My country, the Philippines, land of gold and flowers, it was love that, as per her fate, offered up beauty and splendor. And with her refinement and beauty, the foreigner was enticed; Bayan Ko – a traditional Filipino song I did not grow up Pinoy. I am, apologies to all Jews and Filipinos, a pin-goy. I am the enticed foreigner, the dayuhan, or stranger, encapsulated in the lyrics of “Bayan Ko”, the patriotic anthem of the Philippines quoted above. I am mesmerized by the majesty of Filipino food.
If you want a great hangover cure, look no further than international breakfast foods. Down a French croque madame — a ham and gruyere-stuffed sandwich topped with an egg — after throwing a few back, and you’re golden the next morning. Kill a full Irish breakfast, including black pudding (which is not really pudding, but blood sausage), and you’re also probably going to feel better. And so it goes.
One of the great demands of reviewing restaurants is the overarching need to cover the new and the hip. In doing so, the places that have been executing something really good for so long often get overlooked. So for the next month or so, I’m dedicating myself to writing about good neighborhood places, the mom & pops and the small, authentic ethnic joints that get lost amid the pomp and circumstance of celebrity chefdom.
There are a half-dozen penguins gathered on a high ledge. It’s not clear how they got there or what their purpose is. They could be suicidal, biding their last minutes while peering gingerly over the edge, contemplating the hot bath of ginger-chicken porridge or the searing splash that awaits in a duo of over-easy eggs perfumed with sesame oil below.
Every writer suffers from at least a touch of melancholy. As a food writer, though, my touches of depression are not from anything as pedestrian as the existential weight of the world.