Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Day/Night Out: La Estacion & J. Lotti's Bar

Last week Friday, I was asked to lunch and dinner out with friends. Two meals out in one day is a rarity for me, but I jumped at the chance to get out of the office and out of the house.

For lunch, a few coworkers and myself went to La Estacion. I hadn't been here for lunch in years and Mexican food was just what I needed. We were asked if we wanted the buffet, but we declined. I wasn't sure what was all on it, and one of my coworkers is a little leary of buffets if he isn't familiar with the place. We were sat in the corner of the main dining room which has very high ceilings and painted a light yellow - really brightens up the windowless room.

If you aren't familiar, La Estacion (The Station) used to be an old train station in Waukesha and you can actually eat in a train car if you are so inclined. They are a little cozy, but great for a large group, because you will get the car to yourself. The train tracks that cut Waukesha in half go right behind the train cars as well. They have a really nice outdoor patio that I enjoyed last year for Carroll's Homecoming and with Good Friend Inc. ladies after a great event a month or so back.

I apologize that I have no images for La Estacion, but the website has a video and galleries to view by clicking here

Anyways, back to lunch. I have had their flautas many times and it had been a while since I had them, so I again got shredded chicken flautas with rice and beans. Another coworker got the taco salad with beef and the other got three tacos a la carte style. The menu is endless and if I would have read any longer, I probably would have found twenty other dishes to try, but I decided to keep it simpler for lunch.

We dug into the chips, salsa and pico de gallo while we waited. The tortilla chips are made in house and served warm. Neither the pico de gallo nor salsa are too spicy, but definitely hit the spot while waiting for the meal.

It didn't take long to get the food and it was just as good as I remembered. The crispy flautas come with sour cream and lettuce on top. I was able to polish off two complete flautas and started on the third, but it was too much for me. The rice and beans are decent, but the flautas are a savory, crunchy combo that just hits the spot for me. My coworkers liked their food as well and we were able to chat, order, chat, eat, chat, pay and get back all in an hour.


That evening, I met a group of friends at J.Lotti's for the famous Waukesha Chicken and Fish Fry. While we waited for more friends to arrive, I got a drink at the bar and chatted a bit. Drinks are reasonably priced but you do have to pay your tab at the bar as they can't transfer it to your table. Shortly after the rest of the group arrived, and no sooner after we sat, than a large group came in the door and filled the remaining tables (talk about perfect timing!!)

We sat at two hightop tables in the middle aisle of the restaurant. Everyone decided to go with the fish fry and here's the breakdown. It's $14 and all-you-can-eat fried chicken, poor man's lobster (baked haddock with melted butter), beer battered haddock, french fries, coleslaw, rye bread and hush puppies! Isn't that insane? You can order all three proteins or any combination you wish and as much as you want on re-orders as well. No one at our table went with chicken, but we all ordered some combo of baked or fried fish.

The coleslaw, bread, fries and hush puppies come out family style in baskets and we helped ourselves to that right away. They want you to fill up on that stuff before the fish and chicken comes out to you don't eat as much I bet. We paced ourselves and waited patiently for our fish. The rye bread was super soft and perfect with the almost melted butter that came with it. I didn't have the coleslaw but the overall discussion at the table was that it was great. I had a few fries and they are just like Culver's crinkle fries. The hush puppies are awesome but I still haven't figured out what best to dip them in. If you haven't had one before its cornbread with onion and peppers in it. I tried tartar, mayo and ketchup so far, but nothing really hit the spot, so I eat them plain.

Super soft marble rye - J.Lotti's
Hush puppies & fries - J.Lotti's
While we were waiting, my friend Brandon showed up, and he isn't a fish fry guy, so he ordered the hog wings. I worked at J.Lotti's for one day right after they opened and realized it wasn't for me, but in that day, I learned that the hog wings were amazing! It is pork on a stick with mild or hot sauce on them and you eat them just like Buffalo Wings. We got our fish and he waited quite a while for the wings. On a Friday when the place is known for their fish, they sometimes forget they have other items on their menu, and those other items take a while to come out of the kitchen.

My plate came with three gigantic pieces of haddock, lemon wedges and tartar. I didn't remember getting this much the last time I was here, and I knew for sure that I wouldn't be in need of a second helping. The baked haddock looked wonderful and one person in the group ended up ordering twice more. I like baked fish, but sometimes it can be just a bit too "fishy" for me and I just went with my safe go-to and went with fried.

It's a heavier breading, but I liked it. The lemon added great tang to the supposed "Yuengling" beer batter and made it really scrumptious. (The reason for the "" on the beer is because you cannot get Yuengling in Wisconsin yet, so I'm not sure how the beer batter is made or if it comes pre-made that way.) I finished two pieces of fish and offered my third untouched piece to my friend as she was already taking home one whole piece and coleslaw. She gladly took it and filled her to-go box so full it was bursting at the seams.

The hog wings looked much larger than I remember but smelt delicious and spicy (the cook put hot sauce instead of mild on them and I think Brandon didn't want to wait forever for the correction and ate them with the hot). He said they were really good and filling. He did order a water and Fat Tire right away when they arrived, probably in case they were too spicy. J. Lotti's does have $2 Miller Lite taps to go with the fish fry, but I went with Fat Tire as well.

Hog Wings - J.Lotti's
Fat Tire - J.Lotti's
So if you are in need of a fish fry to feed any appetite, J. Lotti's is your place, and if you want an awesome margarita, mojito and Mexican food, check out La Estacion. Carroll Homecoming is this weekend, so I might end up at La Estacion again :) Until then, Happy Eating!

1 comment:

  1. La Estacion is a beloved Waukesha institution. I like their brunch and their tacos de lomo with avocado. Not sure about J. Lotti's. I've been there twice since they opened and the food was just ok. Never had the fish fry, though.