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An Ode to Lola [Santa Rosa]

Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 12:34 PM

An ongoing thread reporting on the treasures to be found at Lola's Market in Santa Rosa (Petaluma Hill Road)

  1. Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 12:43 PM

    Rotisserie Chicken.... $5.59

    This is not your typical, mediocre Whole Foods or Mid Scale Diner chicken. The Petaluma sourced Rocky Jr. roasting chickens are better quality (juicy, succulent with generous fat) than typically used by supermarkets... but the marinade... oh the flavor... it just penetrates so deep into the flesh.... lots of garlic, thyme, Mexican oregano, paprika & citrus.

    If it wasn't for the absence of Mexican "yellow chickens"... this would be as good as Rosticerias in D.F. I am not 100% certain about the secret behind Mexican style Rotisserie chicken.... but my couisin's neighbor owns the well regarded Rosticeria Molinos in the El Molinto neighborhood of Naucalpan (a "suburb" of Mexico City).... and their secret (which resulted in equally deep flavored chicken) was a 24hour brining in their secret spice & herb blend.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Eat_Nopal
      rworange Jan 21, 2008 01:23 PM

      That's a great price for a Rocky Jr. chicken. Thanks for the tip. I like their big pans of yogurt. Reminds me of El Tigre in Escondido.

      Lola's Market
      1680 Petaluma Hill Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

      1. re: rworange
        Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 02:09 PM

        I agree... I don't think I could buy 1/2 a raw Rocky Jr. chicken for that price at most places (much less at Oliver's or Pacific Market).

        Thanks for the reminder... I think its a little pricey ($2 a lb)... and not as tangy or intensely flavored as my favorite yogurts... but the bulk yogurts at Lola's are pretty good... i just had a 12oz cup of Mango... damn its hard to stop once you get going.

        1. re: Eat_Nopal
          chocolateninja Jan 21, 2008 02:35 PM

          Actually, I just picked up (on Friday) a couple of raw Rocky Jr. whole chickens for $1.50 a lb, at the Olivers on Stony Pt. Rd. Think it might have been a "weekly special" price, but IIRC, the "normal" price for Rocky Jr's isn't that much more.

          Thanks for the Lola chicken tip. I love a great rotisserie chicken, and this one sounds so flavourful! Hard to go wrong with oregano, garlic and paprika!

          I've heard that Lola's prepared foods area has pozole...what's your opinion on it?

          1. re: chocolateninja
            Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 02:48 PM

            I haven't tried it yet... the stuff on the steam table often looks sad at Noonish when I am usually there (stuff starts getting displayed by mid morning)... I think they might have an afternoon batch around 2 or 3 (which is a good time to be there because that is when the day's rendered lard becomes available).

      2. re: Eat_Nopal
        wolfe Jan 22, 2008 04:12 PM

        I have a friend in D.F. Do you have an address for Rosticeria Molinos?
        Perhaps I answered my own question. Now if Sylvie can find it in the Tomas Guide.
        Rosticeria Molinos

        Morelos 18
        Naucalpan, Estado De Mexico, 53000
        Naucalpan De Juarez Centro

        Phone: 555-576-7262

        1. re: Eat_Nopal
          chocolateninja Feb 4, 2008 01:01 PM

          Finally got my hands on one of the ubertasty rotesserie chickens on Saturday, after a day of running around shopping for superbowl party food. SO delicious! My partner in munching crime thought that bits of it were too fatty/smaltchzy (mostly the legs/thighs) I think. I thought the whole thing was excellent...juicier than I'm used to with "regular" rotisserie chicken, and the flavour of the marinade was excellent! The oregano and paprika just make it sing. It actually brought back a long lost food memory of either my mom's or grandmother's chicken...I'm not sure which, but I know as a small child, I had chicken made with similar seasonings, and I felt warm and cozy and safe for a moment, as I did in both of their kitchens growing up.

