Hidden Aguachile at Tacos y Mariscos Sinaloa #2
Only after reading through the menu again and again will you find anything distinctive: camarones ahogados en chiltepín. But the name is a lie--a delicious, delicious lie.
Chiltepín, of course, is the tiny peppers as small as a pinky nail but with a heat that only habanero tops. It's native to the border region, even swings down to Sinaloa--but the above dish doesn't feature the pepper, despite what it's called.
Instead, the meal is a proper aguachile, the legendary seafood treasure of Sinaloa that's ceviche writ large: butterflied shrimp marinated in lime juice, tossed with raw onions and a furious salsa. Tacos y Mariscos Sinaloa #2 uses a serrano-based salsa and even leaves in chunks of the vicious chile, just to keep you honest. At $12, it's one of the cheaper aguachiles around, and the addition of orange slices creates a great Mexican dessert: sweet, chilled, spicy. The restaurant is just off the 5 freeway, and the aguachile is reason enough to ditch traffic for half an hour to refresh your soul.
But chiltepín this is not.
Tacos y Mariscos Sinaloa #2, 1620 E. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-6227.