Yesterday was cold and gray and uninspiring. That is the perfect kind of day to go on a food adventure. This cute little spot recently opened in a shopping center in Pearland. It's tiny, but it's packed with food!
Dining with Brenda and Suzanne
Sometimes I experience new foods with friends who are as clueless as I am. But it's always great going with "food experts" like Brenda and Suzanne! Suzanne (r) and I met about 15 years ago, and I've been lucky enough to sample a bit of her Filipino cooking. But yesterday I had the fun of sampling at least 15 different foods with Suzanne and her friend Brenda.
Ready to go!
It was before noon when we arrived and there were quite a number of diners already eating. We grabbed plates and got ready to hit the buffet. I've eaten Filipino food once before, but I didn't recognize one thing. Suzanne and Brenda were more than happy to point out the various dishes and explain away. Mostly I just grabbed a little of everything and hoped for the best.
The Food Kept Coming
Even after we filled our plates, steaming dishes kept arriving to the buffet. The owner and staff were all welcoming and eager to point out new dish arrivals. They all seemed excited to know that I (a first-timer) was enjoying the food!
As you might notice, there are two plates in front of my empty chair! And that was before I added some more bar-b-q chicken and desserts.
One More Photo
Before digging in, Suzanne grabbed the camera to get me in a photo. I look like I'm leaning in, ready to dive into the plate...and that wasn't even my plate. I hadn't eaten breakfast, so I was starving!
It's a little hard to remember everything I ate, but I tried to be pretty daring. Brenda showed me how to break the cod in half and peel out the bones. I was surprised to find the salty fish pretty tasty. I'm not usually so brave about having tails on my plate. I had no problem at all loving the Tinola soup with melt-in-your-mouth-chicken, or the calamari or the noodle dish!
Clean Plate Club?
It took a little more courage to try the Dinuguan which was a sort of stew with a gravy of pork blood. I just focused on the strong ginger flavor and ignored the word blood. The Kare-Kare was another sort of stew made with oxtails and a great thick peanut sauce which I liked. The Lechon or pork belly was pretty much like eating a square chunk of fatty bacon. I like bacon and had a sample that was more meaty than some. And I had to laugh when I found out my Sisig dish was chopped pig snout. The tiny pieces mixed in with chopped peppers and onions (I think), reminded me of what you might eat rolled in a lettuce wrap at an Americanized Asian restaurant. So it wasn't that daring after all. I can't believe how much I ate and then I sampled some desserts. I liked the sticky rice with sweet, chewy bites and the warm bananas soaked in a brown sugary sauce!
We had one more pose before we left. As I said, the staff was wonderful and offered to take a few photos.
Suzanne and I dropped off Brenda and made the drive back to Sugar Land, jabbering the whole way...to stay awake. I figure the "buddy system" is important for Filipino Feasting. I would have fallen asleep if I'd driven myself home after all that food. It's taken me about a day to get hungry again, but now I'm ready for another bite of that noodle dish or some Tinola soup!
I asked Rhona and her daughter, Jac to help introduce me to food from the Philippines, since Rhona was raised on this food!
1 bonus point right away for experiencing Filipino food with my friend of matching heritage! Thanks, Rho!
We arrived for an early lunch at this tidy little restaurant on Bissonnet in the Alief area of Houston. We had time to absorb the atmosphere before it filled.
1 bonus pt for a cheery greeting from the owner...Ma-an. (at least I think that was her name. Rhona, help?) She seated us by the window beside a tiny stage that is used for karaoke nights! A TV was playing an entertaining, Asian musical show. At least Jac found it rather amusing. (1/2 bonus point there!)
FOOD! yummy "Lumpia" eggrolls with sweet chili sauce
Chicken Adobo, Ginataang Kalabasa, Krispy Pata and Garlic Rice!
I sat back and enjoyed letting Rhona and Jac order. We had more food than we could eat. I remember it as all being tasty, but playing catch up on this blog means I don't remember specifics. I will be better!
4 points out of 5 points for food.
1 bonus point for Rhona teaching me how to properly use my fork to push the food onto my spoon. Wait a minute!! How can I claim this was one of the memorable parts of my dining experience when I can't remember how we did that. Can we go again, Rhona!
By the time our meal was finished, regulars were beginning to fill our small diner. You have to give 1 bonus point for Ma-an, who playfully joined Jac and me at the table for this photo.
Add 1 bonus point for having an authentic Philippine food experience!
9.5 TOTAL BONUS POINTS FOR HOUSE OF CHICKEN!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.