Sherman's Food Adventures: Lola


As much as anything promoted (yes, that is the correct word) on the Food Network is generally over-hyped and sketch (see Triple D's), there are some things that are worth trying.  One particular thing that has been stuck in my mind for the last 5 years has been the donuts at Lola as recommended by Giada de Laurentiis.  Yah, I realize her almost unbelievable "foodgasm" when she ate them, but hey, I couldn't tell if she was faking it or not...  So finally, I had the opportunity to sort fact from fiction when Miss Y, Whipping Girl and myself made it out to Lola after a night (or morning) of Black Friday shopping.

Before we could get to dessert, we had a meal to eat and it began with an array of Spreads (served with griddled pita) including Kalamata-Fig, Tzatziki, Cauliflower-Anchovy, Fava Skordalia Garlic, Roasted Sweet Red Pepper and Kopanisti Pistachio & Mavrodaphne. This was a fun and interactive appetizer that got our appetites going with a wealth of different and impactful flavors.  We particularly liked the Kalamata-Fig as it was easy on the salt where the fig added both texture and balance.  The wine-like finish was particularly appealing.  Thick and creamy, the Kopanisti Pistachio was aromatic and purposefully salty.  The drizzle of Mavrodaphne added a vinegar-like finish.  Hummus-like, the Fava Skordalia was smooth and subtle with the aromatics of garlic.  We also liked the Cauliflower as the anchovy really came through without being overwhelming.  Our least favorite was the red pepper as it was not as impactful as it looked.

Onto the mains, we shared the Marinated Beets with pea shoots, fennel and skordalia underneath.  Miss Y thought we needed some veggies to supplement our diets...  Pffft...  Anyways, the beets were firm and not overly sweet.  I would've liked to see more Earthiness from the beets though.  The salad of pea shoots and fennel on top was particularly acidic which was just the right tonic for the otherwise mild flavours.  Moving away from the veggies, we headed to my selection, which happened to be the Lola Lamb Burger with Lola ketchup and chickpea fries.  We requested it be prepared medium-rare and it come out exactly as such.  Hence, the meat was super moist and succulent.  We liked how the meat was not overprocessed where it retained a natural meatiness.  It was well-seasoned while not being particularly gamy (probably because it was lean).  I would've liked a bit more char though.  Since they were short 2 chickpea fries, we were served a combination of that and regular fries.  The chickpea fries were dense, lightly crisp and well-seasoned.

Our other meat dish consisted of the Berkshire Pork Kebabs marinated in honey and harissa.  The fully cooked pork was sufficiently moist with a rebound-like texture.  We found the marinade to be dominated by the honey where the harissa only came through at the end.  However, that didn't mean we didn't like it.  We liked the impact of the flavors which penetrated the meat.  Furthermore, the accompanying tzatziki was excellent consisting of defined tastes from the garlic, cucumber and ample lemon juice.  Finally, we made it to the Made-to-Order Donuts with cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla marscapone and cranberry jam.  Succumbing to the hype like a crazed groupie, I had multiple foodgasms as I bit into the pillowy soft bundles of joy.  They were further jacked with the thick and creamy mascapone that was nicely paired with the sweet and slightly tart cranberry. Fine, I'll have to admit it.  The donuts were worth the visit as well as the rest of the food.  Looks like I'll be back.

The Good:
- Interesting and well-prepared eats
- Love those donuts
- Easy-going service

The Bad:
- A little pricey
- Limited lunch menu


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