It’s Dry January, but all I want is a Hangover at Ceviche Stop
I accidentally didn’t drink for eight months. I’m a social drinker, and during the quarantine of 2020 there was no one to drink with and the cocktails stopped. It was, for the most part, a dry 2020.
If you’re making a go at Dry January 2023, good for you. The following dishes may be designed to crush a hangover, but they are satisfying in any state, drunk or sober.
The Hangover at Ceviche Stop
A few years ago, I tried five products that claim to cure a hangover. You can read all about my experiment here.
I also spoke with Dr. Maya S. Benitez, who at the time, was a family medicine physician with Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Culver City. “The best cure — and the only one I know for sure — is to generally avoid over-drinking altogether,” Benitez said.
For those looking for a different approach, Ceviche Stop chef and owner Walther Adrianzen has his own cure. It’s a ceviche dish at his Culver City restaurant aptly named the Hangover.
“Usually in Peru, when people drink, we have these cevicherias open 24/7,” he said. “Let’s say you’re drunk, you go get your ceviche and then you just keep going with the party.”
There are more options than ever for nonalcoholic beverages
Adrianzen’s Hangover is meant to evoke the spirit of those Peruvian cevicherias, inspired by a recipe of his chef father, who worked in Lima. It’s served as a tall glass of seafood on a plate, alongside small piles of Peruvian corn and cancha. It’s the sort of glass you see at ice cream parlors with grooves down the sides, only overflowing with chopped striped bass swimming in leche de tigre. On top is a heap of fried calamari and on the very top, a stack of fried yuyo, a seaweed Adrianzen sources from Peru.
You dump the glass onto the plate and watch the milky sauce cascade over the seafood, tucking into the crevices of the fried calamari and slackening the filaments of seaweed. That first bite startles the senses with acidity so bright you can’t help but widen your eyes. The name of the dish starts to click.
Salty and sour, vibrant and layered, Adrianzen’s leche de tigre is a galaxy of flavors, a potent mix of lime juice, celery, Aji Limo, onions, garlic and a fish stock made with striped bass. As soon as it hits the table, dig in. Those first three minutes are crucial, when the seafood is in the perfect raw state, the proteins are just starting to break down, and the calamari and yuyo are still crisp.
If you’re looking for a chile-stoked hangover cure, ask for your Hangover spicy. Adrianzen will add even more Aji Limo, a Peruvian chile will add compelling heat.
The Albondigas and Napolitana sandwiches from Tito’s Market
Tito’s Market sandwich shop in El Monte is a good place to end up in the morning after a long night out. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else when you’re eyeing a mountain of fried chicken wings and perfectly golden empanadas in the display case while you wait to order your sandwich.
I toggle between the Napolitana de Res and Albondigas sandwiches depending on my mood. And when the situation requires it (insert a stressful morning here), I’ll get both.
Grinder, hoagie, hero, sub, torpedo. The name differs based on where you’re eating it. In L.A., to most, it’s an Italian sub.
The meatballs in the Albondigas are the size of softballs. They are juicy, peppery and a little dense, more like circular balls of meatloaf than the smaller meatballs you expect in albondigas soup. They’re tucked into a soft white roll generously slathered with tomato sauce. A thick layer of melted cheese hugs the meatballs and bread, and spills out in enticing globs you can pull and stretch like mozzarella sticks. You can have the restaurant’s signature chiles on everything, and you should ask for extra on the Albondigas. The chopped chiles and carrots transform the tomato sauce into a fiery arrabbiata-adjacent condiment.
The Napolitana is two sandwiches in one, with a steak milanesa cutlet covered in slices of ham and melted cheese with warm tomato sauce. The milanesa is always perfectly fried, with the thinnest coating of crumbs. And you can count on cutlets that are far larger than the bread. I like to break off the extruding pieces and dunk them in an extra cup of tomato sauce.
The sandwiches are excessive. Gut bombs. The kind of sandwiches you need a nap after eating. On the days I order both and eat half of each, I question my judgment. But these are sandwiches that bring immense pleasure. I don’t normally do resolutions, but the attainment of immense pleasure sounds like a good goal for the new year.
It's a date
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