          I also grabbed a plastic cup of the strawberry yogurt (Lola's makes it themselves I assume) from the coolers next to the checkstands, and had it for breakfast the next morning...lovely stuff, not too sweet, just the right amount of yogurty tang. It never made it to the bowl to mix with granola...I couldn't stop eating it right from the cup. (:

          The friend I was with grabbed some of Lola's sour cream for the superbowl chili we were having, and "chocoflan" from the bakery. Loved the sour cream...light, tangy, delish with the chili. The chocoflan was an interesting dessert...a layer of flan over a layer of chocolate cake. Both layers were tasty, and an interesting combo, but I think I'd rather have just flan, or just chocolate cake.

          I also grabbed a small bag of pan dulce...large flat circular powdered sugar-covered cookie (like a mexican wedding cake cookie, but flat), a palmier, and a couple of roll-looking bits that I don't know the name of. I've only just gotten to them today, but two days later, after being on the counter in a plastic bag, they are good. Nothing really outstanding (course I've just recently been trying the pan dulce options around here), but the circular cookie went very well with a mug of tea..rich and crumbly, and the palmier was flakey and crispy (after a minute in the toaster oven) and terrific with my morning cup o joe. The two roll-like things were good, but definitely would have been better the day I purchased them.

          I did notice the cactus (both whole and chopped in bags) and thought of you EN. What is your fav way to prepare cactus? I'd love to experiment with a new food item, and for some reason, dealing with cactus feels a bit daunting to me.

          1. re: chocolateninja
            Eat_Nopal Feb 4, 2008 02:34 PM


            Chocoflan? I have been asking around for such a dessert without much luck. I know their bakery is a bit sloppy & inconcsistent... but I have been craving one!

            As for Nopales... all preparations are my favorite! Specific ones...

            > Nopales salad with a dressing made of Crema, Jalapenos & either Cilantro or Papalo... garnished with crumbled chicharron.

            > Roasted Nopales with chopped hard boiled eggs... and a spoonful of Mole Negro in a taco.

            > Nopales & Fava soup with Mint & Chipotle in the broth.

            Tomorrow I will be making a flank steak Asado (basically Pot Roast) with Whole Nopales, whole small White Onions, Green Beans, carrots & celery... all in a Tomato-Ancho sauce (got to keep it mild for the bebe).

            1. re: Eat_Nopal
              kare_raisu Feb 4, 2008 07:38 PM

              Choking on my drool.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                chocolateninja Feb 4, 2008 08:10 PM

                Well...get thee to Lola's before they run out of chocoflan! (-: I did enjoy it, and I can understand the craving if one hasn't had it in a while. (: (I think ours would have been even more tasty if most of the flans caramely liquid hadn't spilled in a nearly tragic refrigerator tetris incident!)

                And can I just say, the leftover rotisserie chicken made the most amazing chicken salad sammich...I roughly chopped the leftover chicken meat, added chopped jicama, more cumin, paprika (spanish smoked), fresh chopped cilantro, mexican oregano, sea salt and some mayo on slices of slightly toasted french bread from Full Circle Bakery...sammich happiness on a plate! I'm so happy that you clued us in to the yummy chicken! I don't think I can ever go back to the "normal" grocery store chicken.

                You should post your nopales recipes to the home cooking board...after reading all that, I'm rearing to make another trip to Lola's and get cooking in the kitchen. That soup sounds DELISH! Do you treat cactus like a root veg or like squash? Can you eat it raw?

                1. re: chocolateninja
                  Eat_Nopal Feb 5, 2008 07:04 AM

                  Do you have anymore of that Chicken Salad? I think we are coming over to your place for lunch today =)

                  Regarding... Nopales... interesting question you pose.. I am not sure how to answer.. I guess a little of both.

                  As far as Nopales Salad go... people either boil them (with some tomatillo husk & tequesquite to reduce the Ocra like slime), steam them, or roast them (no slime to worry about).... then they are sliced or diced and allowed to chill. I should note that when Nopales are out of season... then Mexican zucchini is often used as a replacement.

                  In the soup... they are added raw and allowed to simmer... slimyness will not be an issue.. as it adds a nice texture to pureed ingredients almost like soup bones would.

                  Raw.... throughout Mexico the most common application as an extremely delicious juices or smoothies made with fresh pineapple & nopales.. the real, deal cactus cooler!

