Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More Fun Playing with Lunch at Lola

Today's lunch at Lola was a business networking lunch, but I had a few ulterior motives. I so wanted my good friend Claudia and my partner Anna to try Lola! As always, lunch was fabulous. This was also my first 100 percent "no flash" photographed meal (thank you Edsel for help figuring out the camera). Of course, now that I have the exposure thing figured out, I think I messed with the image stabilizer. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

I made sure that we started with a shared plate of Beef Cheek Pirogies w/Horseradish Creme.

Interestingly, today there is extensive discussion on two of the Cleveland.com food-related forums regarding the issue of substitutions and special orders. Those of you who are Lola aficionados may notice that something is missing from the photo above. Yes, we did make a special request - for though I am willing to work around ingredients I don't care for - and will usually take a small taste of them (see the Bar Cento post below re Bleu Cheese), my dining companions despise mushrooms (which are on my list of not-so-fun to eat also) so that they requested that the mushrooms be left off the plate. The server and kitchen cheerfully complied, so no mushrooms were killed in the production of our appetizer. It was as delicious as ever, and the horseradish flavor really stood out. My dining companions were amazed at the precisely minutely diced chive topping.

Next, we each ordered a main:

Spicy Tomato Bisque and 1/2 Pressed Turkey Club Sandwich

Claudia practically licked the soup bowl, and greatly enjoyed her sandwich, which featured bacon, alfalfa sprouts and smoked cheddar.

Chickpea Salad, Grilled Hangar Steak, Salsa Verde

Anna was very happy with her selection. I tasted a bit of the perfectly medium-rare steak - yum!

Fried Bologna, Pickles, Cheddar and Fried Egg

I had to have a whole one of these for myself (the last time I lunched at Lola, I had to share one of these with a table of 6)! Oh my, is this an awesome sandwich, but I did not Bogart it all - I shared tastes with my tablemates. And again - I made one "special request" - for the pickles to be served on the side. Again, the kitchen cheerfully obliged. And I really wanted to taste them - but I just couldn't. Fortunately, my tablemates like pickles and very much enjoyed eating these.

The Lola Fries I enjoyed today were the best version I've had of them yet - sometimes, they are a little over-seasoned for my taste. But today - everyone agreed that they were perfect.

Lola Ketchup

According to Michael Symon, one of the secret ingredients (you should pardon the phrase) in this ketchup is something I have total aversion to - coffee! But none of us could smell or taste it (lucky for me) - the overwhelming aromas and flavors to our palates were chipotle pepper and cumin. In any event, it was the perfect compliment to the fries.

I had to snap a photo of the steak knife - inscribed with Michael Symon's tag line: Live to Cook!

No meal at Lola is complete without at least a taste of a Cory Barrett dessert.

Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Topping, Peanuts and Sea Salt

The only problem with this dessert, as Anna pointed out, is that there wasn't enough of it! The combination of gentle chocolate, caramel, nut and salt was inspired!

So - I took full opportunity to play with my lunch at Lola today, and to introduce two good friends to this Cleveland gem.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy,

    I think you did a great job sans flash.