Essential T: Mariscos El Güero Dishes Quality Seafood from the Back of a Liquor Store

Pick up a case of beer along with some surprisingly fresh ceviche

The prospect of getting ceviche in the back of a liquor store ranks right up there with snagging a box of pre-made sushi from a supermarket—or getting a set of satin sheets at a gas station parking lot. Corona’s Del Lago liquors is not a place for single-malts, artisanal mezcal, or a nice selection of picpoul de Pinet, but rather a run-of-the-mill neighborhood liquor store that sells cold beer and doles out Western Union money transfer. They also proudly fly a banner that reads: ceviche bar.

Mariscos El Güero runs their seafood stand out back and has some connection—though the specifics seem murky—with the Ensenada street cart institution of the same name. They were given permission to use the name and logo and even have a few dishes that resemble the original Ensenada El Guëro like the botana mixta, a plate of mixed seafood that’s dressed with lime and diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions. There are solid aguachiles and molcajetes, but the thing to order here is the tostada El Güero, layered and topped with cooked and raw shrimp, octopus, and imitation abalone surrounded by a ring of fresh callo de hacha, or pen shell clam.

I expected to see tubs of over-marinated, rubbery shrimp ceviches at this liquor store  pop-up, but El Güero is the real deal. I don’t know that there’s a lot to do with Ensenada’s famous street food cart called El Güero (a place I’ve been going since around 2004),  but this is one of the best places in L.A. to have a delicious seafood tostada and also pick up a case of beer for the family barbecue.

Mariscos El Güero, 1276 Border Ave., Corona, (714) 983-2252