Mariscos El Cholo: Clamming It Up On Sixth and Madero
|Hector, after a long day of shucking clams|
Dad's rule works far more often than it doesn't, and has led me to some of the best, most honest food I've eaten in my life. As I walked down Sixth Street away from the high-end bars and clubs and toward Tijuana's fish market one day, I saw two municipal policemen at a street stand called Mariscos El Cholo, with a huge banner doing double duty as an awning, hunched over plastic cups with dark red soup in them. I debated breaking my dad's rule, but Mexican police, for all their reputation, do not eat fat pasty tourists for lunch, so I asked them politely what they were eating.
Hector--who didn't give his last name--has been running Mariscos El Cholo for more than thirty years. He started in a building, now La Corriente Cevichería Nais, just buying fish from the market and making raw dishes with them, but then got priced out and set up shop in his current location. Sometimes there's a table--which seems to be made from a boat--and sometimes just a few stools on one side of the cart. There are always people coming and going, grabbing tostadas and saltines, paying their bills--cash only, like all street stands--and generally bloviating and running their mouths off. It's a jovial, low-key atmosphere, and the seafood cocktails are top notch.