>> El Aguachileexpress LA | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 25 April 2022

El Aguachileexpress LA

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The view towards the open garage through a vacant lot

COVID-19 UPDATE: There is one table in an open garage for dining in. You can call ahead orders if you prefer takeout.

If you have ever walked up and down Atlantic Avenue in Compton exploring the dozens of trucks, sidewalk vendors, and other entrepreneurial endeavors between Compton and Alondra Blvds, you may have also noticed a few home-based operations that have popped up in the surrounding neighborhood. On weekends, a large hand-drawn sign proclaims "BARBACOA" just west of the line of food trucks on Rose Street. Tables and chairs at other homes have been set up without signage, but the gates are open if your curiosity (or nose) leads you that way and the smiling groups at these tables show a lot of promise.

Across the street from the very south end of East Rancho Dominguez Park, if you look through an empty dirt lot lined with graffiti, you may also notice on Saturdays and Sundays a raised garage door facing the alley with plenty going on in front of it. Cars are stopped and slowly navigating around each other in the slim alley, but behind them a small counter and one solitary table shows a business that has been operating since 2017 and made a name for itself with fresh aguachiles, ceviches, and micheladas all made estilo Sonora.

Micheleda with ceviche

Surrounded by maritime-themed decor that makes the small garage very pleasant to hang around, a plaque sits at the counter that was given to them by the Mexican consulate. This proclaims them as winners of the ceviche contest of 2021, a good hint as to what to order on your visits if you come for the first time.

They serve two ceviche styles each weekend, which they call "regular" and "tropical." Each is available heaped on a tostada for eating in house, as a big $75 tray for takeout, and on top of their very popular micheladas (above and below). Do not worry about bringing your own tallboys to the alley, as they have you covered with everything necessary. A cup is lined with their house chamoy (which is available on its own to purchase), the drink is mixed, and a smaller cup is overlaid with the ceviche of your choice on top of a bed of salsa flavored Tostitos.

Ceviche regular on top of michelada
Ceviche regular on top of michelada.

These micheladas are the reason to come to El Aguachileexpress LA for sure, despite a business name which may claim otherwise. There is just one table, but everyone that comes here is always in a real good mood and more than happy to share. The east-facing garage is getting shade just about the time the door goes up, and coming here is a good decision whether it is with or without la cruda.

If you want to try both ceviches, order a side plate of the ceviche tropical (below), more barely lime-kissed fresh shrimp this time covered with mango and a mango puree along with the dark savory "juices" that usually make a marinero.

Ceviche tropical

Whether it was the wrong time of season or not, unfortunately this very ripe mango was a tad too sweet compared to the tart and crisp mango bits that are usually added to ceviches. All in all it was not even close to being un-delicious though, and was of course completely devoured along with the generous stack of tostadas it came with.

While most people here are grabbing trays for takeout, the move as discussed is to pull up with a michelada and enjoy the scene. Music is on, faces are full of smiles as customers linger to chat and laugh with the proprietors, and ceviche is always the most amazing right after it is prepared. After a time or two more it might be time for that aguachile, which is warned to be very spicy.


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