Believe it or not, ed (from Yuma) finally has finished a post and Kirk and Cathy can finally take a day off.
Every fall, as the snowbirds, packers, and fieldworkers come back to Yuma, new mobile eateries – taco trucks if you prefer – open to serve the burgeoning population. This year, I was delighted to spot a new Mariscos truck, El Navegante, on the east side of Avenue B between 8th Street and 12th – just behind the location of Yuma's Best:
A meal there starts with complementary peel and eat shrimp:
The shrimp are served along side a container of spiced red onions and fresh sliced limes, both of which improve the flavor of the crustaceans:
The shrimp tacos have a bit more breading and a bit more crunch. The fish tacos are wonderfully fresh with moist real fish fillets. This fish has never seen a freezer and, after frying, hasn't sat under a heat lamp waiting for someone to order it.
The aguachile at El Navegante is close to perfect. When Roger Naylor, the travel writer for the Arizona Republic (and other publications) was in town, I made sure he and I and some other local eaters dropped in on Navegante around 6 one evening, and the whole lot of us were impressed by the chile and lime marinated raw shrimp plate:
We had ordered it moderately picante, so the hot chili flavors did not overwhelm the freshness of the pristine shrimp. Unlike other aguachiles I have had in the past, the lime juice complemented the seafood instead of souring it. Spice, tang, and shrimpiness were perfectly balanced. Crunchy tostadas, avocado wedges, and mild slices of cucumber went with the camarones perfectly.
The clear mild natural tasting broth was filled with pieces of fish, two or three small shrimp, and a little bit of octopus. At three dollars, it was certainly a good value. I found that the soup got even better when I added the chopped onion and cilantro, squeezed in some lime juice and shot some house salsa into the Styrofoam cup.
Muy rico. I had never had stingray with such rich and concentrated taste before. Not overly salty, the smoky, almost sweet flavors filled the mouth. Amazingly good.
El Navegante also does take out. For example, I once brought home a good fresh tasting campechana (mixed seafood cocktail with onions and cucumber in complex tomato water). While lacking the seafood variety of Juanita's campechana, The mariscos were excellent in flavor and half of it filled a small soup bowl:
From that same day, here is a fish taco, a shrimp taco, a chile relleno, lime wedges, and marinated onions, making a tasty and attractive plate:
El Navegante seems to open around 10 AM and closes around 6:30 or 7 PM. The mantaraya is only available on the weekends and the aguachile takes a little while to marinate. Prices are extremely reasonable, and the family that operates this little truck is friendly and helpful. English (as well as Spanish, of course) is spoken. A little dining gemstone in the southwest corner of Arizona. Navigate yourself here.
Mariscos El Navegante, 1019 S Ave B, Yuma AZ, 928-261-6481