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This Food Truck Gave out Five Hundred Plates of Tacos and Tostadas to Celebrate the Holidays

10:35 AM PST on December 24, 2018

    [dropcap size=big]H[/dropcap]undreds of people crowded the edges of a Commerce strip mall to eat free shrimp tacos and tostadas de ceviche, see un trío de músicos perform, and indulge in some magnificent Mexican seafood creations from Mariscos El Bigoton, a food truck parked on Whittier Boulevard.

    Taquero Edgar Sanchez told L.A. Taco he gave away 500 plates of his popular tacos and tostadas to celebrate the Christmas holiday. It was also a celebration of Bigoton’s five year anniversary Wednesday.

    “My father and I opened around Christmas five years ago," Sanchez recalled. "Things have changed a lot since then but we still want to honor the neighborhood with this block party."

    Hundreds of people showed up for Mariscos el Bigoton's Christmas block party in Commerce. The seafood truck gave away 500 plates of tacos and tostadas. All photos by Erick Galindo.

    In five years, Bigoton has become known for its L.A.-style takes on mariscos, and for its odes to traditional cuisines. It also went from one food truck to two, and a massive social media following.

    The line at the decked out truck ran all across the sidewalk along Whittier in both directions. One line was for the free plates of tacos and tostadas. The other line was to buy any additional items, like a pastelazo – a cake-shaped tower made of ceviche, shrimp, octopus, aguachile, scallops, and avocado slices as the frosting. The cake is served on a liquid bed of soy-infused consomé and surrounded by whole boiled shrimp. It’s basically a masterpiece on styrofoam.

    RELATED: This Taquero Drove His Taco Truck to an Evacuation Site to Feed People Displaced by the Camp Fire

    A true specialty, this pastelazo is Mariscos el Bigoton's signature dish.

    Seafood towers are relatively prevalent in Sinaloa marisco joints, but Sanchez says his style is more of a hybrid of Sinaloa, Nayarit, and East L.A., where he grew up learning the business from his father.

    Sanchez is young, quiet, and looked almost out of place in the crazy boisterous scene, underscored by the live corridos being played by Los De La Angelina, the trio of musicians he hired to entertain the crowd.

    Mariscos el Bigoton on Whittier Boulevard.

    A look at the rest of Bigoton’s menu gives a clear picture of why Sanchez hesitates to call his style specifically of any Mexican region. He’s got fries topped with spicy boiled shrimp, Doritos ceviche chips called Cevi-Doris, and Ramen Mariscos, a shrimp consomé served with ramen noodles.

    There are some very good classics too, like the aguachile tostadas that took at least one person at the block party back to his childhood.

    "I thought me and my dad made the best aguachiles, but these are pretty good – spicy too," said Manny Lopez, who had come up for the party from South Gate. Lopez told L.A. Taco that Bigoton's food reminded him of his father-son tradition in the best way. "I can't wait to call my dad in Los Mochis and tell him that I found a spot in L.A. that does it so good."

    Aguachile tostadas from Mariscos el Bigoton.

    But even with 500 free dishes crowding the Wells Fargo parking lot, and a very nice performance of El Muchacho Alegre going on, the pastelazo was the star of the holiday block party.

    And that's mainly because of the freshness of the aguachile, and the way the whole package comes together when you cut the cake with a tostada starting from aguacate, and down to scoop up the juguito from the plate. It’s hearty, like you’re biting into a steak made of ocean.

    RELATED: How This POC, Women-Led Group Is Taking a DIY Approach to Feeding South L.A.'s Homeless

    A look inside the pastelazo, a towering seafood cake made of several layers.

    The other great thing about the pastelazo is that it’s also a bit of a journey from layer to layer. There’s almost a sushi roll-quality near the top with the soy topped avocado, a very Guamuchil-style layer with the callos and aguachile, a shrimp and octopus cocktail in the middle, and a classic Nayarit-ish ceviche as the base. At least that was my journey.

    I should also note that it travels very well. I only ate half of the pastelazo and the rest drove home with me – still intact, massive, and bright enough that I could have easily taken the carpool lane if the 710 had one.

    Bigton has two trucks: one that sets up at 5458 Whittier Blvd along the Commerce and East Los border; and a Valley location at 13504 Osborne St in Arleta.

    RELATED: Video: Top Dawg Entertainment's 5th Annual Christmas Toy Drive Concert in Watts

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