Mariscos El Cristalazo
Since Tacolandia 2015 tickets just went on presale this week, I thought I’d put up a quick report on Mariscos El Christalazo in La Puente. They’re a participant at Tacolandia this year, and they’ve only been opened a little over a month!
At the end of January, I attended a preview event for El Cristalazo the week before their grand opening. Hosted by owners Rene and Ninive “Cristal” Vargas and organized by Bill “Street Gourmet LA” Esparza, I got to sample an assortment of regional items from Sinaloa, Mexico, as well as some hyper-local dishes from Escuinapa, a city in Sinaloa.
Since I’m a neophyte when it comes to authentic regional Mexican cooking, many of the dishes were totally new to me, but I found something very familiar and comforting about them. For example, the Chilitos Cri Cri, blonde chiles stuffed with cheese and shrimp and then wrapped in bacon and fried, really evoked the classic “Devils on Horseback” appetizer to me.
Likewise, the Tixtihuil, the pre-Hispanic mole made with shrimp and thickened with masa, reminded me of shrimp bisque! Of course, it’s not really like that at all; there’s no cream in the mole (as far as I know), and the shrimps are whole, shell-on, not blended into the base. I’m making the analogy because, unless you’re from that region of Mexico, you’ve likely never had anything quite like it.
El Cristalazo has many, many dishes on its menu that I’ve never heard of, though some are relatively straight forward. The Mojonera is a ceviche of shrimp and callo de hacha, pen shell clams. The Momia (mummy) is a whole shrimp, butterflied, stuffed with a cheese and hot dog, wrapped in bacon and fried–party food at its best!
The highlight of the night was the eponymous El Cristalazo, which is named after the giant martini glass filled with shrimp ceviche, aguachile shrimp, and large pieces of callo de hacha. Do not attempt to eat one by yourself, unless that’s all you plan on having!
Thanks again to Bill Esparza for the invite, and to Rene and Ninive Vargas for bring the regional and local dishes of Escuinapa, Sinaloa to Los Angeles!
Disclosure: As mentioned above, this was a hosted meal.
I don’t know yet what Mariscos El Cristalazo will be serving at Tacolandia, but I can’t wait to find out! If you want to try it, and many other amazing Mexican dishes for yourself, come to Tacolandia!
You need a promo code to a buy a ticket during the presale, and you can have your pick of any of the following: TACOBILL, TACOPIGS, TACODIET, TACOTREJO, TACOTWEET, TACOBLOG, TACOMAIL. They’ll all get you into the presale. Ticket sales now open to the public! $35 for unlimited samples from 80 vendors is a great deal!
(It appears VIP tickets are sold out already,
though maybe that’s just for the presale, and each of the past events did sell out way ahead of the event, so grab some General Admissions tickets while you can!)
The first two events were not without their problems (see my write-ups for 2013 and 2014), but I’m hoping they’ll be fixing those issues this year. I’m still very much looking forward to Tacolandia 2015 just 3 months away!
Mariscos El Cristalazo
1665 N. Hacienda Blvd.
La Puente, CA 91744