For years I’ve been enjoying grocery shopping at the Northgate Gonzalez market near National City—the one off the 805 at 43rd St. But Northgate Market (I guess there’s been some rebranding) has been expanding and six months ago a new store landed in what has long been a food desert: Barrio Logan. Located on Cesar Chavez Parkway, just a few blocks away from the San Diego Public Market, the new Northgate Market reflects the same quality and product diversity I’ve seen in its other San Diego stores.
And that includes its fabulous variety of ceviches. I counted eight at the new store, at a counter that also sports salsas (both roja and verde), guacamole, pickled chiles, and more mundane items like macaroni and potato salads. Try them. The counterman I met was hugely generous to all the waiting customers, happily suggesting tastes and then filling up to overflowing the little tasting cups.
So, go for the beautiful produce, the tender rotisserie butterfly chicken, the aisle filled with bottled hot sauces and Tajin, the tortilleria, and the bakery (love the new whole grain bisquits). But don’t leave without a couple of containers of ceviche and house-made tortilla chips. (And, if you go on Fridays, there are special discounts on the ceviches.)
Here are the three the counterman said are not to be missed—and I agree.
Shrimp Ceviche (Ceviche de Camaron)
This is your basic shrimp ceviche. You can get mild or spicy. It’s made with shrimp, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and jalapeño peppers. $5.99 a pound
Spicy Shrimp Ceviche (Ceviche de Camaron Aquachile)
The ceviche de camaron aquachile is a variation, even of the spicy ceviche de camaron. They aren’t fooling around with the heat, thanks to the habanero chile. It also has red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. How hot is it? Well, my eyes watered a bit, but I loved it. It’s full-bodied heat that really deserves (requires?) an icy bottle of Tecate beer as an accompaniment. $6.99 a pound
Shrimp and Octopus Ceviche (Ceviche de Camaron y Pulpo)
Can’t decide on guacamole or ceviche? Try this ceviche, whose name make you think it’s just about the shrimp and octopus (both very tender), but is really about the voluptuous chunks of avocado. It’s a mouthful of different bursts of flavor, thanks also to the habanero, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic. $6.99 a pound