Thursday, May 22, 2014

El Ceviche Loco (Bell)


I've been eating a lot of seafood lately.  And not because I'm on the latest diet-craze or anything like that.  It had been so hot that nobody wanted to do any bit of cooking over a hot stove.  Can you blame us?  Besides, there are few things more refreshing for a meal than fixing up tostada after tostada of ceviche with a cold one to wash it down with.

Not wanting to drive too far for a simple meal, especially during rush hour, we agreed to hit up a fairly local "Mariscos" restaurant.

I had wanted to check out the goods at El Ceviche Loco for some time now.  So, considering they were still in business after all these years, boded well for us.

The menu is straight-forward with all the dishes you've come to expect from restaurants around here.

Aside from the usual assortment of sodas and aguas, you can also order beer.  Now, whether their liquor license permits it or not, I was allowed to purchase beer to-go.  Happily, I grabbed a couple of Tecates at $1.50 a pop.  Score?  Coming from someone that spends more than they should on craft beer, yes slam dunk!

 Wanting to try out a few items to better gauge our future interest in this place, we ordered a fish + shrimp ceviche, a couple of fish tacos and a couple of shrimp tacos.  The ceviche was one of the simpler ones I've had lately.  There was no ginger in the marinade, no chipotle in a sauce, no peanuts, no strawberries, no mango,...etc.  Just a traditional well-made ceviche.  The ceviche, alone, is enough to return.  Not great, but really good.  It hit the spot.

 The tacos, on the other hand, were not the business.  First of all, the good;  the tacos were a pretty good size and the fish and shrimp portions were heavy as well.  Two or three of these might be enough to fill you up.  But along with the size, comes the price tag as well.  Although, these were some of the biggest fish and shrimp tacos I've had, they were also the priciest ($3.50).  I wouldn't have cared if the the tacos had been good, because again, they were filling, but the fact of the matter is, they were below average - to put it nicely.  For beginners, this was the first time I've had seafood tacos where the seafood was on a bed of rice.  I thought that was odd but I was open to it.  Ehh, it did nothing for the taco other than make it more filling I guess.  The glaring thing for me though, was their choice of seafood.  This wasn't freshly battered stuff.  It was reminiscent of cafeteria battered seafood or seafood you'd get off of a kids menu served with ketchup, of all things.  You know, the kind that comes out of a bag, already breaded and frozen?  Yeah, that stuff.  It turned me off.  Rice coupled with bagged pre-breaded seafood, topped with flavorless crema made for the worst fish and shrimp tacos I've had.  That being said, Leave the tacos, take the ceviche.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Game of Thrones' Fire And Blood Red Ale (Ommegang Brewery)


I am not a fan (nor would I like to be) of the Game of Thrones tv series.  That is not why I purchased this bottle.

I am, however, a fan of Ommegang Brewery out of Cooperstown, NY.

This was the 2nd time I had this beer.  The first, was a month ago at The Yard House.  Everything about the beer was the same but I found the draught version slight spicier than the bottled one.  Here, it was in the finish and very subtle.   

Otherwise, it was a fine red ale, heat or no heat, spice or no spice.  

Mariscos Jalisco (Los Angeles - Boyle Heights)


The truck, now with more items on the menu.

The Poseidon used to be an off-menu/in-the-know item you could order, but now it's there for all to order, whether you follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Prices have gone up about 50 cents from the very first day I went 5 years ago but the food is still inexpensive, the quality of seafood is good, the flavors are great and the value is tremendous.  Oh yeah, it's also filling so you're not gonna break the bank by coming here.

On my latest visit, I finally got to try the elusive Poseidon.  It's basically their Tostada Mixta (fish, shrimp, octopus, avocado) topped with a spicy/smokey chipotle aguachile.  It's got some serious heat going on so I doubt I'd get it again.  Still, the flavors were great as always and one of these monsters, is enough to build 2 or 3 more tostadas.  Buen provecho!


The Must (Los Angeles - Downtown)


The Must is back!

