Proprietors/Executive Chef: Nicole Ponseca, Enzo Lim and Noel Cruz/Miguel Trinidad
East Village – 111 First Ave, New York, NY
Quite Homey & Cozy..yeah sure, I think I’ll take my shoes off. Nothing fancy here…but that’s all part of the charm. There’s something so comfortable that brings immediate nostalgic memories of your dad sitting in the living room, with those old school TVs before the plasma days…and the remote control still wrapped in plastic. YES, plastic. I’m talking about THOSE days. Those days are not forgotten. the space is a bit on the tighter side…and for that, my preference would be bar seating. Absolutely bar seating. The bartender was so nice and off the rocker, I thought he would almost jump off a cliff for us. Generous and big-hearted. You can tell the type. He was excited to describe all the goodies that came out…and you can tell there is some serious passion there.
if you haven’t guessed…it’s Filipino food. pure and authentic. I have tried a few in the city, and this is the BEST yet. I haven’t tried kuma inn yet… but I don’t know. maharlika is sitting pretty top notch for me. i need to explore more to prove to me otherwise. The menu is pretty meat intensive, from appetizers to main entrees…so . As a side, we got what seems to be an eggplant dip. So for all you vegetarians, there is a plentiful list of vegetable side dishes that can compliment the fried rice. Filipino food in particular is very heavy & rich… with native dishes like the sizzling sisig dish, combining 3 pig part of ears, snout & belly, grilled and sauteed. Unfortunately, they ran out that day????? So we settled for another pork dish, Tapsilog.
Puqui Puqui. Roasted, puréed eggplant, tomato, sibuyas
It’s that simple. I heart eggplant. It felt naked without any pita bread though. And eating it with rice, is just plain strange.
Tapsilog. 7-up cured pork tenderloin w/ garlic fried rice & egg on top
Good…but the pork was quite salty, so wish the rice to meat ratio would be 3:1
Kare Kare. Oxtails braised in peanut butter with long beans, bok choy, eggplant
Simply divine. More so if you like peanut butter, because the sauce itself is killer over rice. The oxtail was braised long enough to be super tender. Very thick & rich. Highly encouraged to eat it with white rice.
Bravery sometimes comes at a cost…That day, I was not brave enough to try their balut (fertilized duck egg). Which is fine by me…. at $4 a pop, I think they should be paying customers to task them the challenge to finish it in its entirety. Growing up, my mom LOVES eating fertilized duck eggs with Vietnamese Coriander (rau ram), which we call hot vit lon. My mother, being the sweetheart that she is (half sarcastically smiling) would always give me the yolk … the actual half of the egg that has been incubated….The other half, (embryo) can vary anywhere between 16-20 days. So if you’re lucky to get an older egg, you will see a beak, some feathers and bones really developed….OH, my line of vision can’t handle it…much less my stomach… I think the only reason why I eat this is for the Vietnamese Coriander dipped in salt and pepper. Such were the simple days… Maybe one day, courage will strike and find me again.