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.

Place: By the Bay BBQ

BBQ platter
By the Bay BBQ’s 2 Smoked Meat Platter with Ribs and Brisket.

Category: Southern barbecue

Website: https://bythebaybbq.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/by-the-bay-bbq-seaside-3?osq=bbq

Location: 775 A Trinity Ave,, Seaside, CA 93955

Date of visit: 2020 December 17

On Thursday December 17, 2020 I order takeout food By the Bay BBQ in Seaside, CA. This is a new restaurant located where the Fishwife was in Seaside on the corner of Fremont and Trinity. I am a little confused as to what is going on but it looks like there are now two restaurants in one place: By the Bay BBQ and Seaside Seafood & Market. The Seaside Seafood & Market has a message on their website as of this writing that says “In addition to our Seaside Seafood & Market, we our debuting out By the Bay BBQ menu for your Southern Food needs.” It appears to be the same business but with two separate online presences and completely different menus, however, I am not 100% sure what the true connection is. Anyway, the BBQ portion is new and I only found out about it because I was browsing Yelp! in search of a new place to try and it popped up.

Some of the menu items are named after famous Alabama barbecue places. If you are going to name one of your dishes “Dreamland” Pork Spare Rib Plate you obviously think very highly of your BBQ skills or are delusional (maybe both?). I lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama so I know Dreamland Bar-B-Que. When I was considering my order I thought to myself if they are even half as good as Dreamland they will do good here.

Another thing that stands out on the menu is that they seem to specialize in Alabama White BBQ sauce. I general I do not like white sauces of any type and I definitely do not like white BBQ sauce. It is an evil trick to get you to eat mayonnaise. Yuck! While they added a container of the sauce to my order I refused to partake in even a small sample so I can’t tell you how well they made it. If you like mayonnaise, however, you should give it a try because I hear mayo lovers say it’s good, especially with chicken. They did not put in any regular BBQ sauce so I will need to ask for that next time (assuming they have it).

Baked Beans
Molasses Baked Beans w/ Pork Belly from By the Bay BBQ.

I ordered the Choice of 2 Smoked Meat Platter. I chose the ribs and brisket for my meats and for my 2 sides I ordered the molasses baked beans w/ pork belly and  collards w/ smoked ham hock. They also threw in some of their “B+B’s” signature bread & butter pickles.

Let’s start with the three sides. There were all amazing. I. think I liked the collards a little more than the baked beans but both were delicious. The pickles were also extremely tasty. Definitely don’t just buy the meat if you go to By the Bay! I look forward to trying some of their other sides in the future.

Collard greens
Collards w/ Smoked Ham Hock from By the Bay BBQ

As I mentioned earlier if you are going to be Dreamland on your BBQ menu you better have top notch BBQ. I will say the flavor of both the brisket and the ribs were quite good but, as expected, they were not Dreamland tasty. While I enjoyed the flavor I felt that both the of meats I tried were not as tender as I’d like. I wonder if  maybe they had a huge rush on orders and I ended up getting something, while cooked through, was not cooked as long as it should’ve been to be fall off the bone or fall apart tender. I say this in part because some Yelp! reviews had high praise and one even mentioned “fall apart brisket” which is not how I’d describe what I ate. That said, they were still good and I should add that the ribs were very meaty. Based on the reviews I think I might have not got their best product as far as the meat tenderness goes so I will give them another chance (and regardless of the meat, I need more of those collards). I’ll update my review or put something in the comments after I go back. Next time I’ll probably try the pulled pork but I’d also like to give the ribs another chance.  

When I was placing the order I thought they were a bit overpriced. After tax my order came out to just over $30.00. Once I picked up my food, however, I changed my mind. The portions are very generous so you get what you pay for (at least on the Monterey/California curve where everything is expensive). So if you look at the menu and think the prices are too high, remember that they do not skimp on what they give you. My meal was probably enough for two people although I might order an extra side if I was ordering for two adults.

We are in COVID lockdown here in Monterey County so I got the food for takeout. As with my last post, I really can’t say much about the service but the person that gave me my order was friendly and the food was ready on time so no complaints. I’ll definitely try By the Bay BBQ again and I also plan on trying their other restaurant, Seaside Seafood & Market, in the future.