Dining Out for Life: Lolita

Shitake Mushroom "taco" appetizer

Lolita is one of my favorite Philadelphia BYOBs. I popped in this week to entertain friends in town for a conference, a night that also happened to be Dining Out for Life. DOfL is a annual fundraiser in which participating restaurants donate 33% of the tab to local AIDS/HIV organizations and Planned Parenthoods. Great idea, right?
My only initial disappointment was that Lolita had gone with a fixed menu, and the dish I had planned to order wasn’t on it! I did get to try, for the first time, the above appetizer (which doesn’t appear on the regular menu), a “taco” of sorts on crispy tortilla, substituting shitake mushrooms for the pork. The blue cheese added the perfect rich, earthy note, and balanced the pickled red onion nicely. While it was a bit difficult to eat, it was my favorite part of the meal.

Enchiladas Verdes
Enchiladas Verdes

I’ve ordered the enchiladas verdes twice before, and I have to say, that they’ve always been better. Perhaps it was the fact that the black refried beans somehow got left out of my dish (lard?), or that the tofu I substituted for shrimp claimed to be “three chili” and tastes just like deep-fried plain hunks, or the fact that the filling was so heavy on jack cheese and so light on shitakes, either way, it wasn’t the best showing for this dish. Looks kind of sad, doesn’t it? Perhaps the high (Thursday) customer volumes, or the limited menu was to blame, but I didn’t feel like much care was taken with my dish.

Tres Leches de Coco cake
Tres Leches de Coco cake

My biggest beef with pre fix menus, beside the fact that they charge equal prices for vegetarian and meat-based menus, is dessert. I don’t really want it. If for some reason I can actually stuff three courses into my body, I want another appetizer, or a salad, or anything, really, besides dessert. That said, the tres leches cakes was pretty tasty. A little dry in parts, light on the promised chocolate pot de creme (which mysteriously lived on top of the little cake), and sloppily put together. Like I said, pretty good.

The other five people I ate with all enjoyed their meals immensely, so maybe it was just an off night for me, or for vegetarian selections. Either way, if my meal was any indication of the typical pre fix night at Lolita, I’ll skip it in the future, save my visit for another time, and eat more guacamole and less dessert.

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