Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 18th
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Salsa Dancing

dining salsasAlthough it occupies the former building of a fast food icon, has a drive through window and a flashy sign, Salsa’s Taco Bar on Mt. Hermon Road is locally grown.

Earlier this year, the owners of Leo’s Taco Bar changed its name to Salsa’s, and later opened the Scotts Valley location.

A mannerly and hospitable young woman took my order at the counter. I proceeded to the salsa bar where I could peek into the spacious, well-organized kitchen. It was refreshing to see that each salsa was identified by name, ingredients and cooking method, enabling me to learn about condiments I had sampled over the years. The Michoacana salsa was an inky, thick, and fiery blend of fried dried chilies, garlic, and olive oil. The Salsa de Guacamole was a gentle purée of avocado, tomatillos, lime, and fresh jalapeños. I especially like the Salsa Pikin, a pinkish fusion of fried pikin chilies, (I suspect they are sold in markets as pequins), onion, garlic and tomatoes.

The selection of tacos range from crispy ones with choice of meat ($2.95) to a Salmon Taco ($4.95). The latter, on two flat six-inch soft corn tortillas which were spread lightly with refried beans, was not meant to be hand-held. Cabbage, tomatoes, carrot, cilantro and tomatillo salsa were piled high on plentiful and tender chunks of salmon. I found the pikin salsa to be a good match.

I also ordered the Enchilada Suiza Plate ($7.95) with choice of meat. A large flour tortilla was stuffed with moist, lean chili verde, was topped with melted cheese, a delicious green sauce, and tart sour cream. It was served with chewy seasoned rice, and soft refried beans.

There is a surprisingly long vegan menu with burritos, tacos, chimichangas and flautas. Both beef and chicken burgers are available, and the reasonably priced kids’ menu ($3.95) includes tacos, burritos and enchiladas with rice and beans. | KP

Salsa’s Taco Bar, 95 Mount Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley, 438-2567. Full bar coming soon. Open daily 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.

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