Tostadas in North Park, serving up Mexican-inspired ceviches and dishes, has been on my to-try list for quite some time, so I was more than excited when I was invited to a media dinner to sample some of their menu items.
Behind the restaurant is actually an art gallery, as well as ChuckAlek Independent Brewers’ biergarten – their first location in San Diego. We wandered to the back to check it out:
It’s neat that you can hang out in the biergarten and order food from Tostadas! The restaurant’s waitstaff will actually bring it back to the garden for you. We’ll have to check this out sometime.
The dinner at Tostadas was a five-course dinner to showcase a few items from their menu, as well as some “experimental” and seasonal dishes created by the chef.
The first course is paired with ChuckAlek’s Flycaster, a Helles lager. It was described as “doughy” and floral, and tasted light and refreshing, not overly hoppy in contrast to west coast-style IPAs.
The Sandia Tostada is the restaurant’s signature dish, which features a tostada topped with a slice of watermelon, ahi tuna, red onions, jicama, apples, cucumber, mango, orange, peanuts, soy sauce, lemon juice, and chipotle mayonnaise. I absolutely loved the flavor combo – the sweet and tart fruits paired perfectly with the fish, and the tostada stayed crunchy even with all the toppings, to provide a wonderful feast of textures with every bite.
We were presented with three house-made sauces to try with the tostada. They are: mango habanero, tamarind, and serrano cilantro avocado. All three were delicious (and had a spicy kick!), but I really liked the mango habanero with the Sandia.
Mike Hess Claritas
The beer pairing for our next course was the award-winning kolsch from Mike Hess Brewing, Claritas. Another lighter beer, Claritas had a nice malty sweetness balanced with a hoppy finish.
Puff Pastry with Poblano and Goat Cheese
Our second course was a puff pastry, stuffed with goat cheese and roasted poblano pepper, finished with a cilantro chile de arbol and chile tepin black bean sauce.
The puff pastry was wonderfully fluffy, and the goat cheese and flame-grilled poblano pepper paired perfectly with the sauces. It really reminded me of an elevated version of a jalapeno popper, hehe. I was hoping that this item is featured on their regular menu, but alas it is just experimental for now.
The next couple of courses are paired with wine. They are from the Valle de Guadelupe vineyards, and winemaker Paolo Paoloni himself came to talk to us about the wines. I’m not knowledgeable about wine at all, but I enjoyed the learning experience.
The wine paired with our next course is the Nebbiolo de Guadalupe, a red which of course goes with…
Filet Mignon in Endive Leaves
This is actually a dish from the catering menu, and I simply loved the presentation of the endive leaves forming a little “boat” around the filet. The steak is topped with a mix of mushrooms and served with roasted fingerling potatoes, and cooked to a perfect medium-rare.
It was just so tender and delicious! I loved the mushrooms and blue cheese and wine reduction sauce.
After the wonderful filet, our next course was a beautiful baked Pacific lobster tail. The lobster meat was cooked perfectly, and a duxelle mushroom mix was stuffed in the shell underneath, adding earthy notes to the dish. It was served with mashed potatoes, which paired nicely with the tequila lobster reduction sauce. I believe that this dish is a seasonal specialty item, and also one of the dishes that the chef entered into a cooking competition.
(Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the wine pairing for the lobster, but it was a Chardonnay from Paoloni, which was sweeter and paired nicely with the seafood.)
Crepas de Pera
Lastly, dessert! This is a regular menu item, crepes with tequila flambéed D’Anjou pears, strawberries, and cajeta, goat’s milk caramel sauce. Some textural contrast was added from homemade almond marzipan crumbles, and it was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I loved all the flavors together, especially the smooth and rich cajeta, and scooped up every single bit of this dessert even though I was already stuffed from the rest of dinner.
Overall, we had a wonderful meal at Tostadas, and I will definitely be back to try more of their menu items. I love the flavor profile of the food here, so creative and delicious. Many, many thanks to Amanda at Passion Roots PR for organizing the dinner!
3139 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Disclaimer: We were invited to Tostadas, and all the food and drinks were complimentary. All content and opinions are my own.