Restaurants & Bars 3

Taqueria El Moreno, Salinas

Melanie Wong | Jun 21, 200509:15 PM

Running errands this morning, my dad pointed at the car's clock and said, "Isn't it time for tacos?" 11:58am is as good a time for tacos as any, so I suggested we head to one of our favorites, La Fogata, in old town. But as we were rounding the corner, my mom noticed Taqueria El Moreno (on Gabilan, caddy corner from City Hall) and suggested that we give it a try.

We ordered and paid at the counter from the friendly and efficient staff. Wish I could say that the food was better, but it was pretty average. Dad had a chile verde burrito. I was surprised when a fat log-shaped thing with rice and beans came out, as the burritos here on the Central Coast don't usually have those fillers. the big chunks of pork were buttery tender but not that flavorful. Mom had a pair of tacos - carnitas and cabeza. She liked the carnitas, but had a couple of unchewable gristly pieces in the beef cheeks. The hot sauce was very spicy. I had chilaquiles, which are served all day here. Made with deep-fried corn tortillas, the same hot sauce was layered with cheese and was just overly hot without much complexity or the freshness of a housemade sauce. The side of refritos was good, but not distinctive. The plate had too much raw onion scattered on top and was finished off with a big scoop of sour cream.

The one bright spot was the horchata. Made with milk, it had an extra richness and a good dose of cinnamon. Yum.

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