Two wrongs don’t make a right, Two Mikes Don’t Make a Wright (although they do make for one fantastic fluke of a film, especially Mike Leigh’s diabolical segment), & mixed feelings about two venues in the WTF-were-they-thinkingly-named Big Red F Restaurant Group—Jax & Centro (as expressed here)—don’t make for high expectations for a third.
But it turns out that at Lola, which Slim picked for me to try in Part 2 of Pimp My Meal!, the pickings are anything but slim. They’re as gordo as they are guapo; though kudos are therefore undoubtedly due primarily to chef-partner Jamey Fader, as near as I could tell from our prime seats near the open kitchen—whence everything that emerged looked so vibrant, so multihued & multifaceted, as to nearly make the famished Director & me crema our ropa interior—it was sous chef Austin Hall who was running the show yesterday at brunch.
So my sincerest gracias go to him, first for this:
While I prefer thicker, slightly oilier, salt-dustier chips like the ones I used to get at La Verdad back in Boston,
(image swiped from the hopefully laid-back author of Minty Choco Chip)
& while the house salsa was routine, the salsa verde, made with tomatillo & what I suspected & confirmed was of all things green apple, was a sweet-&-sour startler; the one made with charred Fresno chiles & what I suspected but did not confirm were smoked tomatoes was so suave you almost forgot it was spicy, like Javier Bardem playing Dracula.
Thanks are due second for this:
Just for kicks, I happen to have read & re-read this well into my retarded 20s:
But now, in my insatiable 30s, I’m planning on eating & re-eating Lola’s inspiration therefrom. The open-face omelet that formed the basis for my Green Ham & Eggs had a moist, dense quality that was vaguely reminiscent of a Taiwanese oyster pancake, but instead of shellfish, it was loaded with chunks of chorizo verde—not as spicy as I’d have expected from the noun, but as herb-touched as I expected from the adjective—& topped with a silken layer of queso añejo (aged, queso fresco tastes less like feta & more like, I’d swear, gruyère). Swayed by a slightly puzzling but no less tempting array of all-aquatic add-ons—blue crab, fried oysters, grilled shrimp, lobster, smoked salmon—I asked for the latter & got not sliced lox but shreds of a lightly smoked (presumably in-house?) filet. Though I’d rather have had the crab hollandaise that was supposed to come with the dish but didn’t, perhaps due to an incorrect assumption that I couldn’t be so flummoxed by my own taste for the excessive that I’d want to mix sausage & cheese & crab & salmon all together, it (the salmon) was lovely, mellow as opposed to briny.
Best of all, though, was that hash—the onions caramelized to a crisp; the tangy spangling that was, I believe, browned & crumbled cotija; the whole thing nicely spiced; the cubes of potato themselves fried to melt-in-your-mouth (an adjective I swear to use only when it truly, totally applies, & who’d have thought it might ever apply to the funky spud? but there you have it) perfection.
Thanks third for the Director’s Lola Huevos, an awfully humble name for a dish of lobster enchiladas smothered in some sort of chipotle cream, along with refried beans & the scrambled eggs that get all the credit.
As huevos go, these are the equivalent of that tattoo of the big-breasted chick whose owner endowed it with actual implants—above & beyond sexed-up.*
*I realize it’s entirely possible that this metaphor is above & beyond sexed-up, especially considering I just heard the guy’s body rejected them. Perhaps this post will do likewise. Still, good stuff. Good coffee too, robust & thick. Oh, & tiny boxes of Chiclets come with the check—a cute-as-hell gesture, the equivalent of a guy making his tattoo of a chick wiggle her hips. I’ll stop now.