Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dining Out: LoLo

In San Francisco, you can go years without ever leaving your corner of the city. While we've lived in The Mission for over two years, we hadn't really ventured out past 18th for dinner. With our move to The Station we're now exploring spots south of 18th.
LoLo: Tacos, Tostadas, and Gorditas
Recently we discovered LoLo on 22nd. We found it while walking to meet friends at the Foreign Cinema. The smells wafting from the open door were tantalizing. Also, it was packed. Two signs that move a restaurant to the top of our date night idea list.
Do you explore beyond your neighborhood?
Or, do you stick to familiar haunts?

Turns out filling LoLo to capacity isn't hard to do, as it, like Sushi Zone, is small. They have a couple of tables out in front on the sidewalk (nice for when the weather warms up) and maybe five tables inside, two two tops in the window and at least two four tops. To avoid disappointment or a long wait, make a reservation ahead of time. Sure, it takes some of the spontaneity out of your evening, but good places in The Mission are always swamped, even on a Tuesday night. When you're coordinating with a babysitter, your dinner plans can't be that flexible.
LoLo: Ceviche
When we made our reservation, we let them know that I had a dairy allergy. They greeted me with a menu that highlighted items that were 100% dairy free and items that could be modified to be 100% dairy free. The customized menu made ordering so easy. It also made me feel very welcome.
We started off our meal with the fried brussel sprouts (not pictured above). They were dressed with shallots, hazelnuts, and a late harvest zinfandel vinaigrette. It was a nice light dish and left us looking forward to our next plate.
Next up was the ceviche. Our expectations were high, I'm not sure, but I think this was my first ceviche since having Gates. (Ceviche was one of those items I craved throughout my pregnancy, but couldn't eat.) In the city, my favorite spots for ceviche, were Destino (their ceviche a la peruana) and Limon on Valencia (their ceviche de pescado with red snapper). I specifically loved the tartness of the lime. If you're craving lime, you'll be disappointed. If however, you're craving a balanced bite of hot, salty, and a little bit of sweetness, you'll find yourself ordering more of LoLo's ceviche. They top their ceviche with an aji amarillo pepper and citrus sauce - hot, sour, and sweet all in one.
After our ceviche it was time for tostadas, tacos, and gorditas. We had one of the day's specials -- Pork Belly Tacos (pictured on the bottom left in the first photo) -- and two of their regular menu staples: Chicken Confit 'Tinga' Tostadas (pictured on the right in the first photo) and Mezcal BBQ Gorditas (blue corn masa pockets with mezcal BBQ angus pulled short rib, guacamole and cabbage slaw on the side; pictured on the top left in the first photo). Of the three, the BBQ gorditas were my favorite. The texture and blend of spices reminded me of the Tostones with Ropa Vieja we had in Puerto Rico at El San Juan Hotel and Casino.
Each plate was amazing, so much so, that we'll definitely be back. Now we have three neighborhood restaurants that could become regular haunts: LoLo, Beast and The Hare, and Kiji.
Want to know the best thing about LoLo? Unlike some other spots, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to enjoy a glass or two of wine and leave satisfied. Our total bill before tip was under $70.
Bon Appetit!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.