|Chopping up a deep fried pig trotter for our crispy pata at Lamesa|
I am getting to the end of my winter rope over here and I know I am not alone. It is mid march and I am still wearing boots and a puffy, down parka and I object. To warm ourselves up last Sunday, we slathered ourselves in stinky suntan lotion, dug out the flip flops and made a big batch of ceviche so we could fool ourselves that summer was just around the corner. It didn't last long but for for a brief moment I forgot that I still had to ice the frozen pond out back so that we wouldn't break a hip out there.
The day before, we ventured out to the west end to visit The Deppaneur for the first time. I was not really sure what this place was all about but I registered for a tamale workshop next week and thought I would do my due diligence and see what it's all about. This place offers all sorts of workshops, drop in dinners by guests chefs, a supperclub where it seems like anyone who wants to host can cook a meal and sell seats to members of the supperclub who want to attend. On the weekends, Jonna Pederson hosts a brunch service with a revolving menu. Chiliaquiles happened to be on the March menu and I love chilaquiles so I dragged the boys out there and I was very happy that I did. It's a very homey, cosy spot that feels more like eating at somebody's house than in a restaurant and the food was quite good. My only complaint about my dish was that they were were a bit too soupy but the chili sauce that she made to poach the tortillas in was spot on and delicious, so I wasn't really complaining. The giant, jenga like stack of deep fried french toast sticks that The Kid devoured were insantely tasty. They kind of tasted like a fried banana married a piece of french toast and had a cornflake baby. I am super excited for my tamale workshop next week and look forward to another visit, perhaps to try a drop in meal.
|chilaquiles at The Depanneur made me happy|
|french toast rolled in cornflakes and deep fried jenga extravaganza YES YES YES|
The thing I was really looking forward to was the chance to taste some of the treats on the new menu at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen on Monday night. I am a very lucky girl who gets invited to some fun food events from time to time and it allows me to eat at all kinds of new places. Last month I had my first taste of Chef Rudy Boquila's amped up Filipino cooking when I ate his arroz caldo at Recipe for Change and I am absolutely telling you the truth when I say that I have not stopped thinking about that humble little bowl of rice congee since. Just ask my cohort, Heather from The Tasty Gardener. I can't shut up about the stuff and have been scouring the internet looking for the perfect recipe so I can make it.
I know very little about Filipino food. When my kid was little, we hung out most days at a drop in centre in our neighbourhood and we were usually surrounded by a gaggle of lovely Filipino women who would unload endless tupperware containers at lunch time. They shared the afternoon meal with each other and would always make The Kid a little plate and took great delight in his eagerness to wolf down everything they put in front of him. I will be honest and admit that it looked like nothing but noodles and chicken adobo in every container and I never thought of it as anything interesting enough to pursue. I am woman enough to admit that I am, sometimes, an idiot.
When asked to describe Filipino food, co owner Les Sbiliano said:
“...a native Malay cook with a Chinese roommate, being taught by a Spanish chef with a love affair for everything American.”
|is there anything more endearingly obnoxious than a gaggle of food bloggers on the loose in a restaurant?|
A whack of food bloggers and journalists were invited to Lamesa to come and check out their new, revamped space and taste some of the items on the menu, which has also been recently revised. I have never been there before, so it was all new to me. The restaurant is quite cosy and warm with little modern touches to contrast their whacky bar area. Someone described it as a Filipino tiki bar, which is pretty fitting. As soon as Heather and I sat down, we were given a cocktail - so civilized. The Lolo Cool J was so full of spicy ginger that it gave a bit of a scotch burn on the way down and I mean that in the best way. I almost left the pineapple chunks in my glass until Heather elbowed me and gestured to my glass. The pineapple, soaked in ginger and bourbon was the best part and almost like a cocktail dessert. It went down way to easily and it was a very good thing that nobody offered me a second. The third drink, a Tita Baby, was not my jam at all. It was a mixture of mango, Bailey's and Malibu and although I was the lone dissenter at the table, malibu tastes like copperone to me and I couldn't drink more than one small sip. All of the ladies were oohing and ahhing and everyone said it tasted like vacation to them but it just tasted like tanning beds and old ladies to me. My vacation generally tastes like chewy red wine so I am clearly some sort of anomaly. The surprise drink, for me, was the shandy made from San Miguel beer with a splash of calamansi juice and I suspect this is going to be my new summer drink as soon as I can source the calamansi juice at one of my asian grocery stores.
|those are calamansi fruit which look like a key lime taste like the love child of a lime and a lemon|
|The Filipino answer to fried chicken and waffles|
My favourite item from the brunch menu was the pulled sarsi pork on corn/cocnut pancakes. Sarsi is a sasparilla soft drink popular thoughout southeast asia that is supposed to be similar to root beer so it gives the pork a nice, sweetness that sets it apart from the popular, smoky bbq version that shows up on every menu these days. It put me in mind of fried chicken and waffles and as far as brunch goes, there is nothing better than meat on a waffle or a pancake with something syrupy drizzled over the whole shebang.
As far as the main menu, if I was told that I could eat nothing but the Arroz Caldo and Crispy Pata for the rest of my life, I would die happy. I actually had to ask for a second plate of the pata because I just needed a few more bites of this ridiculously crispy skinned pork trotter. Of the three dipping sauces, I think I liked their house made red pepper hot sauce the best and since they sent us home with a jar of it, it will be going on everything until I run out and have to go get some more.
I did not manage to get a good picture of the crispy pata because it was quite dark at the back of the restaurant, where were seated. Right after the first plate Heather fashioned us a little studio under one of the wall mounted lights but it was too late to capture the pork.
|the girl is a genius|
As I have already said, the Arroz Caldo is the second thing that will bring me back time and time again. This is basically chinese congee jacked up with what I think is fish sauce, sesame oil, some charred sweet corn kernels, nori and a tuile of deep fried chicken skin
|GET OUT OF TOWN|
Chef Rudy promised Heather and I that when we come back he will give us a little plate of fried chicken skin to snack on like they are wings- a little bit of poultry chicharron or chickarron as I am going to call it. You might have noticed a common thread here - I love fried skin and I cannot like. Some other brothers can deny.
|chicken adobo on a bed of garlic puree|
|Bicol Express Fries - fries smothered with a coconut and bagoon caramel|
|Turon French Toast - like bread pudding wrapped in a wonton wrapper YUM|
|Halo Halo, probably the weirdest dessert I have ever tried. Like the rum drink, not for me but others seemed to love it|
|a batch of chili verde to use in an upcoming recipe that I am working on kept me busy|
|Tuesday it was +7C and I got to walk this dude down at the beach|
|Wednesday. The day after my +7C beach day. I am not shitting you|
|sorry, leftover chunk of pork is all you get but it is a tasty bit of pork|
While the pork was cooking in the crock pot, Shack took me out for dim sum at Perfect, our regular spot in Scarborough.
|who doesn't love green beans with spicy pork?|
|I love all manner of steamed dumplings|
Pin of the week: I would hurt someone for those green cabinets
Facebook share of the week: too gorgeous to be food
Instagram of the week: this just looks like summer to me......SOB
Tweet of the week:
Bright, Zesty, Sweet & Savory Lemon Recipes, like Lemon Honey Tart w/Salted Shortbread Crust: http://t.co/Z3sDVsJCB8 pic.twitter.com/2lrvXvre3i
— epicurious (@epicurious) March 10, 2014