                  I have a co-worker from Mexicali that assures me everyone she knows eats the "baby" nopal pads (should be no more than 4 inches long) raw... either a snack with a garlicky Arbol salsa or as salad.

                  1. re: chocolateninja
                    Eat_Nopal May 4, 2008 08:44 PM

                    FYI.... Trader Joe's is now carrying a Chocoflan-parfait in the frozen desserts aisle... I have been pleasantly surprised by many items in that section of the store (Chocolate Croissants, Lemon Tarts etc.,) I bet its pretty good.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                      chocolateninja May 4, 2008 11:56 PM

                      Ooh, thanks for the heads-up. I was just thinking that a TJs run was in order in our household. (I need me some of those chocolate croissants...I keep hearing great things about them!) Speaking of Chocoflan, I've been meaning to ask you if you have ever tried making Rick Bayless's version. I assume the recipe is in one of his cookbooks, as I saw him make it on his "One Plate At a Time" PBS show.

                      1. re: chocolateninja
                        Eat_Nopal May 5, 2008 08:13 AM

                        No I haven't seen it yet... btw when does his show air, and on which PBS station... I can never seem to find it?

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                          rworange May 5, 2008 01:40 PM

                          KQED - Chanel 9 SF Saturday morning 9:30 am ... however, I think next week they are having auctions again which knocks all the Saturday cooking shows off the air.

            2. Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 12:49 PM

              Delicias de Jalisco brand Guava Roll.... $1.69

              A generous 1 lb+ sugared roll with an ingredients list that reads: Guava, Sugar, Quince, Honey... it has a fairly intense Guava flavor and goes extremely well as an acompaniment to Coffee,Tea or spread in Crepes, on buttered bolillos or with cheeses (makes a nice masa quesadilla stuffed with Requeson, Natas, Guava roll & flecks of Arbol chile.


              1. Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 12:53 PM

                The $0.75 very crusty Telera rolls are quite good... and perfect for making Aguascalientes style tortas - this is where you slice it in half girth wise tear out some of the pillowy bread (save to make bread crumbs) - then you pipe in your fillings so in the end you have a half-sandwich with an open end, and a sealed end. Anyway... the leftover Rotisserie chicken is great with a little mayo, and their tangy & spicy pale green salsa in a torta.

                1. Lori SF Jan 21, 2008 01:11 PM

                  thanks for the reminder of this place. I love their chicken!! There are no places that can do that deep flavor into the chicken. I have good memories of chicken at the original Versailles located on Venice Blvd. in LA Cuban Style chicken which had lemon and garlic intense flavors however from what I heard not the same as it was in the 80's Other than that its been home or in Mexico.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Lori SF
                    Eat_Nopal Jan 21, 2008 02:12 PM

                    I am sure some people somethings think I am crazy for recomminding Pollo Loco... but I remember it when they only had the Brooklyn Ave (Now Cesar Chavez Ave) and MacArthur Park locations... and omg, the deep flavor of the marinade and split "Orange" chickens sourced from Mexicali... (as well as their unique salsa & beans)... wowsers... only a handful of places in L.A. ever reached that magnitude of popularity (with lines wrapping around the block etc.,)

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                      Lori SF Jan 22, 2008 05:12 PM

                      You are so right. I use to stop in at the one on Alvarado Street when I was in college and i would take a whole chicken home, salsa and beans, stop at the market near for fresh tortillas and this was my meal for two days. Not bad at all.

                  2. Eat_Nopal Jan 22, 2008 12:02 PM

                    La Hacienda cheeses

                    I just tried the Fresco & Requeson I bought over the weekend... the Fresco is a bit moist but has a slightly sweet flavor you will not find in the mass made brands. The Requeson was bland and only suitable for desserts (Cheesecake, Chongos, Bunuelos, Crepes with Requeson & Guava paste etc.,)...

                    1. wearybashful Jan 28, 2008 05:39 PM

                      Any difference between the Dutton and Petaluma Hill Road branches? Because on Dutton you could just cross Sebastopo Road to Mekong and take care of almost any food urges you could think of in one place.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wearybashful
                        rworange Jan 28, 2008 06:36 PM

                        Unless I missed it, the Dutton Lola's doesn't have a deli and is much smaller and less organized. They sell a few pupusas or something in the back.

