First, the Los Angeles Times recognized Lola’s Mexican Cuisine when recommending the Retro Row restaurant in a travel section article in July. Then, Mexican culinary tours director Marilyn Tausend invited owner Luis Navarro to a weeklong cooking excursion in Veracruz, Mexico in September. Now, after learning and cooking alongside world-class celebrity chefs Rick Bayless and Roberto Santibanez, Navarro has added some fabulous daily specials to his menu.
Selected along with other notable chefs from around the country, Navarro couldn’t pass up the opportunity and Lola’s customers should be grateful, as his new specials menu now include some dishes and tips provided by Bayless, the award-winning chef-restaurateur.
“He is a real pro. He just knows his stuff,” Navarro said, of Bayless. And not that he was surprised, but being a first generation Mexican-American and Bayless a blue -eyed native Oklahoman, Navarro was extremely impressed with his knowledge of Mexican cuisine.
“He is a huge mole fan and that dish is one of Lola’s strong points, so we had a great time going back and forth exchanging recipes and ideas,” Navarro said.
And out of the trip came a new specials item, Lola’s New Apricot Mole. It is roasted with numerous nuts & chilies and includes fresh apricots. Another recipe added to the specials menu is a Chile En Nogada, which consists of pasula peppers stuffed with onions, cilantro and seasoned ground beef, topped with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate toppings. Along with the mole, this dish is served with rice and beans.
The group of chefs, 18 in total, all met in Mexico and were transported to a small colonial town called Coatepec, located about an hour outside of Veracruz. They stayed and cooked at La Ceiba Grafica, a unique artist compound that houses artist from all over the world in what used to be a coffee plantation. They took two classes a day in a nice, big kitchen and prepared 4-course meals each class.
They also learned a great deal about the town Coatepec, which used to be the coffee capital of Mexico and the state of Veracruz, which has a globally influenced cuisine because of its historical and international port. Navarro said the chefs were introduced to Dutch and French, among many other cuisine influences.
Navarro said a couple of his highlights were seeing Bayless uses some of the same recipes Navarro’s mother raised his family on and also learning more about the flavor profiles of foods and spices and how to integrate them to make your own recipes.
It’s not everyday that a local Long Beach chef and restaurant owner gets to acquire knowledge from one for the most respected chefs in America, so head down to 2030 E. 4th St and try a daily special at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine to let your taste buds experience what Bayless taught chef Luis Navarro.
And don't forget, by showing your 562CityLifers card, you receive a 10% discount at Lola's.
Great news and I know I'm looking forward to the Chile en Nogada. Lola's usually only has it around Christmas time, but could earn my undying patronage if served all the time. Congratulations on getting to cook with Steve Bayless!
Man, I had a new pork tenderloin special there last week that was AWESOME. It was a recipe they picked up on this excursion too...
I love Lola's! this is awesome news and yet one more reason to go back. thanks for the article.
Thank you and glad you liked it. Now go get your grub on!!