Wednesday, May 06, 2009

La Lupe : Philadelphia

Apologies for disappearing for a bit. An astute reader may have guessed that it's that time of year for final exams and projects. And they indeed would be correct; I've had to focus on non-gustatory related things lately. But I've a slice of time now, so here's a return to form of sorts with a review of La Lupe.

In short, my gf and I had a pretty enjoyable dining experience here. I'm not sure why my pictures make this place seem like a cross between a diner and a bathroom, but in reality, the decor wasn't particularly noticeable, either good or bad.

Mole de Pollo - Chicken w/ poblano mole sauce. That's some nice and natural tasting sauce, where you can taste the poblano chiles and sesame seeds. It was a little bit thicker than I'd prefer with a consistency similar to a thick Chinese hoisin sauce. The refried beans and rice were standard, man o man where the accompanying tortillas fantastic. They're a thicker than what I'm used to, but were obviously homemade, moister than the usual, with a texture almost like a thin pancake, thick crepe.

Taco de bistec - Steak Taco - This was quite good. In fact, I'm almost aghast at thinking it, but this seriously might have been better than the tacos I had in Baja California. The steak was juicy and tender and the thicker hand-made tortillas were a delight in itself. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the guacamole, which just seemed handmade, but didn't add much to the flavoring.
Taco de al Pastor - roast pork taco - Interesting, with onions, tasting strangely almost like cha shao (Chinese roast pork), as if the pork had been marinated in some slightly sweet sauce. Not something I'd get again, but not bad.
Taco carnitas - pork taco - This was surprisingly dry, but not the dryness where the meat has been sitting around too long. Rather, this was a dryness where it had seemed like it had been over-roasted and the juices had leaked out.
These tacos were in an obviously fresh, hand-made tortilla and were slightly thinner than the ones that came with the mole, but still thicker than any other tortilla I've had. But I can't emphasize how good these were; we ended up buying some for making tacos at 3 for $1. (Note that these tortillas are sadly too thick for fish tacos, but would be great for a heartier meat)

Fried Plantains - Quite good. Tasty, not overly sweetened. Moist but not blackened. And not overly oily. The only thing that would make me refrain from swooning and making googly eyes at them was that they didn't quite out piping hot.

Blackberry shake - Thsi was intriguing in that blackberry isn't exactly the first flavor you think of for a milkshake. Sadly, this didn't have the flavor of natural blackberries, rather more like blackberry ice-cream. Shrug.

All in all, I'd recommend giving this place a spin, particularly if it's a dish that comes with their lovely fresh home-made tortillas. Really. Once you try these, you'll never be able to go back to the anemic flour tortillas you find in the stores.

La Lupe
1201 S 9th St Philadelphia, PA 19147 (Map)
(215) 551-9920
Chow | Yelp
($Mexican, $Philadelphia, $Recommended)

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