Taco
A taco from El Grullense Jal 5 in Santa Nella.

Place: El Grullense Jal 5

Category: Road Food, Mexican, Tacos

Website: https://www.instagram.com/elgrullensejal5/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-grullense-jal-santa-nella-2

Location: 12185 S. Hwy 33, Santa Nella, Ca 95322 

Date of visit: 2021 April 10

When I finally got about an hour and half from home on my cross-country road trip, I was getting really hungry. Santa Nella Village (at least the part by I-5) is a bunch of truck stops, gas stations, fast food places, and a Pea Soup Andersen’s. I would have gone to Andersen’s as it is on my hit list, but I was getting tired and it was almost closing time for the restaurant. Instead of a fast-food chain, I decided to check out a taco truck. It seems every gas station in this oasis off of exit 407, if not connected to a fast-food place, has a taco truck in the parking lot. I mostly randomly choose this one but the Arco gas was the cheapest in the area so that was the deciding factor. I have since been to another taco truck off this exit so there will be a post for that one. Spoiler alert: both were delicious!  

taco truck
El Grullense Jal 5 taco truck at night in Santa Nella.

I noticed this truck has a #5 on it. I am not sure if that means there are more trucks by the same owners or if this is the fifth version of this owner’s truck. An internet search finds other places (both trucks and buildings) with the same name so I think there might be a relationship but what the relationship is, is unclear to me. Regardless, El Grullense Jal is definitely not a huge multi-national corporation so good enough to make it to Ed’s Eats!

I decide to purchase one taco and one burrito. Both were amazing. Like most of these taco trucks they offer various meats and the two I had, carne asada and al pastor, were both perfectly cooked and seasoned. The toppings and condiments that came with the food were also tasty and the prices were good.

Burrito
A burrito from El Grullense Jal 5 inn Santa Nella.

One thing I liked about this taco truck is that they had some picnic tables under a tent. Since I stopped by at night the tent wasn’t important this time but during the day Santa Nella can get hot. The last time I drove through there during the day it was about 105 degrees! A lot of taco trucks have no seating so this is definitely a plus and I will be stopping at El Grullense Jal 5 again! You should too if you want tasty Mexican food and you are in the area.

Place: Hunter’s Drive Thru 

Category: Road Food, American, Burgers 

Website: http://huntersdrivethru.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/hunters-drive-thru-ely

Location: 1455 Aultman St Ely, NV 89301

Date of visit: 2021 April 10

Cheesesteak and fries from Hunter's
Cheesesteak and fries from Hunter’s Drive Thru in Ely, Nevada.

Hunter’s Drive Thru is located in Ely, Nevada. When driving into Ely I wasn’t very hungry but since Highway 50 is “The Loneliest Road in America” so if you are starting to get hungry or are getting low on fuel, you better stop while you got the chance. Besides, I really do like old-school drive thru’s and driver in’s. 

Hunter’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was driving through mid-day so I ended up getting lunch. More specifically, I got a cheesesteak and fries. The cheesesteak exceeded expectations and the fries were really good as well. The cheesesteak wasn’t Philadelphia good but the roll, meat, cheese, and everything else was tasty. I went at a busy time so the service was not as quick as it otherwise would have been but I still received my meal within a reasonable amount of time. The service was also friendly so no complaints there.

Instead of eating the food in my car or at one of their tables, I drove down the road a s minute or two and ate in Courthouse Park in the center of town which turned out to be a good choice as it was nice and shady.  I recommend considering doing that, especially if Hunter’s is crowded and there are no tables available. 

If you find yourself in Ely, skip the fast food chains chains on the edge of town and head here or to one of the other local places in town. 

 

Interior of JW Snack's Gulf Coast Bar & Grill
Interior of JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill in Craig, Colorado.

Place: JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill

Category: Road Food, BBQ, Seafood, Southern

Website: n/a

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/jw-snacks-gulf-coast-bar-and-grill-craig

Location: 210 E Victory Way Craig, CO 81625

Date of visit: 2021 April 8

On April 8 I decided to spend the night in Craig, Colorado. After evaluating my options for dinner I ended up at JW Gulf Coast Snack Bar & Grill. I expected it to be more of a pub with food but it turned out to be more of a local casual food style restaurant (think TGI Fridays or Applebee’s but smaller and more unique with better food). That said, part of me wonders if the feel would’ve been different without COVID restrictions. 

