On our third stop, we ended up going to a place visited by many, including a group of my friends, that is located in the heart of Lynwood. El Viejon has a very relaxed, casual atmosphere, with a sea life-based mural on one wall, and ocean blue painted on others. There are a few TVs located throughout the restaurant to watch the latest games/matches that were taking place. Definitely fuels the summer attitude with the outdoor seating they have. I had been there once before after a night of drunkenness in Hermosa Beach with a group of friends and getting a Marine shitfaced, we all certainly had a TON of fun. When we were there, I had the consommé, which was very delicious, which is why I wanted to come back and try the rest of the food.
The place was almost full when we showed up and many more people came afterwards. We were lucky to get there when we did, since within minutes of ordering our first round of drinks, a group of musicians/mariachis came in playing a quick round of traditional Mexican music. Then, all of a sudden, we had vendors join in making their rounds trying to sell customers their merchandise. In this day and time in our economy, I couldn’t blame them for trying to get their hustle on. Not everyone is able to find work in legit job placements, and EVERYONE’S entitled to try and make a living however they can, legally, of course.
If there’s one thing people should know about restaurants is that patience is a virtue. I’m not innocent of this either in other situations, but when it comes to restaurants and your food; learn to wait a little bit. It certainly won’t kill you. There were a few people sitting down getting impatient that they didn’t notice the waitresses were swamped with an almost full house, with only two servers on duty taking everyone’s orders. Some people don’t appreciate the effort restaurant staff put into their work, busting their backs taking all the orders, running the food, and making sure all are taken care of. In other words, make sure you tip your waiter/waitress well, they deserve it!
There was quite a bit to choose from when we looked at our menu. Since they were out of a few selections including the Callo de Hacha and Botana de Caracol, which I wanted to try; this is what we ordered instead:
- Camarones Aguachiles- Raw shrimp, diced tomatoes, avocados, cucumber, and julienne red onions tossed in a fiery (or so it should be), tangy marinade to lightly cook the shrimp in the acids of the lime juice. Shrimp was very tender, barely cooked in the mixture with a sweet and slightly spicy feel to it that rolls down the back of your tongue. Balanced with the freshness of the cucumber, and buttery sweetness from the avocado. In my opinion, it could’ve been a bit spicier, but was still packing a lot of flavor. If you’ve never tried eating raw shrimp, or aguachiles, this is certainly a good way to start.
- Coctel Campechana- Shrimp, oysters, imitation crab, imitation abalone, octopus with chopped tomatoes, avocado, red onions, and cilantro in a light, spicy tomato based mixture. It was decent, was slightly bland/watery so we definitely had to add some salt and limes into it. I didn’t necessarily mind that at all as much as I did them using imitation crab/abalone. If I hate using imitation crab at home, why would I want to go to a restaurant and pay for it there? It’s like going to a restaurant and paying them to microwave me a frozen burrito or a hot pocket. I know it’s illegal to commercially sell/purchase actual abalone due to their over harvesting in the past, but I would’ve preferred that they would just leave anything that’s imitation off the menu.
- Coctel Mariscoco- Same as Campechana, but with chunks of coconut, and served in the shell of the coconut. Honestly, these two dishes tasted the same, as if they just took a bowl of the Campechana, tossed in some chunks of coconut and served it to us. Slightly better taste with it, though. The tomato mixture was served on the side from the main ingredients. Nice little presentation, but would’ve been better with the flavors being up to par as well.
- Botana de Camaron Y Puplo- Cooked shrimp and octopus, garnished with cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, and sliced red onions. Served with a similar marinade as the aguachiles, drizzled with a little bit of a Mexican hot sauce. Had pretty good flavors coming through from the delicate flavors of the avocado and shrimp, to the boldness of the heat coming from the sauce, to the freshness of the onions and cucumbers. Had good flavor profiles all around. The one thing I wish they would change is to use fresh seafood, not frozen. Especially with the octopus. Any kind of seafood is always best when using fresh. Once you freeze it and thaw it out, it takes on a different texture and flavor. Aside from that, it ranked second on the list of food we tried that day.
Also, my friend and I had been craving micheladas for weeks since the start of this endeavor. And now that we finally had a chance to get them, hell yeah we did… lol. Since the micheladas hit the spot to quench our thirsts after stressful days in our lives, we indulged the crap out of them! I believe, that since we liked the micheladas more than some of the food here, it kind of raised their level a tad bit in our opinions. However, you can’t fully judge what you’re really there for based on a few drinks that lower your standard after a few as you would at a club when you’re trying to get lucky and the fish aren’t biting, lol. I will have to come back to try the other items I didn’t get a chance to try this time. In the end our favorites were (in descending order): Aguachiles, Botana, Mariscoco, and Campechana.