Shrimp Tacos – Mariscos El Jato – East Los Angeles

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I spotted this East LA seafood restaurant on a Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago. The reason I noticed it was the large number of customers, but that was the very reason that kept me from trying it that day. They were just too busy. I was in the neighborhood today, and had much better luck.

The menu has photos of the food, and my mind was made up the moment I saw the 5 Tacos de Camarón con Ensalada. It turned out to be 5 huge tacos buried under slices of avocado and a sour cream cole slaw. The tacos were filled with grilled shrimp that seemed to be lightly breaded, and a dash of pico de gallo, fried until they were crispy. I rarely encounter a crunchy taco, but the robust combination of seafood flavor, textures and even the warm and cool temperatures delivered on the promise I had seen in the photo.

I spoke with the owner, El Jato himself, a friendly, outgoing native of San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, near Guadalajara. He told me that he created most of the dishes on the menu, and all of the plates I saw whizzing past me looked delicious. I saw beautiful tilapia fried whole, gigantic fish tacos, and big seafood-cocktailish looking dishes called chavelas.

So there are at least three more visits in my future, before I go for a repeat on the shrimp tacos.

Here’s the address: 2936 E. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Phone: (323) 264-6590

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La Huasteca – Lynwood, CA – Shrimp in Red Chile Salsa

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One of the highlights of the AltaMed East LA Meets Napa fundraiser in July was the shrimp in red salsa served by La Huasteca.

La Huasteca is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, as you can see from some of my earlier entries in this blog. They are super-friendly and make some of the best moles I’ve ever tasted, and now I have an idea of the magic they can do with seafood. It’s really worth the trip to Lynwood.

Here’s the website: http://www.lahuasteca.com/

Looking For Seafood in Mexico

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I took a long taxi ride to the beach in Tijuana to try a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain featured on his show. Guess what? Terraza Vallarta isn’t there any more. $22 in cab rides later, at least I had a nice conversation with the cab driver… It was one of the less expensive little white cabs, so I probably made his night.

On Saturday night in Hermosillo, I took another long cab ride – not as long this time – to a Sinaloa style seafood restaurant called El Charco. Before the taxi could leave, a lovely young woman raced out to tell me that they closed at 7:00 pm. I’ve come across this with other seafood places in Mexico.I ended up at La Cobacha, a huge place with an extensive menu. I had a mixture of shrimp, scallops and avocado in a sweetish red sauce called Manjar de Neptuno… Finally got my seafood fix.