Pork poppers
Delicious Pork Popper Appetizer

For an appetizer I got pork poppers. I am not sure I’ve seen these anyplace else. They were basically what I think most people would guess: deep fried battered pieces of pork. And as people that like pork and deep fried things would guess, they were amazing. If you ever find yourself in Craig and you eat pork, you must get them. You will not be disappointed!

The food genre at JW’s was predominately southern. I decided to go with the blackened catfish but it was a tough choice because a lot of the menu items looked good. I choose the catfish because I used to eat it often when I lived in Alabama but you really don’t see it in California much. The cook did a great job and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t as good as the best catfish I ate in Alabama but it could hold its own in the South and it really hit the spot. The sides I got were dirty rice and baked beans. The dirty rice was okay but nothing to write home about. The baked beans, however, were pretty good and I’d get them again.

Blackened Catfish
Blackened Catfish from JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill in Craig, Colorado.

As far as the service, it was great. The server had good timing and I was never looking for her nor did I ever feel she was

trying to rush me out the door. She and the other staff were also friendly. My only real complaint was the beer selection wasn’t very good. They only had a couple of beers on tap and they were your typical American swill. The bottle selection wasn’t great

either but I did end up getting a decent IPA. I guess the moral of the story is to go here for the food and not the beer.

Place: Scrumptious Fish & Chips @ Corralitos Brewing Company

Scrumptious Fish & Chips
Scrumptious Fish & Chips

Category: Seafood, English

Website: https://www.scrumptiousfc.com/

Yelp: https://ww.yelp.com/biz/scrumptious-fish-and-chips-food-trailer-santa-cruz

Location: Santa Cruz area (This visit at Corralitos Brewing Co. in Watsonville)

Brewery website: http://www.corralitosbrewingco.com/

Date of visit: 2021 March 27

I can some up this blog post in one sentence: If you live in the Santa Cruz area and like fish and chips you most go visit this food trailer! Keep reading for more details.

On Saturday, March 27, 2021 I went to Corralitos Brewing Company to get fish and chips from the Scrumptious Fish & Chips food trailer. I’ve been following Scrumptious on Facebook for a while and have been wanting to try their food. I’ve been to Corralitos Brewing one time previously before the pandemic and it is nice location with good beer. If it was closer I’d go more but because I’d have to drive home from their I? can really only have one or two beers (if they are not strong) so generally it is not worth the effort for me. My only suggestion for them would be to change  the “lit” in their name to just a “d” because Corrado’s is a better name J.

Chips and Mushy Peas
Chips with a side of Mushy Peas

The owners of Scrumptious Fish & Chips are from a village named Dedham in England and they know what they are doing when it comes to fish and chips. The fish, at least the day I had it was Alaskan Cod. The fish was cooked perfectly and the breading was amazing. The chips were cooked perfectly. While the piece of cod I received was huge, the food was so good I went back and got more chips and small container of mushy peas. The mushy peas were also excellent. They also have some other English food offerings including bangers and chicken tikka masala. I’d really like to try them but the fish and chips are so good I am not sure I well except as a side.

I am a huge fans of fish and chips and I think Scrumptious Fish & Chips were the best I ever had in the United States. There are a couple of pubs in Monterey that make delicious fish and chips but they are not as good as Scrumptious’s offering (I’ll still order it at the local pubs though!). As I stated in the opening of this post, if you are in the area and like fish and chips you need to try these. Scrumptious is scrumptious!

Photo of the Scrumptious Fish & Chips trailer
Scrumptious Fish & Chips food trailer

Place: Mundos Sandwich and Burger House (Downtown)

Category: Sandwiches

Website: http://mundossandwichhouse.com/webster-street/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/mundos-sandwich-and-burger-house-monterey

Location: 170 Webster Street, Monterey, CA 93904

Date of visit: 2021 March 21

It’s been a while since I posted but I have been keeping up with trying different food places—I’ve just been neglecting to post them. However, I plan to catch up on them soon.

The first one in my backlog is Mundos Sandwich and Burger House in downtown Monterey. I am not sure why I haven’t been here before but I have heard good things about it so it was definitely on my list to check out for Ed’s Eats. Unfortunately it appears I forgot to take any pictures of my visit so pardon the lack of photos of my food. My visit was on Sunday, March 21.

