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Cannabis Professional by Day, Cevichero by Night: Meet Long Beach’s Newest Weekend-Only Ceviche Star

11:29 AM PDT on September 18, 2020

[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]hen turning your passion for eating ceviche into a side hustle, a pelican with a blunt in hand is perhaps the most ideal spirit animal to identify with. 

“They just swoop into the ocean and eat everything, you know?” Guillermo Guitron of El Pelicano Loco tells L.A. Taco half-jokingly as he stands outside his home in Long Beach. “Kinda like me.” It’s 99 degrees, and he’s holding two heavy containers packed to the brim with his “Ceviche Flight,” the kind of sampler plate that is alluring enough to make a seafood lover drive down the 710 to taste, even during a heatwave. 

Inside the container are four generous scoops filled with his four styles of chilled ceviches that are not strictly Sinaloan, Nayarit, Jalisco, or Baja in style, but straight-up Long Beach style. It is a mishmash personal interpretation of them all after a lifetime of eating mariscos up and down Mexico’s pacific coast. 

The scallop in his “Callejero” is sourced from one of L.A.’s most consistent black market suppliers of Callo de Hacha (scallop-like pen shell clam); his fish ceviche known as “El Resbaloso” has grated carrots; his shrimp “Verde es Vida”  ceviche is like an aguachile and ceviche hybrid. And the crab in his “El Mordelón” ceviche is lump crab meat—not surimi, or as he refers to it, “the bologna of the sea.”     

And the crab in his “El Mordelón” ceviche is lump crab meat—not surimi, or as he refers to it, “the bologna of the sea.”  

During the day, Guitron works doing operations for a cannabis company. After a lifetime of eating mariscos, the first-generation Mexican American born and raised in Long Beach has realized that the secret of excellent mariscos is a simple one: not cutting corners. This means using wild red snapper over tilapia, which is the farmed fish used by almost every other cevichero in L.A. due to its cost-effectiveness. This also means spending more money on real crab instead of surimi, and the same with fresh callo de hacha sourced directly from Mexico that is not cheap.

A ceviche sampler from El Pelicano Loco. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. Taco.

“Why settle for something less? Guitron tells L.A. Taco.  

Since for now, this ceviche hobby is more of a side hustle, and does not depend on it to feed his family. He can afford to not “squeeze every penny out of every dish that [he] sells.” He says that people have told him he is underpricing things. He says he uses his experience working in operations for big companies to make his ceviches as affordable as possible for the quality. To make sure his mariscos is always fresh, he has a strict cut off time on Thursday.   

El Pelicano Loco hot sauce. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco.

He’s only been in L.A.’s highly competitive ceviche game for two months, but he’s sold out every single weekend that he’s offered it. His Pelicano Loco secret salsa negra that he professionally bottles and sells along with his ceviches, takes his seafood creations to another level. It is rich, spicy, and tart; all the flavors that a seafood-aimed hot sauce should cover.    

For now, he is only offering his ceviches on weekends via DM only, but hopes to one day do a formal pop-up and eventually, wants to open a beachfront cevichería in Long Beach. 

“Just like in Mexico.” 

El Pelicano Loco is located in Long Beach and is available only on weekends. Place your order over DM on El Pelicano Loco on Instagram.   

Thanks for enjoying L.A. Taco's first-ever Ceviche Week, presented by Tecate! 

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