Mariscos Jalisco:Not just another mariscos truck
I'd like to thank Abby,Lisa, and Cecilia for alerting me about some mariscos trucks located on Olympic between Evergreen and Dakota.They were on a Pleasure Palate Mexican food crawl weekend before last that I couldn't make.Upon hearing the news about a gathering of mariscos trucks and big crowds, I immediately thought more boring cocteles and uninspired ceviche, but the talk of the hungry mob intrigued me, so I had to stop by on my way out of town.It was slammed at all three trucks, one around the corner on Evergreen, another near the corner of Evergreen and Olympic, and one all the way down near Dakota.I couldn't eat that day, but stopped to do some recon, when I spotted two stands promoting their tacos de camaron.Hmmmm.Well, you know that feeling.Your chowsense just starts kickin' in.When I arrived at Mariscos Jalisco, I was surprized to see that they were in the style of San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalisco,Eat Nopal country.The northern part of Jalisco that borders Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas.Waiting all week with anticipation I returned this past Saturday afternoon.
Raul, the owner informed me that the recipe fro the taco dorado de camaron(deep fried shrimp taco) comes from the taquero he employs, also from San Juan de Los Lagos.The taquero had worked at one of the other trucks until they had his recipe and let him go,so the Mariscos Jalisco truck has the source.
The taco is filled with a mixture of shrimp and vegetables and then deep fried until the taco is golden and crisp, and the filling is dark at the outside.Inside, a glorious softness and combined with the slightly fermented salsa produces a flavor that has an almost Asian tang.These are amazing, and are now my favorite taco in LA.Other offerings included cocteles,ceviches,ostiones(oysters), aguachiles(raw shrimp cooked in lime) in a cup or on a tostada, and tostadas de pescado,camaron,mixtos(mixed seafood), and jaiba(crab). The crowd favorites are the tostadas mixtas, which looked beautiful, and tostadas in general along with the house specialty, tacos dorados de camaron.They have imitation abulon(abulone) as an option, the real thing would be too costly for them, so don't be surprized.Just say "sin abulon, por favor" on your mixta to avoid this.Treat yourself right, have a mixta or tostada de aguachile and 2-3 of those tacos de camaron, and for under $10 you have a regional Mexican seafood festival.The crowd is festive and substantial on the weekends which makes for a good time.
Raul is a pleasure to talk to and is very proud of his food and his family's heritage, as he should be with this serious contribution to the mariscos truck scene and the LA taco palate.
tacos dorados de camaron
Mariscos Jalisco, al estilo San Juan de Los Lagos
Olympic near Dakota
A shout out to my primos in The Highlands of Jalisco indeed. Seafood is surprisingly important, available & good in the Landlocked, dry Highlands. This is cattle country. This is wheat country. This is barley & alfalfa country. This is also a part of Mexico that venerates its seafood - particularly shrimp - as much as the area's Nahua ancestors venerated their freshwater shrimp, crawfish & langostines 500+ years ago. This part of the country is also well known among serious fishermen for its little visited dams teeming with Salmon & Trout.
During the rainy summer season when the public dams open their locks, the local streams & rivers overflow with bass, catfish, bluegills, crappie, carp and the less abundant trout & salmon... providing good eating for several months until the rivers dry into huge "puddles" (some 30 yards across & 30 feet deep)... that devolve into increasingly fetid cesspools until the next rainy season cleans them out again... in the meantime the eating is good.
Fishing is usually done with an Atarraya (weighted net)... that is cast into the streams at strategic points... then the fisherman (usually kids out splashing about) dive in to retreat them... or they are tethered by rope & pulled in (by the older men who don't have time to play). The first couple months they follow a "Catch & Release" program... keeping only the Trout & Salmon... which die off the soonest as the waters become murky. Then after that the focus on Bluegills before the hungry Bass eat them all... the final months are all about Bass, Catfish & Carp.
San Juan de los Lagos... above anything else - is known for its Pickling & its artisinal, painstaking Tostadas. The local Ceviche style is made with Pescado Molido (Ground Fish... with plenty of "scraps" like Cheeks included in addition to the "bulk" made up by the fillets)... often its ground with the onions.... then Finely Diced serranos & cilantro is added before marinading in lime juice... served on ultra thin, very flavorful tostadas (which are aged, then soaked in Lime-Sea Salt water, peeled, sun dried, fried in Lard).
Strong smelling specimens like Catfish & Salmon are pan fried then cooked in Escabeche similar to the Portugese Vin D'Alhos but a bit spicy and slightly different seasonings.
Salmon is also "braised" into a carnitas.
Bluegills put on a skewer & grilled over a mesquite fire... the charred, sweet, moist flesh sliced into tortillas with a nice Ancho-Guajillo-Arbol-Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.
Of course the pride of the region.... is the Caldo Miches.... spicy, deeply flavored, hearty stews made with Carp Head, Catfish steaks, Vegetables, Dried Chiles, Spices (including Cloves), Herbs (fresh Thyme, Mex Oregano, Marjoram etc.,) lots of Garlic, Wine or Vinegar... and Shrimp added at the last minute.
Pescado en Escabeche, Caldo Miche, Ceviche Molido, Pescado Ranchero... those are things I would ask about if I could hit that truck.
San Juan de los Lagos: http://www.panoramio.com/photos/origi...