Villagomez will open La Tostaderia later this month, in partnership with co-owner Gerardo Reynoso and chef Sandra Felix, serving Mexican ceviches, tostadas, tacos and something Villagomez calls octopus pops -- crunchy octopus with chiles, chipotle aioli and ahi amarillo creme fraiche. Maybe something to divert at least some of the people standing in the endless line around EggSlut.
As Villagomez prepped an octopus that would go into an octopus tostada, with yuzu juice, cherry tomatoes, dill, radishes and sea salt, he said that he was trying to source Mexican seafood from Baja and the Pacific coast. "You'll spend more money, but it tastes better," he says.
In addition to the octopus tostada and octopus pops, he and Felix will be serving ceviche verde with wild Mexican shrimp; mahi mahi fish tacos; aguachile with raw shrimp, red onions, radishes, cilantro and habanero sauce; shrimp toreado (deep-fried shrimp with Sriracha aioli and arbol chile); and what they're calling a taco chile (shrimp, octopus, scallions, cheese and roasted chile guerito on a soft tortilla).
La Tostaderia won't have a liquor license when it opens in a few weeks, but Villagomez hopes to get one soon. In the meantime, you can order beer and wine at Belcampo, just across the aisle, or walk over and get a Michelada from Las Morelianas.
Why tostadas? Why ceviche? And why, oh why, a mermaid? "Everyone knows tostadas," says Villagomez, leaning against one of the 12 counter chairs, also handmade in Jalisco. "But not everyone knows a good one." The same could be said for ceviche, and he hopes to bring both traditional and original recipes to the market, made with seasonal and local ingredients.
As for the mermaid, "seafood places always have fish, but we wanted something a little different," Villagomez says. Half-fish, as it were, to go with the fish on your plate.