The need has led Diana and Karim to trust their seasoning and due to success, they now think of their first formal business.

Diana Reyna Velducea does not stop for a second of serving shrimp aguachiles and ceviches, the main dishes on the menu of her makeshift restaurant located in the courtyard of her house in the city of Compton, in Los Angeles County.

The phone does not stop ringing. Diana manages to take home delivery orders while preparing the aguachiles. Despite the strong wind, customers do not stop buying you, either to take away, or eat locally.

"The truth that we have accomplished a lot," Diana Reyna acknowledges without being distracted for a moment from her food preparation activities.

Aguachile is a typical dish of northwestern Mexico, made with fresh shrimp, lemon, chili, cucumbers and onion strips. Diana Reyna seasoned the aguachile with chiltepin chili, a popular consumption chili in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, and that grows in the desert and thorny thickets of northern Mexico.

Diana Reyna Velducea tells how the need for higher income leads them to open their Sonora-style seafood business. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Two years ago, she and her partner, Karim Reyes, immigrants from Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, the Mexican state that borders Arizona, decided to start their own seafood business. Diana emigrated eight years ago, and Karim, four years later. They knew each other from Sonora, and here they met again and formed a couple.

“We used to make a lot of aguachile in the house. It's something that Sonoran people like very much, ”Diana says.

But before selling food, they made a living as workers here in Los Angeles.

"We worked in factories, but you don't earn much there, and rents are increasingly expensive," he says.

Diana Reyna Velducea and Karim Reyes have found a better source of income in the sale of shellfish than in the factories where they worked. (photo provided)

First they started with the business of preparing fruit plates for parties, but two years ago when the cold was coming, they left it. "Fruit consumption falls in the winter," says Diana.

Instead, he says that people in Los Angeles like seafood a lot, and consume them year-round, cold or hot.

This was how on October 7, 2017, they were launched for sale of aguachile.

The main reason to cheer up was the search for higher income.

The need forced the couple of Diana Velducea and Kim Reyes to open the patio of their house for sale of seafood. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

Karim points out that they started with home delivery deliveries, but as people continually asked them if they could eat there, they made a few tables that they placed in their small patio, adapted it, made a canvas roof to dampen the rays of the sun, or protect against possible rain, and began selling.

“In March of this year, we open to the public to eat here on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, but we take orders all week,” says Diana.

"Usually we are always very busy," he says. And they have so much work, that they already have two people who help them with the delivery of orders and to chop vegetables.

“People have responded very well. We send orders to the San Fernando Valley, ”he says.

Aguachile toasts are all a home run. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion).

They were made of clients advertising on Instagram, and in the different groups of social networks.

“Our clients are not only from Sonora but from different Mexican states. Many Central Americans also come, ”observes Diana.

Many families in Los Angeles County, such as Diana and Karim, have turned their courtyards into makeshift restaurants in the face of their pressing need for a job or better pay. Many of them are afraid to speak to the press because they don't want to put themselves in the eye of health authorities. But Diana and Karim are very open.

"A few days ago we received a notification from the Department of Health because we don't have a permit," Diana confides.

However, he acknowledges that eventually, they want to rent or buy a lunchbox, and get out of their house to sell at the truck.

The sale of aguachiles in a patio of a house in Compton has been a success. (Araceli Martínez / The Opinion)

“Our dream would be to have several El Aguachile Express LA seafood lunch boxes, but we had to start with something. That's why we opened in the patio, and because our customers asked to eat here. ”

Diana admits that a food business is a lot of work.

“We are always working. We slept at two, three in the morning and we got up at seven in the morning to peel shrimp, chop, prepare the sauces. But we are happy because we have achieved a quality of life that we could never have achieved working in a factory”, He says.

Diana and Karim feel so grateful that among their clients and family they obtained some donations of toys and clothes that they will deliver this week in a colony of children of garbage collectors in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora in Mexico.

“We want to return to our people, something of how much we have received in this country,” says Diana.

Diana Reyna Velducea and Karim Reyes work hard, but they are happy because their yard business has been very successful. (Araceli Martinez / The Opinion).

Monse Urias, a Sonoran woman who has twice eaten the Aguachile Express LA, whose motto is "a home run to your palate", says she likes the aguachile they prepare there.

“The toasts are very well served; and the girls are very attentive not only with us but with other people, ”he says.

The Aguachile Express LA is located at 1800 E of Compton Boulevard in the city of Compton, 90221. On Instagram, you can find them at @ElAguachileExpressLA.


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