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3:58 p.m., Feb. 19
Adrian Gonzalez used to come in here after the Padres home games with some of his teammates, such aas Will Venable.
“One minute you’d be seeing them playing live on these TV screens, the next minute they’d be in here,” says Enrique Vazquez. “And, believe me, in real life they look way taller, way bigger.”
I’m standing at the counter in Lolita’s at the Park (202 Park Boulevard, 619-269-6055).
It’s not just a tourist trap for baseball fans — Lolita's roots go deep into Chula Vista.
My adobada and potato tacos
It started out as one shop on Telegraph Canyon Road about 25 years ago. Now they have five places. This is in one of the new condo buildings that have sprouted up around Petco Park. No game tonight, though, so the place isn’t exactly crawling with people.
I’d seen the neon sign shining all the way from the trolley stop at 12th and Imperial. Kept meaning to try it out, but something always came up, like my bus or trolley. Tonight I have time. Stomach has the space.
And it turns out you’ve gotta have time here. Just look at their logo: “Patience is the essence of fine Mexican food.”
“That’s because we make each order from scratch,” says Enrique. “Usually it’ll be about 15 minutes. At game time it could be 30, 45 minutes.”
Wow. Is it worth it?
I order a potato taco ($2.25) and an adobada (pork) taco ($2.80). Sit down at a table near the rack of window booths.
“This was the last place I ate at before I deployed, and the first place I came back to, after seven months,” says TJ.
He’s sitting here chowing down on a carne asada burrito ($4.75). His wife Bri has just put away a shredded beef taco ($2.50).
Bri and TJ
“That was a good taco," says Bri, "but my favorite is the carne asada fries ($5.39; $8.62, large). You get about three meals out of the large one. And everything’s kind of rough-made. You can tell it hasn’t come out of machines. I love that.”
TJ’s on the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship. Got back two weeks ago. They’ve come down from PB for this.
Enrique brings my carne asada — and it was about 15 minutes — with the adobada piled on a flat corn tortilla loaded with guac, tomato chunks, onions, and that red, sizzling meat. The potato taco’s folded and wrapped in paper.
Honestly, the potato one’s pretty bland. Mash with two cheeses and some shredded lettuce, seems like. Green salsa helps zap it up.
But the adobada? Juicy, marinated, messy. Very corn-tasting corn tortilla adds to the taste. This is one beautiful taco.
And if I hadn’t had to work tonight I’d have had a draft PBR beer for $2.55 to go with it.
So I sit, guzzling into that pork. Heh-heh...can just imagine Adrian Gonzalez shivering in Boston, dreaming of warm evening games in Petco Park, and right after the game, that cool beer and hot adobada taco to look forward to at Lolita's.
Time to transfer back, Adrian?