Chef Sergio Penuelas is a wizard who has reached mythical status with us FTCers. His legendary pescado zarandeado and magical preparations of Sinaloan-style frutas del mar have long enchanted the palates of his customers at Mariscos Chente, Coni’Seafood, and now in his own backyard at 106 Seafood Underground.
Even the quintessential L.A. food writer Jonathan Gold himself (RIP) has long proclaimed Chef Sergio’s genius. What better way to celebrate eating, L.A. style, than to visit Chef Sergio in 'da house! Let’s go!!!
Every minute or so, there is another opportunity for planespotting here!
The Penuelas family has built a dedicated full backyard kitchen for Chef Sergio. His wife Maria recalls that before this setup was conceived, he would use the kitchen in their house to cook everything for those massive meals. She is very glad there is a separate kitchen in the backyard now.
The man himself, fully in charge and in his element…
An orgy of ceviches, aguachiles and damn fine house micheladas began our feast…
Ah! The showcase dish is presented! Pescado Zarandeado, from the one and only Chef Sergio Penuelas! Pacific róbalo (snook from Mazatlan, Sinaloa) is marinated with a traditional Nayarit combination of chipotle, mayo, lime and soy. The entire fish then grilled over mesquite. There is an ever-so-slight fragrant kick to the tender, moist and flaky flesh, with just the right amount of fat. This is served with a marvelous side of caramelized onions prepared in butter and shoyu, along with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Once we are done savoring the fish, the bones of the snook are also delectably crunchy, full of mesquite-infused flavor of the sea.
As if that weren’t enough, warm housemade corn tortillas are presented to enjoy the fish taquito-style. Throw in a Casa Penuelas michelada on the side, and the combination is just heaven… ¡Increíble!
Más, por favor - Another round of snook materializes… So awesome!
A showcase of shrimp, gigantic prawn (langostinos), and pulpo (octopus) ensued… If the news declares that farmed shrimp are now an endangered species, I will know that it was this FTC meetup which was the cause.
As if all that weren’t enough, marlin tacos appear, to the further delight our group…
Tequila shots (thanks @TheCookie!) to toast another super meetup with our intrepid FTC crew… Some of my fellow diners came from overseas to join us! Wow!
As a token of our appreciation, Chef Sergio and Maria both received a FTC t-shirt. A splendid gourmet afternoon of dining and drinking in the backyard at Casa Penuelas was enjoyed by all. Mad props to @attran99 and @TheCookie for planning and logistics. It was truly wonderful to meet many of my fellow FTCers! Let’s break bread again soon!
(Yes, this really is the best place to park…)
106 Seafood Underground
Somewhere beneath final approach for LAX