This Friday, and for the next couple of Fridays until Easter, many of the Mexicans in LA will be trying very hard not to eat any animals. Err, make that land animals, since it’s open season on the water loving critters! It’s supposed to be part of a yearly ritual involving some crazy vato named Jes√∫s, but I think it might also be gang related.
Whatever the case, you’ll notice many of the finer restaurants frequented by Mexicans will be prominently featuring seafood dishes on the menu, like the 1.29 fish sandwich at Jack in the Box. But if you happen to be at a real Mexican restaurant, (i.e., one frequented by Mexicans) you might want to ask if they have the wonderfully simple dish of “Tortas de Camaron” (Tohr-tahs deh Kah-mah-roen), a seasonal delicacy of fried ground shrimp and egg, covered in a spicy red chile sauce and tender nopalitos, yum! Something about that sharp beachy flavor of the ground shrimp mingling with the other earthy ingredients, makes me quite content in temporarily giving up my vegetarian diet. It’s rarely on the actual menu (if you’re lucky you might spot a mention on a hand drawn sign) as it doesn’t get much respect, it’s just something you expect to eat during lent, so you’re expected to ask for it.
It’s considered a poor persons dish so it doesn’t get much notice outside the places that make it, kinda like how mac and cheese used to be, but I bet some adventurous readers (and eaters) of this site might want to know about the seasonal tortitas de camaron. It’s easy to find this plate on the Eastside but I’m sure there must be places that supply it west of the LA River as well, just ask around. Don’t make me go out there to find ’em!
P.S. I wrote about this dish last year on my site and did some reviews, in case you want some suggestions from places to find it in LH.