Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun Playing with Pig at Lolita

We enjoyed another fantastic pig roast at Lolita last night, accompanied by some very special friends - 1 year old twins Nolan and Reagan!

Miss Regan Says Hello

Master Nolan is too busy enjoying his bottle to be distracted.

For some reason, I find the lighting at Lolita (and Momocho) to present the greatest challenges to my [limited] photography skills - so bear with me.

We started with an early order of Lolita Polenta, for the kids:

As you can see, Miss Reagan is wearing a bit of hers. But they gobbled it up!

Miss Regan Contemplates Polenta, while Master Nolan Enjoys an H2O Cocktail

The 8 adults shared three appetizers and two pizzas to start. First (photos from a prior dinner) - one of my absolute favorites - Roasted Dates stuffed with almonds, garlic, pancetta and parsley. The word "sublime" was coined to describe food like this - velvety smooth and creamy, though with bite from the accouterments, richly flavored and just sweet enough:

We also shared an order of Fried Chicken Livers and tried two of the new appetizers:

Ricotta Cheese Dip

This was delicious - creamy, with a little spice and a little flavor of olive oil.

Fried Chicken Livers over Cheese Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and Pancetta

Our friend Linda adores these (and can frying the livers in duck fat ever be a bad thing?), and I enjoyed my bite. And that polenta is to die for!

Fried Zucchini Bites with Goat Cheese

For my taste, this dish was a huge improvement over its grilled predecessor. As noted, frying makes everything taste good - and this appetizer rocked!

Pizza Topped with Roasted Pork and Smoked Cheddar

I am a bit of a purist when it comes to pizza, as this EGullet thread describes. As a rule, I don't care for wild toppings or cheeses - a little meatball, maybe some ricotta or provolone, and I'm happy. Notwithstanding all of that - I do believe this was the most amazing pizza I've ever tasted. Perfect crust topped with perfectly cooked heritage pork (from the Pig Roast pig, said Chef Matt Harlan), and, I must admit, the right cheese to take the pork on. This was a combination of pizza and pork perfection.

"White prosciutto" Pizza (ie Lardo)

Ok - I admit that I'm not a huge fan of lardo, so this pizza did not excite me nearly as much as the pork/cheddar one. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but I'd rather have another slice of the pork/cheddar pie!

As noted, this was a Tuesday night, which at Lolita means Pig Roast!

Yep - this is how they do it! In goes the pig, in go the coals and a few hours later we get:

Every week, Chef Matt comes up with a new presentation for the pig, and this week's plate did not disappoint: luscious pig meat, a skin-covered rib and a crispy crackling, over a luxurious butternut squash/butter puree, accompanied by Brussels Sprouts sauteed in bacon. Seven of the eight adults ordered the Pig Roast, and we licked our plates clean!

Of course, one person had to be different. Shelley decided to try the meatballs.

Pork and Veal Meatballs in Tomato Broth with Fontina, Pancetta & Pine Nuts

This is served with the diner's choice of side (Shelley opted for more of that cheesy polenta).

My taste of this was oh-so-good! Darn that pig roast distracting me from the menu (well, not really).

We completed the meal with a round of Lemon Semifreddo, topped with the most ethereal Basil Syrup and fresh berries:

And the best part - even though it seemed like we had ordered (and therefore, eaten) a lot of food, we left sated but not stuffed, and we got to try so many wonderful tastes and textures! Lolita remains a Cleveland gem, especially on Tuesdays, when they play with their pig!


  1. You're showing your roots with the pizza talk. Not discounting the big, foldable (and modestly topped) slices of our pasts, Lolita (and definitely Bar Cento), make some enjoyable little pies.

    I had some Lolita whole hog pork at the North Union Farmers Market benefit dinner on Monday. They take their swine seriously.

  2. Thanks, CFT. We were supposed to go to the NUFM benefit Monday, but Bob forgot to get the tickets.

    Did you see my post on our last visit to NYC? We finally got to The Famous Ray's, 11th Street and 6th Ave, for my favorite pizza in the world.

    However, having Lolita and Bar Cento (with honorable mentions to Vincenza's and Marotta's) have helped to ease the pain of being so far from 11th Street.

  3. Love the polenta lips on my girl.
    I posted a link from this post onto my blog. No need to reinvent the wheel!

  4. I enjoyed the NYC post--it makes me want to take a trip back. I'm with you on Marotta's (although since moving from the Heights I'm not on the East Side for dinner all that often, I miss The Colony too). As for Vinny's, I eat there about once a week, the thin crust. I like the place, but considering that the main guy behind the counter is from Bay Ridge I think they can do even better.