First Bites

Loba in MiMo: Zesty "On Guard" Swordfish and Frida's Secret Brownie Brittle (Photos)

Loba is Spanish for she-wolf, which is exactly what Jessica Sanchez is. "The name came to me in a moment in my life where I felt like I evolved into what my definition of a loba is," says the 28-year-old restaurant owner. "Someone who just fights and hunts for what they want. Someone who doesn't let fear get in the way of their pursuit."

Nothing has stopped the former financial analyst and real estate agent from following in the footsteps of her parents and opening her own restaurant. The concept for the food -- Latin spice meets Southern comfort -- is as unassuming and humble as Sanchez and the rest of her team.

Short Order was invited to get a taste of Loba's offerings.

See also: A Look at Loba: Latin and Literary Flavors Meet Friday in MiMo

Sanchez grew up in the restaurant industry -- her parents owned a chain of famous Colombian restaurants by the name of Patacon. When Jessica quit her job, her mom foresaw what her daughter's next move was going to be (moms and their damn intuition).

"She told me, 'I really hope you don't do what I think you're about to do," Sanchez said. "I now understand why she said that. The restaurant industry is no joke." Sanchez is joined by her mom in the kitchen, who is sharing her knowledge and recipes with her daughter and Loba chef de cuisine Robert Errichetti bringing the contemporary side to Loba. "There are some recipes she won't give up and we want to be an integral part of the menu, like her Patacon, but other things we are doing our own way and learning as we go along."

First thing's first -- Loba starts you out with some Zac the Baker bread and homemade butter, with passion fruit. Though you may want to slather this fruity butter on like lotion, stick to eating.

Citrus ceviche ($12) comes two ways and accompanied by crispy-thin plantains and guacamole. "It was supposed to be served just with the red tomato based sauce, but we had a lot of people ask for a more traditional ceviche lime juice based preparation, so we added a second." Loba's all about a homey atmosphere -- let Jessica know what you want or think and she'll work on making it happen.

Vincent Van Gogh might be rolling in his grave to know there are fried goat cheese balls ($11) named after him, but who cares? Local honey makes the Vincent Van Goat a sweet gesture and one worth ordering.

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Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.

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