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Jan 21, 2008 12:34 PM

An Ode to Lola [Santa Rosa]

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

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            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

        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

          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 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


            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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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.

            1. 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. 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. 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

                    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

                      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. 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.,)...