I decided to try the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. While it was delicious, I do not believe anyone in Philadelphia would recognize it as a Philly cheesesteak. The meat was similar but that is about it. The roll was nothing like a true Philly cheesesteak roll: it was a ciabatta roll. It was a good roll but not what I would prefer for my cheesesteak. The cheese, of course, was not wiz.

I think I made a mistake in going with the cheesesteak and should have tried something else. Like I said it was tasty but I was disappointed only because I was hoping for something different—that was my error as I should have not expected a real Philly cheesesteak. I have heard that their burgers and pork are excellent so next time I’ll try one of those two. As per normally during COVID, this was a to-go order so not a lot to say about service but they were friendly and my sandwich was made quickly.  

Pulled pork sandwich from Blazin’ Bayou BBQ Stand
A delicious pulled pork sandwich from Blazin’ Bayou BBQ stand at the Marina Farmers’ Market.

Place: Blazin’ Bayou BBQ

Category: Barbeque

Website: http://www.blazinbayoubbq.com/

Yelp: N/A

Location: Mobile (My visit was at the Marina Sunday Farmers’ Market, 215 Reservation Road, Marina, CA 93933)

Date of visit: 2021 March 7

On Sunday, March 7, 2021 I headed to the Marina Certified Farmers’ Market https://www.everyonesharvest.org/marina-certified-farmers-market/  that is held every Sunday from 10am to 2pm at 215 Reservation Road, Marina, CA. I didn’t go in search of a farmer or even produce (although I did pick up some vegetables) but I came in search of southern-style barbeque. The reason why I headed to the farmers’ market for barbeque was that Haley left a comment on a previous Ed’s Eats post that recommended it.

Before going on to the part about Blazin’ Bayou BBQ, a quick word on the Farmers’ Market. It was pretty small and there were only three actual farm stands. I assume they get a few more farmers in-season. The ones that were there though had a nice assortment of produce including some things you don’t find in a typical supermarket. ’I didn’t see any fresh meats for sale. There were a number of craft vendors and an assortment of food vendors including a taco truck, a sushi truck, kettle corn, and others food vendors. It probably isn’t worth the ride from a distance if you are just going there for vegetables but if you are in the area it is worth a quick stop.

Blazin’ Bayou BBQ specializes in southern-style BBQ. They had smoked pulled pork, smoked brisket,  smoked ribs, and Louisiana Hot Links on the menu. They also had a crawfish boil special (at least I think it was a boil, I didn’t the special on camera so I may be wrong but I know it was crawfish because I almost got that instead of my sandwich because I haven’t had crawfish since moving away from Alabama).

Blazin’ Bayou BBQ Stand
Blazin’ Bayou BBQ Stand at the Marina Farmer’s Market.

 

Although all of the menu items were tempting, I decided to go with the pulled pork sandwich which is probably what I get most of the time when it is available from a BBQ place. The brisket really looked good though! The pulled pork was delicious. I’d say it was in the top 10% of pulled pork sandwiches I’ve had and I’ve been to a bunch of BBQ places. It was definitely the best pulled pork I’ve had in California. It was tender and flavorful. Blazin’ Bayou BBQ put a large amount of meat on their sandwiches which is nice but the sandwiches are not inexpensive. I think it was either twelve or thirteen dollars for the sandwich. The amount of meat made it worth it, but as I said it is not a cheap sandwich. As far as service goes, the staff were friendly and made my sandwich right away so no complaints there.

Overall, I was quite pleased and I will definitely get food from them again. Besides the Sunday farmers’ market in Marina according to the website, as of this writing, Blazin’ Bayou BBQ also goes to Moss Landing near Power Plant Coffee on the weekends. However, as with all mobile food vendors, it is always good to check with them to be sure before driving there. Thanks for the recommendation Haley!

Place: La Papa Baked Potatoes & Roasted Corn food truck

Category: Food Truck

Website: https://www.facebook.com/La-Papa-Baked-Potatoes-Roasted-Corn-106680274139511/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-papa-baked-potatoes-and-roasted-corn-salinas

Location: Mobile, Sand City, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2021 March 3

 

Post No Bills
Post No Bills craft beer house at night.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021 I went to Post No Bills Craft Beer House in Sand City but this is not a review of the best beer bar in the area. If you haven’t been to Post No Bills and you like beer, you should check it out. They have a nice selection of beer on tap (including almost always a quality German beer) and a good bottle selection. They also usually have a cider on tap if you are gluten free. While they do not sell hard liquor, I believe they also have wine.

