Month: June 2015

Octavio & Shannon Olivas | Ceviche Project

Octavio & Shannon Olivas 1

On a warm evening at The Mondrian Hotel’s SkyBar, we joined Ceviche Project’s first summer tasting series. Led by Octavio and Shannon Olivas, the founders of CEVICHE PROJECT, a concept that they have been dreaming about and developing for several years. Octavio was born in Mexico City and his love for ceviche started when his dad used to take him fishing in Mexico and together they’d prepare a fresh and simple citrus-marinated-fish using the catch of the day.

We were lucky to join Ceviche Project’s first tasting series at The Mondrian Hotel, and we knew we were at the right place as guests were being welcomed with a neat shot of DeLeón Tequila and DJ Ganas vintage cumbia.

The tasting began with oysters on the half-shell with bespoke mignonette, paired with DeLeón Tequila Reposado, a highland Tequila with notes of vanilla, dried fruit, and a hint of spice on the finish. The hamachi crudo with mint, tomato-cucumber water and the most perfect brunoise of melon, fresno chile and jicama was generously finished with Calvisius caviar atop. It was as amazing and luxurious as you’re imagining it!

The big eye tuna & sea urchin ceviche tostada took us straight to México. Thick slices of tuna with creamy avocado, lime, heirloom tomato, pickled radish, toasted pepitas and the heat from the jalapeño paired perfectly with a play on a negroni/aperol cocktail with DeLeón Tequila.

The Tai snapper ceviche, with white ponzu, yuzu-kosho, togarashi, red onion, avocado, sesame seed and crispy spicy nori had us scraping our bowl as you do when you’re eating a bowl of ice cream, savoring the last drop of the ceviche’s juices. For desert, we enjoyed a creamy yuzu coconut sorbet with market strawberry basil jus and Sinaloan Chiltepín made by Octavio’s beautiful wife, Shannon Olivas.

It was a memorable night of our perfect trifecta: ceviches, tequila cocktails & cumbias.

Don’t miss Ceviche Project’s upcoming five pop-ups at the Mondrian Hotel’s Skybar, each tasting features new ceviches and cocktail pairings, and perhaps, you may or may not be spoon-fed caviar at the end of the dinner.


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María Lopez | Candela Taco Bar


LA’s Mid-City Mexican food scene has really come a long way in the last couple of years. But there still is really only one place to get your fill on things like tamarind-flavored frosty micheladas, ceviches de camarón or better yet, ultra-garlicky tacos gobernadores (cheese and shrimp scampi Baja tacos).

Located just south of La Brea and Wilshire, Candela Taco Bar is the brainchild of María Lopez, the daughter of the esteemed Lopez family that has owned and operated Leonardo’s Night Club for over 38 years. Located adjacent to Leonardo’s, Candela Taco Bar is the type of place that you take shelter in when trying to avoid that annoying traffic on the way to The Grove, you may have driven by it at least a dozen times, so make sure to stop and enjoy the wonderful brick wall-lined interior, complete with a romantic charm achieved by their low-hanging chandeliers (hint: for your next date night!).

Other dishes that we love are Salmon al Mojo de Ajo and the elusive Mexican dish of Enchiladas Suizas, that will taste unlike any other enchilada you’ve had with their crema Mexicana-boosted tart green salsa. Feeling like having a salad? order their jicama, pineapple salad, dressed with lime juice, mint and tajín. It will remind you why you love

Oh, and there is a velvety sweet potato flan and caramel-drizzled golden brown churros for dessert. ¡Provecho!


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Jesse Angel Gómez & José Acevedo | Maradentro

Bringing the bright, rich flavors of Mexican seafood to Studio City, Maradentro joins Jesse Gomez’s and Executive Chef/Partner Jose Acevedo’s other stellar Los Angeles restaurants—Mercado (in three locations) and Yxta Cocina Mexicana. Maradentro means “the sea inside.”

Owner Jesse Gomez and Chef Jose Acevedo

Jesse Gomez and Jose Acevedo have reinvented the wheel at Maradentro. And by wheel, we mean guacamole, since he went ahead and added crispy bits of Nueske’s bacon and chunks of plump lobster—the tortilla chips are freshly fried, flaky and served warm too. Salivating yet? Well, how about with a tart tamarindo mezcal cocktail?

It’s possible that Maradentro is perhaps LA’s most underestimated at the moment, with their innovative-yet-still-traditional takes on Mexican coastal cuisine. Which includes options like a cioppino-like, Siete Mares-stuffed chile relleno and Oysters “Rajafellar” with chile poblano strips and queso añejo. For dessert, enjoy their Tres Leches Budino, a fluffy sponge cake topped with Oaxacan chocolate custard.


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