When somebody talks up a restaurant and a certain dish, there are two things that can happen – it can either meet your expectations or it can fail in comparison. For part of spring break, I traveled to Long Beach, CA and stayed at my friend Lindsay’s house. California is known for having great Mexican food, which is seriously lacking in Pennsylvania. Prior to break, Lindsay kept talking up her favorite Mexican restaurant called Lola’s Mexican Cuisine. She said they have a green sauce that is made of guacamole, but isn’t quite guacamole. She told me it is amazing and goes great on everything, but it is hard to describe because it isn’t traditional guacamole.
Once we landed and her family picked us up from the airport, we immediately headed to Lola’s to get dinner. We were seated in the colorful, eclectic and whimsical restaurant, and then the chips, green sauce and salsa were brought out. Between my hunger after being on a plane for hours and my excitement to try this green sauce, I dug in immediately. I am pleased to say the green sauce met my expectations – it was liquidy, spicy and subtly flavorful. When paired with the salsa, it made a very addictive combination. The four of us went through three baskets of chips because we couldn’t stop eating the green sauce.
I asked Lindsay and her family what would be best to order, and they suggested the El Trio because it’s a taco dish and allows you to try three different meats. The El Trio is three “arredtfully” handmade tacos – grilled chicken with mole poblano, topped red pickled onions, sprinkled toasted sesame seeds and pepitas; birria topped with toasted garlic tomato salsa, cilanto, onions and radishes; and carnitas topped with roasted habanero salsa and fresh avocado. It was also served with Mexican rice and refried beans.
The birria, which is beef, was hands down my favorite of the three tacos. The meat was juicy and the salsa added a great flavor. I’m not a big fan of cilantro but they had a perfect amount so it wasn’t overpowering for me. My second favorite was the chicken, but it was a close second to the birria. I really enjoyed the red picked onions, but I wish they were cut up more because they were awkward to eat. I normally really like carnitas, but this was my least favorite taco because it lacked flavor. That taco needed more than just avocado and salsa to stand up to the other two. The rice and beans were a great traditional side for this dish.
I actually ended up going to Lola’s for a second time because they offer $5 margaritas on Mondays. I am a sucker for margaritas, so I told Lindsay we needed to go. Their advertisement was a little deceiving, though, because only one margarita was $5 and it was a traditional one – you couldn’t get one of the special ones. I ordered the Lola’s margarita, which was a combination of Milagro silver tequila, cointreau orange liqueur, agave nectar, fresh house-made limonada and sea salt. Like I said, it was a traditional margarita so it was good, nothing special.
While sitting and drinking our drinks, Lindsay and I decided we should order an appetizer because we felt bad for the waiter that we were just drinking and not eating. They also offered half priced appetizers, so we ordered the queso fundido (cheese fondue), which was described as a homemade blend of queso Oaxaca and Jack cheeses, grilled with soyriso, rajas, caramalized onions, pico de gallo, fresh avocado and your choice of corn or flour tortillas. Short ribs can also be added to this dish, but Lindsay is vegetarian so we didn’t take that option. This dish was super cheesy and delicious. It was more than just queso because it had the onions, peppers and other flavors in it. I really liked having those aspects added to it because it provided some depth.
I had a great experience both times I went to Lola’s. The food was delicious and the green sauce definitely met my expectations. The service was good and I loved the decor of the restaurant – it was very colorful, fun and welcoming. The food was super filling and it was well priced. I’d highly recommend dining there because while perusing the menu, I got the feeling everything on it was delicious. If you read this and decide to dine at Lola’s, I hope it meets your expectations as well as it met mine.
Lola’s Mexican Cuisine
2030 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814
Mon-Sun 11:30 AM-9:30 PM