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The Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing, California

The Whole Enchilada is a hidden treasure right off of the Pacific Coast Highway in an obscure little town south of Santa Cruz named Moss Landing. Known for its landmark smoke stacks, Moss Landing is a small fishing town that is home to only a few restaurants, a farmer’s market, some antique shops, and some great surfing spots. The Whole Enchilada is more than just a restaurant; its owner also runs the farmer’s market, a small grocery/liquor store, the Snack Shaque (great for a post-surf breakfast of fresh-from-the-boat fish or big-as-your-face pancakes), and a bar attached to the restaurant.

The easiest way to describe The Whole Enchilada is fine Mexican dining. The kitchen uses traditional Mexican recipes and fresh, superb ingredients to prepare a mouth-watering feast. They incorporate the fresh fish brought in daily into these delicious Mexican treats creating unique dishes involving snapper, lobster, and other fresh daily catches. My personal favorite appetizer is the beef flautas. Their shredded beef is marinated and slow-cooked just right so that it is tender, juicy, and flavorful. The kind of flavor that has you debating ordering a second appetizer while you’re still waiting on your entrée. The menu offers every Mexican treat us American diners have come to love, cooked with an authenticity and attention to freshness that can’t be beat. Our table ordered a chimichanga, tacos, fish tacos (with the fresh fish of the day) and beef fajitas. Served with salsa and fresh guacamole, everything was satisfying and scrumptious. There was a silent table as everyone enjoyed their dishes, down to the very last bite of beans and rice.

The Whole Enchilada also offers a family-friendly environment. It is a great place for friends and family to sit back, relax, catch up, and enjoy the pleasant surroundings and food. The walls are colorful and neatly decorated with local art and there is an outdoor seating area to enjoy. No trip is complete without a visit from Ray, the owner. If you’re lucky, he will present you with a lottery ticket and shake your hand, making you his partner in the drawing. Last year, I was fortunate enough to win $10 off of the ticket he gave me! Needless to say he was pleasantly surprised when we returned to give him his $5 share. This year’s ticket was not a winner, but that just gives us one more reason (besides the amazing food) to come back next year!