The pineapple-topped spinning cone of pork caught my eye and olfactory sense two weeks ago the Saturday morning Old Town Marketplace in downtown Salinas. Taquitos Hernandez runs the taco stand at the farmers market.
The leisurely pace of orders here allowed the pork al pastor to develop some crusty bits in its rotation. For good measure, the slices of meat were crisped on the grill before folding into a taco or burrito.
Scanning the overhead menu, I decided to try a fish taco as well.
Salsas in the mise en place looked very good though it was odd that the person taking orders had no clue what they might be.
The fish taco was made with cubes of tilapia, griddled to order on the flat top. At first I was disappointed that a whole filet was not used, but changed my mind after tasting the final result. Each cube of fish was browned on all sides and stayed juicy in the middle by the chef's expert hand. Dressed with shredded cabbage and a drizzle of chile-spiked crema, the fish taco almost stole the show from the al pastor. The taco al pastor was a thing of beauty topped with the usual cilantro and chopped white onion, and given a double-saucing. First a dollop of roasted salsa roja, then highlighted with a brighter colored creamier textured unknown chile salsa on top of that, a great visual impact and delicious compliment to the lightly seasoned al pastor pork. What made this pair of tacos really special was the treatment of the tortillas. They're sweated on the plancha with the slightest bit of oil until they bubbled yet remained pliable to bring out all the roasted, toasty aroma and deep flavor notes of freshly ground corn masa.
Some excellent tacos here, highly recommended.
Old Town Marketplace
Main & Gabilan