^
Keep Westword Free
4
| Photos |

Photos: Lola Guest Chef Brings Cali-Baja Cuisine to Denver

Lola has been a proponent of Mexican seafood from the day it opened in its original location on Old South Pearl Street in 2002 through the move its current spot in Lower Highland (where it's already a revered old-timer), so welcoming Baja California chef/restaurateur Javier Plascencia for a guest lunch and dinner seemed a natural fit. Dave Query, whose Big Red F restaurant group runs Lola, and culinary director Jamey Fader traveled to Mexico earlier this year to cook and dine with Plascencia at several of his restaurants. And yesterday Lola reciprocated with two meals from the chef, who has earned a reputation as one of the forerunners of a coastal Mexican style of cuisine that combines the best of Baja California components and traditions with Mediterranean techniques and ingredients that have flourished in the region's climate.

Plascencia, who calls his cooking style "Cali-Baja," points out that the Baja peninsula not only produces top-caliber seafood — like the firm, sweet Baja scallops he served in an bracing and spicy aguachile dish — but also is becoming known for its vineyards and olive orchards. After a difficult period of violence and reduced tourism because of Mexico's drug cartels, the chef says, the region has been revitalized, and his restaurants, including several in Tijuana and Ensenada and the new Bracero Cocina de Raiz in San Diego, are flourishing. Bracero is up for a James Beard Foundation award for Best New Restaurant this year.

Although the dishes that Plascencia presented were part of a one-day affair, Query and Fader's experiences on their trip — which Fader calls "life-changing" — have rubbed off on Lola's menu, and several new dishes are available on the spring menu. You won't see those firm Baja scallops, which had to be flown in the night before for Plascencia's lunch and dinner, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. Keep reading for more photos of the Javier Plascencia lunch.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.