Sunday, January 04, 2004

Bahay Kubo in Temple Blvd in Los Angeles

Hmm, it's been a while since I reviewed or discussed food. So, it's about time to point your fingers to Bahay Kubo in the city of Los Angeles. I believe that the restaurant used to be called Manila Gardens in the 1980's. My high school friends and I went there sometime in 1987 a year after high school. It was disappointing because of the high price and the small servings of adobo and other ulam. Frankly, we were still hungry after the meal. It didn't help that the singger serving as hostess for the evening asked 7 college guys, "Where's the girls?" Yeah, we're losers. Why don't you point it out to everyone? I swore that I would never step in that place ever again.

At any rate, Bahay Kubo is a typical karinderia with no frills and no thrills. The set-up is laid out for karaoke singing on the weekend with a large television dominating the eating space. The restaurant is spacious, but the parking space is not. As for the décor, this is a karinderia. For some reason, Pin@ys just don't pay attention to the décor. So long as the place is clean and there are no dogs or cats, it's okay.

As you enter, you see in the middle of the restaurant a table full of puto and desserts laid out to seduce your sweet tooth. I ended up getting some maja which is a sweet puto with corn. The first serving I saw was enough for fifty people. I ended up with a pie-like maja enough for eight people. I never tasted this maja before so I need a second serving to really get the gist of it. But it was sweet and dominated by the rice base of puto. Interspersed within the puto was the shredded corn.

We ordered turo-turo style. I had the pansit palabok and the adobong manok. From a distance, the adobo looked magnificent. The pansit palabok looked delectable. And the whole menu just plain looked great. The fried chicken was huge. The pusit was lovely in its sauce of ink. The gulay was fresh looking. The oxtail in the kare-kare looked inviting. (But with the crazy mad cow disease, beef and specifically oxtail is out of the game.) The warming lights gave everything this beautiful golden color.

However, if you remember, I am a member of the adobo guild of bloggers. I am a connoiseur when it comes to adobo. The adobo served at Bahay Kubo was average. The chicken is not falling off the bones. Because of the difficulty getting the meat out of the bone, I wondered just how cooked the chicken was. The taste was mediocre. The adobo probably could have used more salt and more vinegar. How can you screw up adobo such that it comes out average? I believe that every adobo should be delicious. Damn it! This dish defines Pin@y!

As for the pansit palabok, the sauce had a paste like texture. It was like biting into puto. There was no kalamansi or lemon for the pansit which pretty much means that your tongue drowns in the richness of the sauce. Not very good. Goldilock's in Richmond has a better palabok. And by the way, I was hungry when we ate there. I should have been instantly won over with some good food. Perhaps the one reason to go to this place is to eat the puto. Simply wonderful. Or maybe, I should have ordered the fried chicken. And how come Bahay Kubo did not have dinuguan? What the hell?

Oh, one bitch. When I paid, I gave 13 dollars. But since there were only 9 turons instead of 10, the total went from 12.45 to 11.95. Instead of returning the dollar, the woman who I can only assume is the owner from the way she acted took the dollar. I can tell from the way she quickly folded the money that she knew what she was doing. For my part, I gave the money before the change in the price. I thought she would return it.

I have this thing for trying to determine the future of people or a company. From this experience of food and thievery, I can predict that this restaurant will have something bad happen to it. For those in the LA area, can you please post if something bad does happen to Bahay Kubo? It would be interesting to see how my predictions comes out.

Verdict: Tatang says go to Nanay Gloria for your Pin@y food experience.

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