All you need to order a michelada from the new Toma Micheladas in Northridge is your smartphone.
Jonathan Leeh Melendez recently opened a weekends-only michelada and ceviche business out of a catering kitchen in a private home in Northridge. To get your hands on one of his micheladas or ceviches, check Toma’s Instagram page come Saturday or Sunday.
Review the weekend’s menu, then text the listed phone number with your order. Melendez will text back with a meet-up time, then you’ll head to a nice suburban neighborhood to pick up your order, then enjoy it at home or at the park across the street.
Melendez, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and considers himself “passionate” about mariscos, was inspired by the Culiacan, Sinaloa roots of his mother and his grandmother’s home cooking.
“At first, I was doing it just for my family, says Melendez. “And they were like, ‘Jonathan, you have to put this out there, the quality is awesome.’ And my grandmother is the toughest critic. She normally won’t eat anything she doesn’t make herself. That gave me my initial push.”
To that end, Melendez, who possesses both food handler and sellers permits, prepares his own salsas, including salsa negra, made with soy. He also makes the various elements of his micheladas, including the mezcla and chile rim using various chiles en polvo, as well as his own tamarind-based chamoy, the thick, sticky fruit leather wrapped under the cup’s lip that fuses sweet, sour, spicy and umami notes.
In addition to the ceviches and signature 24-ounce micheladas, Melendez serves miche-viches, with a cap full of shrimp ceviche atop the spicy beer cocktail. There are also searing aguachiles with customizable degrees of heat from the whole chile chiltepín Melendez smashes in a mortar and grinds into a powder.
Sporadic specials like callo de hacha scallops and cauliflower ceviche are also available.
In time, Melendez hopes to bring his food to a pop-up and bricks-and-mortar.
“I’d want it to be small, like a mom and pop shop,” Melendez says. “I put my heart into this and take it really serious, even though it’s just a small catering business out of a home. I go hard and give 200% every time.”
@toma.micheladas on Instagram