Hot night on the old town tonight.
The Gayborhood. Two men. A bottle of Don Julio Blanco. A wad of cash. Sounds like all the trappings of an excellent night? Well, you could ask Todd, who would probably give an even more scatching review...but you'll have to settle for me.
Long story short, I had convinced Todd to join me at one of my favorite little BYOT (tequila, duh) joints in Philly, the much-lauded, dripping-with-atmosphere Lolita. I had been a handful of times before, and each trip was more satisfying than the last. Known best for their delicious guac (even though the avocado-based starter from across the street at El Vez gets more press, that's just because they makes some poor woman with morter, pestel, and handfuls of garlic make the stuff tableside. People need to realize that all guacamole they get at reputable dining establishments is probably fresh, since that stuff oxidizes like nobody's business and you seldom see brownish green dreck on the menu. Rant over, back to the review) and tender-as-can-be carne asada (which is billed in the English translation as "filet mignon," which I realize is both somewhat of a misnomer and not really English, but whatever)...
...okay, that sentence was out of control. Basically, Lolita's guacamole and carne asada are amazing. There are probably twenty tops in the dimly-lit hallway restaurant, and black-clad hardbody waiters are never too far away. It's a sweet little place, although the lack of reservations on the weekend can make it a madhouse. Luckily, Todd and I only waited about half an hour before grabbing a good table. Our waiter appeared immediately and knew right away that we wanted the fresh blood orange margaritas (passion fruit is for weenies) mixed at the table. The drinks were good, thanks mostly to the quality booze (the mix was a bit dull, to be honest; hardly comparable to their incredible watermelon variety).
We dove into the menu, since neither of us had eaten. The guacamole and fundido con queso y otras cosas (translate: delicious melty cheese with other stuff like salchicha or whatever that you eat in little corn tortillas) were amazing. We both ordered the carne asada, medium. Hopes were high.
This is where the meal took a downward turn. The food arrived quickly, but after five minutes of both chewing our first respective bites, Todd and I looked at each other and shook our heads. The waiter was at my elbow immediately, looking very concerned indeed. Without speaking, he whisked our plates away and replaced them with fresh copies of the menu. Confusion and profuse apologies followed. Please note that while I write for a low-budget food blog, I have never never sent a meal back, it's just not in my nature. But I did, somewhat against my will.
Entree number two was waluu for Todd and mushroom enchiladas and rock shrimp for me. We were both disappointed. I'm serious. All my descriptive prowess and knack for conveying culinary discourse with impeccable equipoise fails me. So, here goes, with minimal energy:
-The fish sucked
-The enchiladas were *yawn*
-Dessert was forced - an uninspired cheesecake with goat cheese for me and some other stuff for Todd (bread pudding? Jesus, I just lost all will to write).
Damn it all, I want my carne asada.
Look, don't let this less than stellar review turn you off. Lolita is awesome and if you come to Philadelphia, I will personally escort you there unless you chew with your mouth open or have cloying BO or something.
I mean, Tiger Woods doesn't birdie every hole.
106 South 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107