Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Restaurant Review: El Techo de Lolinda, San Francisco CA

on March 9, 2014

Jene and I spent last night in San Francisco to help celebrate our friend Darren’s 40th birthday party. Our first stop was a place new to us called El Techo de Lolina. It’s Latin American food served on the roof of the building. It’s kind of cool because it’s this big open space with clear plastic tents and heaters above the seating so you can look out over the city. We got there just as the rest of our friends were leaving but we opted to stay and eat, then catch up later.

The menu isn’t huge. A few small plate options, some meat options and some sandwiches plus dessert. We’ll come back to the dessert part 😉

After looking over the menu we decided to order the ceviche which we both adore, the empanadas, a skewer of steak and the chicharrones. I’ll start with the ceviche. It comes out in a large goblet style dish with a side of corn chips. The first thing you notice is that the shrimp are HUGE. And there’s a ton of them. There’s shreds of radish and onions and cubes of avocado in with the shrimp. The menu says “shrimp, lime, roasted tomato, red onion, cucumber, avocado, cilantro” but I think it’s one of those recipes that gets changed up depending on who’s making it. The waitress told me it also had pineapple juice in it with the lime juice. I was resigned to delicately picking my way around the cilantro and grimacing when I got a bit and suddenly everything tasted like soap. BUT!! I don’t know where they got their cilantro but it wasn’t soapy and I actually enjoyed it. The other thing that stunned me was to find out that there was habanero pepper in the ceviche. All I got was a pleasant, gentle sensation of heat in my mouth that complemented the dish rather than leaving me gulping water and blowing my nose. I wish I could have brought home a gallon or two of this stuff because it was that fabulous.

eltechoceviche

The pictures are from their website because I was way too busy stuffing my face to take my own. This picture actually does them a disservice because the actual dish we got had way more shrimp. I thought about drinking the left over marinade but decided that would be a bit much. 😉

Next was the chicharrones. I love me some dead pig. Even better I love me some slow cooked, deep fried, dead pig. You order it by the half pound. Jene and I only got a half pound because we wanted to try several other things too. I wish we’d ordered a whole pig or two’s worth lol.

eltechochiccarones

The menu describes the dish “Not your basic side-walk cracklins! Here we have roasted and fried chunks of pork-shoulder with house made tortillas, lime, salsa, escabech.” The tan item on the side that looks sort of like a friend corn tortilla is actually a big piece of deep friend pork skin. I ate most of it by dipping it in the chimichurri sauce which I’ll rave about in a bit. The meat was nice and crispy on the outside but fell apart when I tried to stab it with my fork. I have GOT to figure out how they make this dish. Driving to SF every time I want some would get pricey pretty fast lol.

Empanadas… “ground beef, potatoes, egg, raisins, chimichurri” The ingredients listed are wrapped in a pastry shell and baked or fried depending on who makes them. Honestly, this dish was disappointing. The flavor was very bland and the potatoes overcooked. I couldn’t taste the egg or the raisins. On the other hand, it’s how I got introduced to the chimichurri. Chimichurri is a condiment common in Latino food but one I’ve always avoided because it’s main ingredient is the dreaded cilantro. Or at least so I thought! My knowledge up until now has consisted of watching people make it on Food Network and it was always super heavy on the cilantro. After eating the ceviche and realizing how mellow the cilantro was I decided to give the chimichurri a try. I was blown away by how good it is. And after doing some research online I found out that the recipe actually calls for parsley and/OR cilantro. So I can make this again for myself without needing magic cilantro, hooray! It pretty much looks like a pesto sauce but has more tang from the vinegar and lime juice. I spent the whole meal dipping my food in it.

Carne skewer: flap meat, onion, zucchini, panca glaze. It was cubes of beef on a stick with veggies and a bit of sauce. It was good but it didn’t make me giggle from it being so good. I think I would just skip this next time and order more chicharrones.

And finally we come to dessert. One of the benefits of living in a large metro area is the access to amazing chocolate dishes. When I was a kid I hated chocolate with a passion. When I moved to Kansas City and had a wider range of brands to choose from I came to realize that I didn’t hate chocolate, I just hated CHEAP chocolate. Try enjoying Hershey’s after eating a Lindor truffle if you want to know what I’m talking about. Anyway, enough of my chocolate snobbery… One of the desserts listed is “Maria’s Ganachecayanne-cinnamon chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, seasonal fruit.” I ordered that and Jene ordered the “Tres leches – sponge cake, milks, whipped cream.”

I giggle when I eat something really good. I can’t help it, my taste buds are dancing around in my mouth and I can’t hide the enjoyment. The moment I put the first bite in my mouth I started giggling. I couldn’t stop giggling. Jene is staring at me across the table and telling me to stop giggling but I couldn’t lol. I did finally get it under control but wow, this stuff was incredible. The bottom of the cake is a super dense, rich but not bitter chocolate cake. It’s topped with about 1/3 of an inch of smooth, creamy ganache. Then the berries and graham cracker crust crumbles. It’s service in a short fat 1/2 pint jar. Their website doesn’t have a picture but it’s a really pretty presentation. My seasonal fruit was strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. As I was getting to the bottom of the dish Jene told me that if I started licking it he was leaving. I hadn’t even thought of that so I promptly started licking the dish. I told the waiter that I had a serious problem.. with a look of concern and worry he asked me what the problem was. “My tongue isn’t long enough to lick the bottom of the dish.” Fortunately he thought I was funny 😉

So I give this place major thumbs up and highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to try in the city. The prices aren’t bad either for city dining. Jene and I spent about $85 with the tip. We didn’t drink much, he had a beer and I had a soda but still that’s quite reasonable. I look forward to trying it during the summer when the plastic walls are rolled up and we can get an even better view of the city.

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