Beer

Dallas, Meet Charola Preparada: The Beer and Shrimp Tray You Never Knew You Needed

La Pesca's charola preparada has chilled beer and a variation of shrimp cocktail.
La Pesca's charola preparada has chilled beer and a variation of shrimp cocktail. Lauren Drewes Daniels
When perusing menus at new restaurants, oftentimes we’ll look for outliers, maybe the most expensive thing or something we’ve not heard of before. What makes the menu interesting or different?

The new seafood restaurant La Pesca on Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff already had a pretty intriguing menu with its long list of micheladas and a mix of beer, wine and margaritas to cure everything that’s ever ailed you. You can get a chicharron (pork rind) michelada, a sandia (watermelon) michelada or just a classic. They’re all $10, except the last thing on the list, a charola preparada for $55.

Was this $55 drink a giant fishbowl of michelada that an entire group of people could all stick straws in to slurp down in pre-pandemic form? Nope.

Charola means tray in Spanish. And preparada just means prepared or ready. You might think of a charcuterie tray, but there’s no apparent connection here.
Charola preparada is part beer cooler and part shrimp cocktail. Usually, there's ice at the bottom, with a six-pack of beer in the middle that's surrounded by a mix of fruit, cucumber, jicama, lime, boiled shrimp, chamoy and spices, like Tajin. It can really have anything you want. According to the internet, the possibilities are endless.

At La Pesca, our charola preparada had long triangles of jicama topped with a slice of a cucumber and boiled shrimp. Jose Pablo Garcia Bucio at La Pesca says they got the idea from Mexico and the Netflix series Heavenly Bites: Mexico.
click to enlarge Slices of jicama topped with cucumber, shrimp, lime and a dollop of chamoy. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Slices of jicama topped with cucumber, shrimp, lime and a dollop of chamoy.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The particular presentation here wasn’t quite what we’d expected based on what we’ve seen on social media. While at first, we would have liked to have had more shrimp and jicama, it turned out to be a good snack while sipping a couple of beers. It was $60 for six beers and the snacks along with it. It's not a bad deal if you're with a group hanging out.

We hope to see the trend continue and grow. No complaints about adding another chapter to culinary tray culture.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.