobile vending facility to establish a beach head in another part of town.

At this stop I had the chance to talk to some of the clientele, as this truck had a mix of brown- and paler-skinned customers, most who were communicating in English with the individual staffer. One recommended the carnitas for another visit, pointing out that the word "carnitas" would be taped to the menu board at the bottom of the list of carnes. "Man, when they have carnitas, I have to have it", he said. Another explained that the truck gets here late morning, does a brisk lunch business and is usually gone by the time he leaves work in the evening.

Image of menu (no carnitas today) -

When I asked how they felt about the proposed ordinance to ban mobile vendors, one shook his head and said, "We'd sure miss this. Our company gives us a lot of overtime if we want it. One of us walks over here to pick up orders for our team every day from this truck so we can make extra money working through the lunch break. A smaller truck lady pulls into our office each morning around 10 with coffee and pastries right when I need it. Otherwise we'd have to drive some where, and time is money."

El Jaliscience offers tripas tacos, marked as $1.75 on the menu, that is, 50¢ more than the other options. I tried one of those and a cabeza taco. These come with a nice helping of jalapeño, carrots and red onions in escabeche and a lemon wedge. The garnishes of cilantro and onion were fresh as can be, and I appreciated the sweeter red onion dice. However, both tacos suffered from very greasy and soggy tortillas, as well as substandard meats. Of approximately nine chunks of beef cheek, two were so tough to be inedible and three were entirely fat or gristle. The tripas were chopped about the size of a pencil eraser, and had a tough and rubbery texture to match. Yet for as good as the garnishes and salsas were here, I might try some other meats another time if I'm nearby to see if they do better with something else.

Image of tripas and cabeza tacos -

Tacos El Jaliscience truck
Abbott Place @ Johnson
(across the intersection from East Romie Lane and Abbott Street)

The public hearing on the proposed vendor ban is Tuesday, Jan. 23, 4pm in City Council Chambers at 200 Lincoln Avenue.

Salinas Street Food thread -

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

by Kristin Donnelly | The best way to cook a stress-free dinner is to think ahead, which is why we've created this comprehensive...

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie
Food and Cooking

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | When the usual pie lineup feels boring and uninspired for your dessert repertoire, you've got to make...

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package
Food Trends

An Ode to 5 Thanksgiving Foods That Are Better from the Package

by Kelsey Butler | Nostalgia is a factor not to be discounted when it comes to food, and these five holiday staples sometimes...

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

Better-Than-Homemade Goodies That Can Be Ordered Online

by David Klein | Mail order cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweet treats are better (and more prolific) than ever...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.