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Published January 23, 2013

Pop Rocks
Mexican Tapas in Nolita

This is ridiculous.

Thirteen is not an acceptable amount of degrees.

Anyway, this should warm you up...

Wear 10 sweaters to Antojería La Popular, a cozy little den of subversive Mexican tapas and liquid refreshment in Nolita, now open.

Those places where a semi-late lunch just rolls right into dinner: this is one of those. The conversation will swing from life to love to work to the cricket tostada you just ord—holy sh*t, you just ordered a cricket tostada. (It’s called the Oaxaca.)

Actually, all the ceviches, seafood and tostadas are named after places in Mexico. There’s a tilapia/cucumber/cilantro/mango/red onion/habanero dish named after the place where Tim Robbins escaped to in Shawshank Redemption. Tastes like freedom.

And everything here looks like art—edible or not. Beautifully arranged avocados and chili cremas and raw fish. Walls that have a sort of 3D, cubic Escher vibe going on. The banquettes look like chairs buried in sand that’s made of wood.

Which makes this casual-first-date country for that promising design student you’ve been admiring. Start out with a pitcher of sangria. Don’t be fooled by it. It wants to get you. So alternate that with hot chocolate—they’ve got 12 different kinds, including guajillo, the people’s chili.

Or, if time’s short and only a chicken-mole-queso tostada will do, roll by the walk-through takeout window.

Cricket happy meals for all.
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Photo: Oleg March