East Hollywood: Filipino Food at LA Rose
Currently there’s a raging debating why isn’t Filipino food more popular in America. Over at L.A. Rose Cafe, owner Lemuel Balagot started the discussion over 30 years ago when he opened the cafe and bakery. Here’s a great video where Lem talks about his philosophy.
When I first looked at the menu online, I was confused by all the American dishes. Where was the Filipino food. But once you’re seated, it all makes sense. I was with a friend who wanted to try everything. The two of us ordered classic Filipino dishes and took home a ton of leftovers.
We started out with empanadas. LA Rose also runs a thriving bakery out front so these were straight from the bakery racks. We tried both beef and chicken. I thought it was interesting they were served with honey mustard sauce.
We could not decide between lechon and crispy pata (pig’s knuckle). Well, we got both. Lem suggested we get an appetizer size of the lechon. I’m glad we did because we had more food coming. The pata was just what I wanted. Bits of pork and crunchy skin. If you want just meat and skin and without the work of bones, go for the lechon.
The peanut and oxtail stew known as kare kare came livened up with veggies. One of the main complaints against Filipino food is how heavy it can be. And that it’s also very brown food. LA Rose garnishes all their food and makes sure the bright purple and green glint off this dish. This was a very modern version and the kare kare sauce wasn’t too heavy.
I can’t resist noodles. Neither can my friend. Luckily we agreed on pancit (though we had plenty of rice as well).
And that rice came in handy with the pork and chicken adobo. The vinegar and soy based dish was the only disappointment of the night. Adobo is the one Filipino dish I cook and I suppose I am super picky about it. The sauce was great but the meat was tough. Stick with the lechon or the pata instead.
We got one more thing from the bakery- LA Rose’s famous bread pudding. The work of art arrived with lots of caramel sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar.
Who says you can’t find good Filipino food in LA?
© The Minty 2014