Before the pandemic Post No Bills would often, but not always, have a food truck parked out front because they don’t have a kitchen. You could also bring your own food. However, with the current restrictions requiring them to sell food if they want to be open for anything besides to-go, they need to have a food truck in order to serve beer for the patio. One thing that is nice is they have a variety of food trucks and not the same one every day. I don’t think any of them have been bad, but of course it always depends what kind of mood you are in which ones are better.

On this day, they had a new-to-them food truck: La Papa Baked Potatoes & Roasted Corn. I have never had food from this food truck elsewhere so I decided to give it a try: after all I am a big fan of baked potatoes. I should state for the record, this food truck was not an actual truck, but an oven on a trailer and a tent but I consider any mobile food option that is not a hot dog cart a food truck for purposes of Ed’s Eats.

Baked potato
A baked potato from La Papa Baked Potatoes & Roasted Corn.

I got the standard potato which comes with sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, spring onion, and pickled jalapenos. I got mine without sour cream for the simple reason that I do not like sour cream. The potato itself was perfectly done. I expected a really good potato because you can’t expect to make any money with a baked potato food truck if you can’t make a good baked potato. However it exceed expectations. It was almost creamy inside. I am not sure what their trick is but if you like baked potatoes you will enjoy it.

The toppings were tasty and they put a good amount of them on the potato. They also offer meat on top of the potatoes for an added price. I believe they had both asada (beef) and carnitas (pork). I think if you are hungry you should go with one of these. While I didn’t try either, they looked good and of course, would be more filling than the regular offering. I didn’t try the corn so I can’t comment on that but I heard the roasted corn was also very good.

Service was quick and friendly and I’d say the price was fair: maybe not a bargain but definitely reasonable for what they offered. I think next time I partake one of La Papa Baked Potatoes & Roasted Corn’s offerings I’ll try one with meat on it because as I mentioned above they looked really good. As I said above, definitely check them out if like baked potatoes.

Exterior of La Sala's Bi-Rite Market.
Exterior of La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market in Monterey, California.

Place: La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market

Category: Sandwich Shop

Website: https://www.lasalasbiritemarketca.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-salas-bi-rite-market-monterey

Location: 250 Casa Verde Way, Monterey, CA 93940

Date of visit: 2021 February 8

On Monday, February 8,2021 I went to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market for a sandwich. I’ve heard good things about La Sala’s since shortly after moving to Monterey a few years ago but I never went there basically because there are a number of other sandwich shops that are really good so I didn’t find a need to try another one. However, with the main goal of Ed’s Eats being to visit a different new-to-me restaurant or other prepared food place every week, it was time to finally get to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.

Pastrami on rye.
Pastrami on Rye from La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.

Did I like it? Well, let’s say I went back the following week for another sandwich, so yes! I don’t think it will replace any of the other sandwich shops I go to but it definitely found a place in the rotation. Other sandwich shops in the Monterey area that I enjoy include Randy’s. Mundo’s, Valnizza’s, and Jersey’s Original Subs. The first two are within walking distance so besides have great sandwiches, they are quite convenient for me.

On my first visit I purchased a pastrami on rye with mustard. It was delicious. Now it wasn’t Katz’s deli https://katzsdelicatessen.com/  or Shapiro’s https://shapiros.com/ good, but it was still delicious and I will be ordering it again. The rye bread they used was better than most rye bread I’ve had in California and the meat was really tasty

Tri-tip Sandwich
Tri-tip Sandwich from La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.

As I mentioned I went back the following week to try a tri-tip sandwich on a sesame role which I heard good things about. I enjoyed it but I definitely liked the pastrami better. Don’t get me wrong, the tri-tip was really good but I just liked the pastrami better. Also, I would say I’ve had better tri-tip at other places. In particular I

am thinking about various auto racing tracks that have a BBQ grill such as Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and Perris Auto Speedway in Perris. That said, if it is lunch time and I’m in the mode for a trip-tip sandwich I’ll head to La Sala’s Bi-Rite Market.

Taqueria Zarape's buildine
Photograph of the exterior of Taqueria Zarape.

