photo credit: Matt Gendal
Mariscos El Faro
Mariscos El Faro is a food truck in Highland Park that’s been parking in its current spot for over a decade: a quiet street next to a park flanked by a row of shady trees. Although many customers here do takeout, this family-run operation serves the kind of food that makes us want to slow things down, ponder the beauty of life, and maybe take a nap on the grass because we just ate a pound of shrimp for lunch.
The highlights at El Faro include fantastic Sinaloa-style ceviches, fresh oysters, and their signature aguachile doused in a secret red salsa made with chiltepin chiles. You’ll find this special salsa on a handful of their dishes, including a delicious tostada with big pieces of salt-cured sea bass sitting in a tangy, peppery, and Clamato-y (if that’s a word) marinade. Whatever this concoction is, it’s very good, and we’re big fans of it on the silky aguachile that you should scoop up with saltine crackers.
The rest of the menu is a unique mish-mash of raw and cooked seafood dishes: fried shrimp empanadas, briny oyster shooters, a creamy mackerel ceviche with green peas and a campechana coctel overflowing from a hollowed-out coconut (a.k.a. the mighty Mariscoco). And if you happen to eat here during a summer scorcher, one of their icy micheladas will bring you back to life even as you sweat through your shirt.
The food here tends to come out quickly, which makes it a good option for a short-on-time lunch, however if you're suddenly struck by an urge to turn your lunch break into a day of playing hooky and eating ceviche at the park, we say lean into it.
Callo De Lobina Tostada
The salt-cured sea bass in this tostada is our favorite bite from this truck: perfectly seasoned and tender like a scallop. Order this if you’re stuck on the tostada section of the menu.
The raw shrimp in this aguachile are buttery soft, and the peppery sauce backs the right amount of heat. Think of it like a deconstructed tomato-based coctel but slightly spicier. Don't waste a drop of that precious juice.
Ceviche De Sierra
This Spanish mackerel ceviche is basically a creamy white fish salad mixed with canned green peas and cilantro. It's slightly on the sweeter side and eats as much like a dip as it does a ceviche. A very unique and interesting dish, but not necessarily a must-order.
Empanadas De Camaron
These hand-shaped masa empanadas come out piping hot from the fryer, stuffed with a molten shrimp and cheese filling and served with a smoky “four chile” dipping sauce. We suggest waiting a few minutes before biting in them to avoid scalding the roof of your mouth (we learned the hard way).
This is what a michelada should be: super refreshing and neither intensely salty or spicy. The one here involves less Clamato and more ice cold “chela,” if you catch our drift.