June 6, 2009

Lasang Pinoy, Sundays: Resto-rant

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Turo Turo
turo-turo in Falls Church, Virginia

Filipino Turo-turo in Virginia
the usual: daing na bangus, menudo, pork sinigang, bangus sinigang, ox-tail kare-kare, pork/chicken adobo, skewered pork barbecue, and my favorite, lechon kawali

Lasang Pinoy, Sundays is hosted by SpiCes. This week: Resto-rant

I apologize if I have turned this food photography meme into a long Rant And Rave post.:D

The Resto-rave: The turo-turo pictured above is inside a Filipino grocery store called Manila Oriental [in Falls Church, Northern Virginia]. The turo-turo, located at the very rear of the store, has 3 tiny tables and a few stools which were all occupied when we got there. I am normally not attracted to turo-turo because the food always seem to look dry and stale but this store is a huge improvement. Although the grocery store is dusty and overflowing with stuff, the turo-turo area is bright and clean. It has a lot of customers judging from the long line and wait for the tables, although most are carry-out. I had the lechon kawali and my husband the Kare-kare, both are superb. The hot delicious food which are freshly cooked right there and are replenished constantly while we were eating have changed my view of turo-turo restaurants from meh to a very positive one. When I asked permission to photograph the place, the girl at the counter presumed we were video cam wielding tourists from the Philippines, and said "greetings from Virginia to our kababayans!" :-)

The Resto-rant: I had a rather unpleasant experience with a Filipino restaurant several months ago. The owner left a comment in one of my posts advertising his place, which shall remain nameless, in Maryland. I got excited when I saw sisig on the menu posted on their website which also has photos of the restaurant. It looks large and airy, cozy, and has plenty of tables. I immediately linked the restaurant's website to my blog to help out a fellow Pinoy promote his restaurant. We didn't mind the 1 hour drive through light rain/snow because we are always on the lookout around my area for sit-down restaurants that have the potential to serve really good Filipino food. I was disappointed but not discouraged to discover that most of the food are not a la carte but also turo-turo style that need to be reheated upon ordering/pointing. A few dishes can be cooked to order, one of them is sisig which was what we went there for. I ordered the sisig and he got his usual Kare-kare and a vegetable dish from the buffet (boy, aren't we boring and predictable?). The Kare-kare was okay but nothing to rave about. The moment the not-so-sizzling sisig arrived and set on the table, my pork-eschewing husband said "ugh!, smells awful, rancid, and too porky", whatever the heck porky means. The strong smell of the sisig which didn't bother me was making him ill so I moved it far away from his sensitive nose. The sisig was not good at all not because it was spoiled or something, rather it lacked flavor, heat, acidity, and crunch, but I ate half of it because the owners were sort of "observing" me. I was such a wimp because I didn't say anything to them. Should I have said something? Would you have if you found yourself in the same situation: a promising Filipino restaurant with enthusiastic owners but the food they serve are mediocre at best, at least IMHO. Would you have the courage to tell them the food need some improvements? Maybe it was our fault for not ordering something like okoy or spring rolls, I don't know. But that was not the worst part of our food trip, though. A few minutes after we got home I became sick from a mild-to-almost-bad case of food poisoning. I never contacted the owners but after a month I removed the restaurant's link from my blog.:(


Zee said...

uggghhh!! that is one bad experience!! I don't know if I would tell the owners to their face but perhaps I would leave them a comment or something when I got home and became sick! ughh! that one is unacceptable!

BTW i notice that most of the Pinoy resto's sit down/turo-turo are a bit steeped priced and not as appetizing as i expected....

Jay - agent112778 said...

porky i guess means maanta or siguro nakakumay na amoy ng pork oil :(

sayang naman ang viaje nyo sa resto na yun :(

my entry is here

magandang araw ka-lasa-ista :)
Salamat sa pagbisita :)

Manang said...

I don't know about you, but a constructive criticism had place here. You could have saved other potential customers from suffering from the same fate you had (food poisoning). But then again, a bad review can break a promising restaurant. So the best way was probably to speak to the owner what you thought of, in the most honest but polite manner, in the hope that they would improve their services and products.

This is probably one of the reasons why Filipino food is not popular among foreigners.

Dhanggit said...

im as boring as you are, i always order kare-kare whenever i have the ocassion to try pinoy resto :-)

ces said...

i also play safe when in Pinoy restos here:) but the real test is on the kare-kare and sisig:)
i truly don't have any decent resto-ranting photo in my archives, hence the semi-rant:) btw, i'm not sure if this was the same place we went to on our recent trip to VA!:) sayang talga, we didn't get to meet up!:(

oggi said...

Zee, Yeah and I didn't want to dampen their enthusiasm.:)
The prices of the dishes at the one with great food are very reasonable.

Jay, I think it's the overall baboyness he doesn't like.:D

Manang, I think the dish is not very popular at that resto. I was the onl one who ordered it while we were there.

Dhanggit, yes, come to think of it, we always order kare-kare whenever possible.:)

Ces, that's my main concern and when I visited the webpage today, it seems they have improved. There are some positive local newspaper write-ups recommending the resto.

It's probably the same one, there is only a handful of turo-turo in VA and this one is an hour drive from my house.

chrisd said...

You are so lucky. There are no Filipino restaurants on the southside of Chicago.

And I think there are very few in the city up north.

I would have told the owner; you want to try to give the small guys a chance, especially a Filipino.

oggi said...

ChrisD, there are several in my area, all of them are an hour or more than an hour drive from my home. The best so far I think already closed.

I intended to blog about the resto in Maryland and recommend it to Filipinos around here but I honestly couldn't.
I didn't know how to approach the owners or how to tell them I had a bad reaction to the sisig. I recently visited their website and it seems they are doing well and there are a few positive local newspaper write-ups. I might give them another try although the place is too far from where I live. The turo-turo that is nearer and have superior food is good enough for me. It is small but the food they serve are freshly cooked and very tasty just like lutong-bahay.:)

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