Place: Taqueria Zarape

Category: Mexican

Website: http://taqueriazarape.com/

Yelp: https://yelp.to/T86mL63Fvdb

Location: 1107 Fremont Blvd. Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2021 January 31

On Sunday, January 31, 2021 I went to Taqueria Zarape for the first time. I really have no excuse for not getting to this place before because it has always been on my list since I moved to the area. The old time drive-up style building is very inviting. I think the main reason I haven’t been here before is I tend to acquire my tacos from food truck so had no need to go get a taco elsewhere.

While we are once again allowed to dine outside in Monterey and Taqueria Zarape had a few tables set up, I decided to get my food to go. I ordered a taco and enchilada combination platter for $9.99 before tax.. The combination platter came with beans and rice as well as some salsa and chips. I noticed that they have a salsa bar which was obviously closed due to the current circumstances. However, I’m intrigued.

Taco and enchilada combination platter
Taco and enchilada combination platter from Taqueria Zarape

Taqueria Zarape has a wide range of meat options. For the more adventurous readers choices include beef tripe, beef tongue, and pig stomach. I was not that adventurous and got a carne asada (beef steak) taco and a carnitas (shredded pork) enchilada. They also have a couple of chicken options, a couple of other pork options, and chorizo.

The taco was pretty big. The carne asada filling and the toppings were delicious. The enchilada was also a good size. The carnitas inside was cooked perfectly and the enchilada sauce was tasty. I really enjoyed both and don’t know which one I liked better. The chips, beans and rice filled out the meal nicely. They all tasted good and between all the food I was fill by the time.

As usual it is hard to judge customer service when getting take out but I definitely have no complaints. The staff was friendly and there was no delay in getting my food. Instead of ordering ahead, I ordered when I arrived. It did not take them very long before my food was ready—I was actually surprised it was ready so soon!

I definitely will be bag to try some of their other foods and different meat choices. I doubt I’ll be adventurous enough to try the pig stomach or the beef tripe but perhaps I’ll give the beef tongue a try. I also noticed they have some breakfast platter and breakfast burritos for reasonable prices. I really haven’t found many breakfast places I like in Monterey. There are some places that have great food but they are not all that cheap. Perhaps Taqueria Zarape’s breakfast offerings will fill that void for me.

Baked goods on a rack
An assortment of baked goods on racks at Lupita’s Bakery.

Place: Lupita’s Bakery

Category: Mexican, Bakery

Website: https://www.lupitasbaking.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/lupitas-bakery-seaside-2

Location: 1048 Broadway Ave., Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 November 22

I wanted to get some rolls so I decided to check out a new-to-me bakery. The choice was Lupita’s Bakery in Seaside, California. It is one of a number of Mexican bakeries in the vicinity and, like most of the others, besides having baked goods they also have “fast” Mexican food including tacos, tamales, burritos, and gorditas. They also have breakfast offerings for a reasonable price. I can’t speak for these any of these dishes as I only tried the baked goods.

Corn muffin and two rools
Two rolls and a corn muffin from Lupita’s.

I purchased two rolls and a corn muffin for a total of $1.70 which I felt was a good deal. The corn muffin was a little sweet for my taste but otherwise was very good. It was the size of a normal cupcake and not a huge muffin like you get elsewhere but priced accordingly. Get two if you’re hungry! I should note that I do not have much of a sweet tooth and tend to not like things as sweet as others so do not take the sweetness as a criticism but more as an observation. If you like your corn muffins sweet, I don’t think you will be disappointed  The texture was just about perfect and the muffin had a nice corn taste to it.

I think the rolls were slightly above average for the bakeries around here. I like a little more crunch in the crust and a bit more fluffiness inside. However, I’ve come to realize something as delicious as a New Jersey hard roll is not something I can get away from New Jersey (well, maybe I can in the Czech Republic or Germany, but I digress). Oh well, the search continues but as I said these weren’t bad and I’d get rolls from Lupita’s again.

Exterior view of Lupita's Bakery
Exterior view of Lupita’s Bakery.

The variety of breads and pastries are not as huge as some other places but they still have a good selection. Apparently they switch up the bakery offerings so you may not see all of the same choices every time you go.

Since I just picked out my baked goods and took them to the counter I can’t really say much about the customer service but the person that checked me out was friendly and quickly rung me up.

I would definitely go back to Lupita’s Bakery. Next time maybe I’ll go there for lunch or dinner and try some of their food offerings.