                      2. Eat_Nopal Feb 4, 2008 08:53 AM

                        Good looking, "exotic" produce currently in stock:

                        > Cactus Paddles (de-thorned or not)
                        > Green Fava Beans
                        > Green Garbanzo Beans
                        > Round Calabacitas
                        > Chilacayota Sqaush
                        > Huazontle
                        > Bumpy Chayote
                        > Watercress

                        Tortillas... they have a stack of 120, unbranded corn tortillas labeled "Para Taquitos"... I believe they have already been brined & peeled... so they are appropriately thin for frying applications.

                        I spotted a lady speaking French into her cell phone, with a bag full of pan dulce and numerous containers of Arroz con Leche.... she never got off the phone... otherwise would have asked her opinon on the Palmiers and other items she selected.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Eat_Nopal
                          kare_raisu Feb 4, 2008 07:45 PM

                          She would have said: Ca ces't magnifique, une vraiment piece de la vielle France y Maximilliano, mais je me souviens Capitane Danjou et la bataille de Camaron, cabron. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_o...

                          Whats the deal with the spiny chayote - any reason o prefer it over regular?
                          EN, what do you mean by brined?

                        2. Eat_Nopal May 4, 2008 08:48 PM


                          Lechugilla.... Basically an Agua Fresca made of a variety of Agave... very refreshing has faint flavors of lime zest & cucumber... packaged sold in the Yogurt / Refrigerated Juices section.

                          Pipicha... excellent quality, very intriguing herb common in Southern Mexico http://edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?id=948

                          Half Rack of Rib Carnitas (about $6 a lb


                          Asiento (Rendered Lard with lots of Cracklings in it)

                          1. d
                            dkenworthy May 5, 2008 09:19 AM

                            I love the chuletas adovada (marinated pork chops) in the butcher section. These are great on the grill. They are cut so thin they cook in minutes, and are great with black beans and corn tortillas. I buy pounds of them for my vineyard crew fiestas, if it is summer I have one grill dedicated to pork, and another for corn and corn tortillas. Yum!

                            1. wearybashful Aug 11, 2008 08:07 PM

                              A little late- finally had the Lola rotisserie chicken. Very yummy. I brought home a tub of mango yogurt too, and that vat of carmel--- standing there, gazing into it's depths, I was strangely drawn... luckily there was a pane of glass between me and it. Boy, that Lola's hot deli case is something. I may never cook again.

                              1. Robert Lauriston Aug 27, 2011 03:34 PM

                                I picked this place at random as we had stopped at Bud's Custom Meats and drove into Santa Rosa (past the unfortunately not yet open Crane Melon Barn) looking for a quick light lunch. Since the tacos in the adjacent restaurant cost $2.59, I figured they would be on the small side, so ordered two, one chile verde and one carnitas. In fact they were huge, each had about as much meat as I'd expect in a burrito (I'd already taken a bite out of the carnitas before I took the photo). Both were excellent. Fresh house-made tortillas. The salsa bar included melon and miniature bananas.

                                Crane Melon Barn
                                4935 Petaluma Hill Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

                                Bud's Custom Meats
                                7750 Petaluma Hill Rd, Penngrove, CA

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  Robert Lauriston Nov 3, 2012 07:02 PM

                                  I'm not sure if there was a special sale or what, but the other day a chile verde taco was only $2. I split the filling between the two tortillas and made two tacos. Absurdly cheap.

                                2. m
                                  Malcolm Ruthven Nov 3, 2012 09:52 PM

                                  Does Lola's have tables/chairs for eating there?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven
                                    Melanie Wong Nov 3, 2012 09:57 PM

                                    Both locations in Santa Rosa have seating. Not sure about the Healdsburg store.

                                    Have not been to Petaluma or Napa locations.


                                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                                      RWCFoodie Nov 4, 2012 08:28 AM

                                      Glad to see this old thread surface again. Still miss Eat Nopal's posts....

                                    2. re: Malcolm Ruthven
                                      Robert Lauriston Nov 4, 2012 08:54 AM

                                      The taqueria has seating.

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