Cold food on a hot day hits the spot.

Cold food on a hot day hits the spot.

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Over the summer, I was lucky enough to eat some incredible meals, such as turkey burgers served with grilled corn salad and mixed greens tossed with a light dressing, as well as and grilled salmon paired with couscous salad and an eloté salad. One of my favorite dishes that a lot of people overlook is ceviche.

One time, while at my best friend’s house for dinner, his wife asked him what he’d like to eat. His reply caught me off guard: “How about something cold to counter the hot day?” thought that was a brilliant answer. Fast forward through time and several summers’ worth of meals later, I was talking with another friend about ceviche. The idea of a cold meal on a hot day came to mind, and this seemed like the ideal dish.

Ceviche is served a few different ways. The one I was thinking of has freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice that “cooks” the shrimp while marinating. If you’re familiar with the dish, you’ll also know it to have fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, diced red onion, chopped and seeded Roma tomato, sea salt or your choice of salt, and a spot of cracked black pepper. Seeing as I don’t use salt much when I cook, I chose to use Himalayan pink salt mainly for the health benefit. (Some people might gasp at my lack of salt, but a lot of foods already have enough salt to begin with. Sorry, I’m veering.)

Ceviche is served cold and can feed one, two, or however many people you want, depending upon how much is made, and it can be a perfect, refreshing appetizer if you’re only a little hungry. The portion I made was enough to last for three days; however, I was so hungry on the first night that I almost ate everything. Fresh food is the best.

I decided to explore the ceviche offerings at a few spots in my neighborhood, and here’s what I discovered:


El Adobe (Reno)

The first stop was my go-to for Mexican food in Northern Nevada, El Adobe on Arroyo Street in Midtown Reno. I’ve been a customer of El Adobe’s since it opened its doors 20 years ago, before this particular part of town adopted the Midtown moniker. I’ve had eaten several items from its menu but never thought to try ceviche.

When I went inside, the staff greeted me with a smile and asked if I wanted a menu. I told them no because I know exactly what I wanted. While I waited for my food, I fought the urge to eat the entire basket of hot chips with salsa before my meal arrived. Just minutes later, my server brought a bowl of goodness to the table.

El Adobe’s chips and salsa are the perfect accompaniment to its ceviche

Everything was incredibly fresh and crunchy. I’m not sure how much crunch you like with your meal, but to me, when everything has some snap to each bite, that indicates freshness. I tried my best to take my time so I didn’t wolf everything down, but it was tough. The only disappointing part about the meal was my stomach ran out of space, which I guess was a good thing seeing as I was comfortable after the meal was finished. I don’t like to overeat, but sometimes the discomfort is a reminder that I couldn’t get enough of what was offered.


Mexcal (Reno)

Next up, a newer spot in the neighborhood: Mexcal. The décor inside of the room offers a
modern feeling with an upscale bar. I told the server I’d been instructed to try the ceviche. It took a lot of will power not to plow through Mexcal’s ahi ceviche with chips. The fish was meaty, the veggies were outstanding, and the fanned avocado on top was a nice touch. I’ll get that as a shared appetizer the next time I’m there for a meal.

Mexal’s ceviche is made with ahi tuna


Beto’s (Reno)

My last stop is a staple for many in Northern Nevada: Beto’s. I noticed their menu had two options, shrimp ceviche and regular ceviche. I thought, why not an order of each? When they arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.

Beto’s in Reno serves two types of ceviche, shrimp and fish

The food was prepared in a way that one person could have the perfect snack without filling up. The standard fish ceviche was clearly fresh, bright, and served on a small, crispy tostada. The blend of sweet onion, fresh tomato, and ripe avocado paired well with the seafood mix. I could’ve had three servings.

The shrimp ceviche, while delicious, was prepared differently than I’d anticipated. The star of the dish, believe it or not, wasn’t the shrimp but the rings of sweet onion placed under the avocado slices.

I should have gone back inside and asked for a side of those so I could enjoy more with every bite. The onions didn’t have any bite whatsoever. They were sweet, crisp, and incredibly delicious. This is supposed to be a ceviche blog, but I can’t ignore the onions. I’ll most certainly head back there soon to get two orders of shrimp ceviche.

After eating at three different spots, I wanted to try my own hand at making what appears to be a rather easy dish to assemble at home. I turned to Google and typed in “ceviche recipe” and went with the one offered by The Kitchn ( Here it is:

2020 Chris Payne Ceviche at home

1 pound peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium avocado
Tortilla chips, for serving (optional)

I followed this recipe to a T and wound up enjoying a fair amount of what was made. If you’re in search of a fantastic local business where you can buy your seafood, may I suggest heading to Sierra Gold Seafood Market in Sparks? It has an impeccable selection of food items to choose from for your next meal. Thankfully, there’s still some ceviche left in the fridge, so after I hit the Send button for this article, I’m heading back into the kitchen to finish what I started.

This year was one of the fastest summers in history. It’s safe to say that ceviche is underestimated as a dish that many have been enjoying for years, a perfect dish for these hot end-of-summer days. Pair it with your favorite cold beverage. You can’t go wrong with cold food on a hot day. It hits the spot, every time.


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Discover new products, thriving traditions, or exciting food events, festivals, restaurants, and markets – all of the things that are helping to make us a true culinary destination.