Summer guide to food trucks and pop-ups
Vegan/vegetarian Venezuelan arepas
Find: Breweries and events throughout the county
@areperia831, areparia831.com Caracas-born Vrinda Quintero's arepas are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free without sacrificing any of the flavors that this traditional Venezuelan dish is known for by using meaty jackfruit, black beans and fried plantains. Her business is woman-owned and -operated, and focuses on addressing social justice issues while building agency and community through food.
Dos Hermanos Pupuseria
Find: At events, farmers markets and on the UC Santa Cruz campus
@dos_hermanos_pupuseria Dos Hermanos' pupusas -- griddled masa cakes stuffed with beans, cheese and shredded meat from El Salvador -- are one of those comfort foods that always leave you satisfied. Cut through all that hearty, melty goodness with a side of crunchy and spicy fermented curtido or salsa roja.
El Rey Leon Mexican Food
Tacos, burritos and tortas
Find: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 12890 Highway 9, Ben Lomond
@elreyleon_mexicanfood El Rey Leon's menu of classic Mexican food includes regional classics like Baja fish tacos, quesabirria and pambazo tortas, as well as churro cheesecake. La Perrona Mexican Food
Find: Monday through Friday, noon-2 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m., Saturday, 4:30-9 p.m. at 251 E.
Lake Ave., Watsonville
@_laperrona All of La Perrona's tacos are served on homemade tortillas, which is reason enough to search out this taco truck in Watsonville, where burritos, tortas and quesadillas are served with love. Miches & Ceviches
Ceviche and seafood tacos
Find: Thursday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 1459 Freedom Blvd, in Watsonville, and special events
Miches & Ceviches prepares vibrant, flavorful Mexican seafood like white fish ceviche with mango and red, black or green aquachiles. Use its housemade Miche mix to liven up your dish or blend into a bloody mary or Clamato. My Mom's Mole
Mexican cuisine with homemade mole
Find: On weekends at breweries and wineries in Watsonville, and events
Cesario Ruiz loved cooking since he was a kid growing up outside of Guanajuato, Mexico. In Santa Cruz County, he perfected a dehydrated mole made with chilis, spices and chocolate that tastes just like the one his mom used to make. At his pop-ups, find his trademarked mole incorporated into modern versions of nachos, enmoladas and bowls.
? Pana Food Truck
Find: Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 2738 Mission St. in Santa Cruz, plus breweries and events
@pana_foodtruck, panafoodtruck.com In colloquial Spanish, a "pana" is a close friend, but Pana's arepas are so tasty, you won't want to share them even with your closest homies. Here, cornmeal arepas are made Venezuelan-style -- griddled on a flat top, cut open and stuffed with fillings like shredded beef and cheddar cheese or black beans, tomatoes and plantains for a satisfying meal.
Don't forget the garlic sauce! The Real Taco
Tacos, burritos and nachos
Find: Tuesday and Friday, noon-8:30 p.m. at Humble Sea Brewing (820 Swift St., Santa Cruz); Mon, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. at 1204 Mission St., Santa Cruz
@realtaco56 Real Taco serves up classic Mexican street food with flair, including crispy quesabirria tacos stuffed with avocado and shredded meat and creamy Baja-style fried fish tacos.
Keep an eye out for specials like pozole rojo, chicken tinga and stuffed green chilis. ? Tacos El Chuy
Tacos, burritos and nachos
Find: Saturday, 3-8 p.m. at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (402 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz)
@tacoselchuy Chuy serves up nachos, quesadillas and burritos, but his street tacos, in particular, are exceptional.
A fan favorite is the spit-roasted al pastor, served with warm slivers of juicy pineapple. Ramp up the flavor with fiery housemade condiments and salsas. Tacos El Jerry
Tacos, tortas and burritos
Find: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight at 35 E.
Lake Ave. in Watsonville; Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 2418 Freedom Blvd., Corralitos
@tacoseljerry Tacos El Jerry serves classic Mexican fare, including tortas, tacos and burritos. Fans love its griddled, cheesy quessabirra tacos and mulitas.
Find the brightly colored trucks in the Watsonville area at least five days a week. Taquizas Gabriel
Find: Tuesday through Sunday, noon-8 p.m. at 1995 41st Ave. in Santa Cruz, and events
@taquizasgabriel At Taquizas Gabriel, it's all about the quesabirria.
Corn tortillas slide through enchilada sauce before being griddled with cheese and shredded meat.
They're melty, crispy and juicy, and made even better topped with cilantro, onions and homemade salsa.
Find vegan Syrian tapas at Huda in downtown Santa Cruz three days a week.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)