Bruce's Blog

a handful of dimes and a jukebox

I’ve been meaning to try La Cevicheria for the longest time after reading Jonathan Gold’s review.  But there are so many place to try and only so many Thursdays.

But today, being a reasonably warm day in LA, was the day for ceviche.

La Cevicheria is owned by a simply delightful couple from Guatemala. While Guatemala isn’t as well know for ceviche as, say, Peru, these folks put their own stamp on it. It is knock-your-socks-off delicious. And since “some like it hot”, they offer a special habanero sauce that you might need to ask for. Be careful! This stuff really should require you to wear a radiation suit. But it tastes amazing and is a different kind of hotness than other chilies. At first it’s not hot at all, but rather sweet and refreshing. Then a few seconds later, you feel something interesting happening. 🙂

One of the specialties at La Cevicheria is a dish called Bloody Clams. I happened to get lucky.  The owner, who makes you feel like a long lost cousin, told me that they’ve been out of them for a few days and everyone has been so disappointed, but he just got them in this morning.  I didn’t even bother to read the menu.  “Take me to the bloody clams!” I screamed!   Well, not really screamed.  🙂   He suggested getting it with the optional shrimp and octopus, which sounded great  to me.  Also more expensive, but you only live once.

The neighborhood of La Cevicheria is a bit on the sketchy side, sadly.   While I was waiting, a couple came in and spoke at length with the owner in Spanish.  He explained to me after they left that they were government folks.  The owner had recently seen a fellow trying to reach inside the mailbox outside his restaurant to steal mail.  He ran out and started to yell at the guy who took off with what envelopes he could carry and ran to a waiting car.  He explained that people in the neighborhood don’t have computers and tend to pay bills and send money with money orders, so it is not uncommon for thieves to steal mail to get them.  Pretty sad.

La Cevicheria 1

But soon the ceviche arrived.  It is beautiful: huge and colorful, the sauce is very dark and pungent, but very pleasantly so.  Mixed with the fish is tomatoes, onions, avocado and mint. The clams, shrimp and octopus adorn the bowl, which ends up looking like a huge ice cream sundae.

They give you some salted crackers to eat it with.  The owner explained to me that in Guatemala they tend to use tortillas, fried or not, to eat the ceviche, but that they really love the saltiness of the crackers with it.

La Cevicheria 2

I have to say again how warm and welcoming the owners of La Cevicheria are.  It  really is like they have invited you into their home.  When I first came in, the owner was burning some incense and he began explaining to me about how he pays tribute to his Mayan roots, and during the time I was there, he would stop by and chat about food, Guatemalan culture, and the philosophy of life.

If you are a fan of ceviche, you really must try this place.   And remember,  just say “Yes!” to the habenero sauce,  but do treat it with the caution and respect that it deserves.

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