I was pretty excited for their return, but in the back of my mind, I was skeptical that my taste buds were still in tune to what I had liked about them years ago.

Their sangria had been tops for Lilly and I but we found it too sweet this time around.  Lilly ordered the white version this time and I opted for a beer.  Perhaps, she should have ordered the red sangria, which is thee sangria to get here.  I don't know that we will ever know, though, as the food did not meet expectations.  But more on that to come.  I enjoyed my 1/2 pint of beer.  I'm quite glad when I have the option to downsize drinks.  It just means I can try more of 'em! ;)

Initially, I had wanted to try Manzanita's Smoked Rye Chili Ale but they were out.  I settled for Scaldis Peche Mel.  A touch sweet but otherwise chock-full of peach flavor.  

We came by for a few drinks and plates of food and since Lilly offered to treat, I happily accepted whatever plates of food appeared before us.  The thing is, nothing really satisfied like it had done before at their old location. She ordered Hot & Sour Handcut Shoestring Fries w/red wine vinegar reduction, grey salt, parsley & chili.  There was nothing hot or sour about these things.  They were crisp but that was all they had going for them.  They were barely seasoned and most of these fries were half an inch long. Were these fries and omen of things to come?? 

Answer to come.

For now, before I forget, do not order or buy this Stiegl Grapefruit Radler.  It's just awful.  Luckily I didn't have to pay for this thing but I actually had a chance to sample it elsewhere at a tasting and man, let me tell you, it's sweet and fizzy as hell. No way would I consider this beer.  It's low in alcohol and reminiscent of an overly carbonated Pellegrino with added sugar.  Just plain nasty.  Moving on...

A decent dish we had was their mac n cheese with Goldfish crumb topping.  It needed more, however.  It came off to me as a kids menu dish. I could have used some ham, bacon, peas,...etc.  It was missing something else.  It got boring quick.

I contemplated getting another drink but I didn't like where this meal was going so I passed.

Our last hope was entrusted in their "Sea Monster."  It's a cornmeal muffin stuffed with saucy seared shrimp etouffee.  A staple dish in New Orleans, this dish was a total embarrassment.  Overcooked shrimp, meek flavored broth and a cornmeal muffin devoid of sweet corn flavor.  An absolute travesty.

Nice knowing you, Must.  I wish we never cross paths again.  Unfortunately, your memory is forever tarnished.

Our Finest Regards (Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project)


It's a barleywine (13.5%), better suited for the colder months.

But I've had this baby waiting...and waiting...and waiting...and waitingEnough!  It is never gonna get chilly this year to fully appreciate the warming properties of this classic winter-warmer.    

I couldn't resist.  I just had to try this already.  And I'm glad to say, it was worth the wait.  It is surprisingly easy-drinking - for a barleywine anyway.  I'd gladly buy this again should I come across this Massachusetts brew.  Highly recommended!  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rico’s Mar Azul Mariscos Truck (Highland Park)


$5 for 2 seafood tostadas!  And you can do even better depending on what tostadas you order. 

Being the frugal guy that I am, when this Mexican seafood truck outta Highland Park showed up on LA Magazine's Best Cheap Eats Edition, I  just had to go check it out.

I'm not sure what their days or hours of operation are, but on the Sunday afternoon that we drove up, we were lucky enough to find them.   They are parked right along side this park which makes an impromptu picnic a pretty good idea, if you ask me.

Now, about those cheap eats.  Every item is priced about 1 to 3 dollars cheaper than you'd find elsewhere.

 Their tostada mixta is the perfect size to eat without having to make more tostadas out of it.  Sure, you're not getting as much as you'd get from other places, but sometimes you're on a budget and sometimes you want to order a few things off of the menu.  The menu here, allows you to do just that.

The base for all of their tostadas are a curious blend of green cabbage and mayo?  It's basically a creamy slaw that works quite well, believe it or not.  The tostada de pulpo y mixta might not have been the best tostadas I've ever had but they were terrific value and had very good flavor to boot.  I'd gladly come here again and again.  With or without you, Lilly!