Thursday, January 20, 2011

An epic meal in Adarna

The past month or so, I’ve been remiss in my duties as tita to my three nieces and one nephew. Sunday lunch has been a tradition in the family, until recently when I became preoccupied with my own activities. To make up for the past weeks, I decided to take everyone out to dinner at Adarna Food and Culture. I have heard great things about the place but there were always other interesting restaurants to try (some of them very disappointing). Since Adarna is located near my brother’s house, I thought maybe this is the time to go.

The elegant flourish in their logo was a sign that the owners had taste. I quietly savored the arched entrances and covered walkways that partially cloistered the open patio. I noted the colored glass panels on the doors, the same ones used by my sister-in-law in their renovated home. The capiz windows used as wall panels, old newspapers encased in glass, paintings by Filipino artists, the intricately carved chairs and tables–everything was tastefully done.

The food they serve is Filipino heirloom cuisine. The chef and owners painstakingly dug up old specialties through research and interviews and kept their cooking methods as close to the original as possible. We ordered the sigarillas salad (P154, a good start), adobong Batangas a la Adarna (P176, shared by the architect-granddaughter of a prominent family from Batangas City), dinakdakan (P134, an Ilocano take on sisig. This version was hot), pancit 1913 (P280), chicken relleno (P448, from a 1940s recipe book), kaldereta antigo and Batanes yellow rice (its color derived from locally grown turmeric). I particularly enjoyed the dinakdakan and adobo, but I must admit none of the dishes stood out and “sang.” Still, I was quite taken by the place that I embraced even the good though lackluster fare. In fact, I’m willing to go back a second time.

I think it also helped that I was in the company of my beloved family. Driving back to the Scout area for dessert at the newly opened California Berry in Tomas Morato, my pamangkins made a request to one of their cousins who was with us that night. The cousin played on his mobile phone the We are the World version for Haiti. My pamangkins bellowed out with passion–to a song that first became popular when I was 12 years old! I admit this modern version did the first one proud. Michael Jackson’s presence was a nice touch.

By the time we got to Timog, the playlist had gone contemporary. This time, the kids were dancing and singing along to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I must say, I have high hopes for this generation. Kids that can switch between the fire of We are the World and the whimsy of Bad Romance with equal ease and gravitas give much to be proud about.

Adarna Food and Culture, 119 Kalayaan Avenue, QC. A few establishments away from Trellis. Phone no. (632) 9268712; mobile (63) 917-9618113

Posted March 14, 2010 in travelswithgusto.wordpress.com

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