Lola's patio

The patio at Lola's Fourth Street location is back in business.

Lola’s Mexican Cuisine customer Tank Gonzales is spreading the word, telling everyone to “make their lives better” with the new birria dishes at Lola’s.

Gonzales said he was born and raised on birria and has sampled recipes across Mexico and Los Angeles. He spoke passionately about the restaurant’s new Birria Queso Tacos and said they are better than any birria he has ever eaten.

“You can taste the love and the history and the culture. Even my dad agrees!” Gonzales said. “I ordered the Birria Queso Tacos six times this week… I just can’t stay away.”

Gonzales is not alone. Lola’s owner Luis Navarro said the response has been unbelievable.

“Everyone is coming in, taking photos, and posting about them,” Navarro said. “A delivery driver asked me why so many people are suddenly ordering them.”

Navarro said his grandmother’s recipe for Birria Guadalajara has been a staple at the restaurant since its opening in 2008. For the past 13 years, the flavorful dish has been served on a plate, topped with onions, cilantro, and beans, and surrounded by a savory broth. Last week, Navarro decided to get creative and launch a whole new era of “Birria Mania” at Lola’s.

“I knew we had a really great birria recipe, so I decided to use it in some new ways,” Navarro said.

Lola’s is now offering Birria Queso Tacos and Gusto Birria Torta Ahogada, in addition to its traditional Birria Guadalajara Plate. Before the tacos are assembled, corn tortillas are dipped in consommé (broth made from the meat drippings), put on a griddle, and crisped. After all of the fillings are added, patrons give the taco an additional dunk in consommé for an intense flavor explosion.

A similar process is required for the torta (a Mexican sandwich); the bread is dipped in sauce and carmelized on the griddle before being layered with meat, salsa, and pickled onions. Navarro’s vision for the bread was very specific, so he turned to his Fourth Street neighbor, Arturo Enciso of Gusto Bread.

“I wanted a birote salado (salted roll) that is used in Jalisco," Navarro said. "It had to be crunchy on the outside and airy inside, with just the right consistency. My requests were very specific, but he (Enciso) thrives on the challenge of perfection.”

Enciso said he appreciated the opportunity to collaborate.

“I’m a Mexican baker, so I am very familiar with Mexican food and culture," he said. "I was excited to create our version of this roll for him. We went through a lot of trial and error to get it just the right size and make sure it was crusty and firm enough to hold up to the sauce.”

Enciso is now baking a limited number of the rolls, which Navarro divides between the two Lola’s locations (2030 E. Fourth St. and 4140 Atlantic Ave.). Lola’s serves the Birria Torta until the fresh rolls sell out.

“We love having community partners, like Gusto, and finding ways to be positive and creative,” Navarro said. “Food is the center of people’s joy. Now that outside dining is open, the streets are alive again. You can feel the energy. With so much negativity this year, we are happy to be doing something fun.”

To get a taste of Birria Mania, visit Lola’s Fourth Street or Bixby locations or place a delivery order at www.lolasmexicancuisine.com.

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