It felt amazing to go home last weekend. It’s been almost year since I hopped on 57 East and drove across the country to my new gig in Kansas. Over the last year, I’ve visited San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Vegas….but last weekend was the first time in almost a year since I’ve stepped foot in Southern California.
We’ve made a home in Kansas…but my heart and my roots are still locked up in California.
For the last few months, I was looking forward to this homecoming — flying in San Diego and eating a yummy home-cooked meal. I kept telling my parents that I was tired of American food. Sadly, I don’t have the time to devote to whipping up chicken adobe or pansit. I know how to make both dishes!
So on this weekend – I ignored my diet and indulged in some really good comfort food. Plus, I managed to fit in a jog down N. Barranca Ave. in Covina. That should have helped knock off a couple hundred calories. Still, I wanted to taste home and a stupid diet wasn’t going to get in the way of that.
Crispy lichon. Thank God I’m still a carnivore! I toyed with the idea of going veggie for this diet andI figured that would be torture in Kansas – one of the top beef producing states in the U.S. As for this fab spread of Filipino food, I headed straight for the crispy pigskin. Crunchy golden skin with a nice layer of pig fat underneath. It tasted like biting into juicy and meaty bliss. Yes, it’s oh-so-bad for me! But heck, the last time I checked, my cholesterol levels and other body stats were good for a gal like me…about 2 years away from 30.
This is my recent favorite dish by my dad – his version of the Thai laarb…heavy on the patis. Last year, we brought home Thai food for dinner and this dish. My dad said he could make it and a few days later, he did. My mom said that’s his gift — he can take someone else’s entree and reproduce it at home. This laarb had a nice meaty bite, tang from the patis and some nice lime overtones. A few years ago, my favorite Dad dish was mushroom steak – heavy on the mushroom cream…I loved dipping rice into that sauce.
Ahhh lumpia — a fantastic introduction to Filipino cuisine. Very user friendly. I tell newbies it’s like Chinese egg rolls, but it taste better 🙂 Inside, you get bitefuls of ground beef, noodles, carrots, onions and other veggies. It’s fried up to make the skin crispy and smoky. Sometimes, I lose track of how many lumpias I’ve popped into my mouth – which is dangerous to anybody watching her waist line.
Mark tried more of the adventurous dishes…pink stuff, egg plant and stew…he was trying to find the ox tail and couldn’t…so he was a little bummed about that. As for myself, childhood memories makes me a wuss when it comes to those dishes. After watching and reading books by Anthony Bourdain and reading columns by Jeffery Steingarten — I know I’m missing out on a world of flavors…ignoring the mung beans, the egg plant and other savory dishes the rest of my family digs into with gusto. I was a stupid kid…easily influenced by the fucking cookie cutter meals other American kids grew-up with, like macaroni and cheese, hot dogs…stuff that’s pleasing to the eyes. And it soooo bugs me when anybody tells me “Just try it.” Because that’s insulting my memory, which is pretty darn good. Yes, I did try that dish, back when I was 10 years old…back when I couldn’t leave the table until it was finished…leaving a bitter taste in my memory of flavors. I’m not sure what I can do to get over my psychological hang-up on these dishes. Mentally, I want to be able to eat anything…and when it comes to other ethnic meals, I do! Escargot, tripe, chicken feet…and more. But there’s something I have to do to wipe the slate clean in my mind and on my tounge, to go back to those Filipino dishes. The ones that take more of an open mind…Something. Suggestions are welcome.
This piece from our wedding cake was more than a year old. Tradition has married couples take a bite of their wedding cake on their one year anniversary. My parents had it in their freezer and my dad thawed it out on the day we back to So. Cal. Mark and I did out married duty and ate the cake for breakfast. We were surprised it still tasted good – the cake was moist and sweet…and it didn’t taste old. Wow. Good job on preserving it! That tradition should ensure a happy marriage for a least a few more years…I’m sure.
On our way down to San Diego, we stopped by the Cafe Bagelry on Arrow Highway. I picked up this yummy egg, bacon and cheese bagel sandwich on a Cheese Onion Bagel. Tasty!