It starts with cheese

Cutting into a pork chop
Eating at Lolo | Photo by Lauren Girardin

To celebrate my final day of work, last night Todd and I grabbed bar-side seats at Lolo, possibly the best restaurant in San Francisco, as long as you are willing to bask in Turkish-Latin American fusion.

Our intended mission was to devour an order of octopus tiradito, so that when we visit Turkey we could write about Lolo’s version of this Turkish-derived dish of thinly sliced then spiced octopus terrine. After finishing our cephalopod appetizer, out came the next dish, a pork chop topped with a pat of quickly melting white and blue we-didn’t-know-what.

“What’s that?” I asked.

Caldo, behind the bar at Lolo's, shares his Barcelona advice
Caldo gives Barcelona advice | Photo by Lauren Girardin

The man behind the bar identified the mysterious substance as Cabrales, a Northern Spanish cheese traditionally wrapped in fig leaves and aged in caves. I replied “Hey, that’s great, we’ll look for it when we’re in Spain in a couple of months.”

It turns out the man behind the bar, who goes by Caldo, hails from Spain. My offhand future-focused comment was all it took to get him rattling off restaurants worth a visit in Barcelona.

Caldo raved most about La Champañería, a small, hip restaurant where jamon hangs from the ceiling. While there, he said we should expect to indulge exclusively in cava (sparkling wine) costing just a few Euros a bottle, which we’d drink out of cups so small they hold only a few sips. There’d be fantastic bocadillos (sandwiches) and tapas too. He also warned us about La Champañería’s house rule that they won’t serve you a second bottle of cava, since one is more than enough to give a good buzz.

'Octopus Tiradito' at Lolo's
Octopus Tiradito | Photo by Lauren Girardin

So here we are, still in San Francisco, yet looking forward to a specific Spanish meal because of a simple question about cheese.