Plagued by a thick cloud of backlog, I thought to update about the amazing home-cooked lunch I had about two Sundays ago for my Tito’s birthday. Tita Ginger sent us an Asian themed menu weeks back but ended up replacing the Sop Buntot with a Spanish Style Oxtail Stew instead, just because my grandma requested it. I think the whole meal went swell and since I’m getting hungry just thinking about it, let me be evil and post some photographs.
We started out with Jackfruit Pate and a Tinapa Malunggay spread with Melba toast. These are healthier alternatives to a lot of the appetizer spreads we usually enjoy. My brother and I, in particular loved the Tinapa Malunggay and thought it’d be perfect on a bed of hot rice when we first tasted it. Tita Ginger said she ordered these from someone who just makes it at home as well.
While we were all waiting for the food and people were busy talking downstairs, I decided to head up to pay my favorite flabbies a visit. That’s Bono looking up at the camera with Bruce beside me showing off the rolls on his neck. Tita Ginger and Tito Dading have three pugs. Too bad Mombo wasn’t up there when I was armed with a camera to take photos.
The food was ready by the time I got down and most of the family started out with Chinese Lumpia. I skipped this dish because lumpia always makes me full and I wanted to make room for other stuff.
My mom’s verdict: It was awesome. I think the nice thing about making your own lumpia at home is that it’s tailor-fit to just have everything you want inside it. There’s always an abundance of ingredients to stuff in the roll. This is one of the reasons I prefer to eat at home.
First in the order of my business that day were the Thanh Long Crabs. The last time I was in San Francisco, I went nuts over this Vietnamese restaurant called PPQ just for the crab and garlic noodles. I probably ate there thrice during my entire stay. If you can’t already tell by the photo, the crabs were slathered in garlic and butter and were nothing short of excellent. Biting into the soft meat and dipped in more garlic butter took me back to PPQ in San Francisco. Guess I won’t have to take a trip back there since I can get my fix right here.
I think everyone should know that the best way to eat Vietnamese crab is to have it with Garlic Noodles. What I liked about Tita Ginger’s garlic noodles is the fact that they didn’t feel too oily or heavy. I didn’t have a headache after eating despite the major butter overload. The noodles packed a clean bite and were al dente, apart from smelling really great.
Looking like a festive explosion of color at the buffet table, my favorite was the wildcard of the bunch. I don’t have Oxtail Stew often or anywhere else but with my family but this is seriously, THE best. I know the influences of this dish are predominantly Spanish, it’s a stew that contains Oxtail, olives, bell peppers and onion. Stewed for long hours, having bone in the stew makes a world of a difference, the broth was thick and packed with such flavor I got tingly just sipping it all up in my bowl.
My bowl! I had three servings of this and just let go of all inhibitions. I’ve had Oxtail Stew with my family loads of times but this particular meal was really the best version of it I’d ever tasted. I learned that Tita Ginger sourced the buntot from her friend who breeds Kitayama Wagyu. I learned that Kitayama Wagyu is a local meat that’s a result of cross-breeding Wagyu cows with Brahman cows. The result of this is meat that is 75% Wagyu and produces meat with marbling scores of 4-8, as opposed to Kobe Beef’s 12. I swear I could taste the difference. Thankfully Kitayama Wagyu just opened a Meat Shop this month so the rest of us can buy some Filipino cut Wagyu meat. I should call and see if they have meat for bulalo. Mmm. The quality of the meat certainly made the Ox Tail Stew highly superior. It tasted worlds away from the past stews.
When we were all full and done. It was time for dessert. We had a whole lot of moon cake! I remember it was the moon cake festival at the time which is why we had a bunch. This box in particular came from the Intercontinental Hotel.
My tita also put out a batch that was a present to her all the way from Hong Kong. This one in particular had bits of Chinese ham in it. I’m actually not much of a moon cake person so these didn’t appeal to me much. I’d prefer the simple ol’ hopia but I guess for since there’s a celebration and all, moon cake it was!
Here was the friendliest option for dessert. If I am not mistaken, this is Mara dela Rama’s Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte. This cake is a freakin’ party. Order only if you can afford to not stop eating it or if you feel like you have enough willpower to only take one slice.
I had two. Having one would be madness.
There was fresh fruit for the skinny people (aka my brother). The grapes were big and really sweet. There was a good crunch to them when I bit in. Tita Ginger says she gets them from a sweet old man in Binondo who always saves the best fruit for her.
All these photos capped off one of the best meals I’ve had in 2012. Seriously. I love it when Tita Ginger cooks and I hope it’s something we can do more often. We’ve spoken about compiling recipes into a book for the future. Maybe I can attempt to make my own Kitayama Oxtail Stew sometime soon. I think it’s worth a shot.
Get your own Kitayama Fix at Kitayama Meatshop located in 2292 Chino Roces Avenue (formerly Pasong Tamo), Makati City. They just opened this month so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Appetizers for this meal were from Jennie Orros her cel number is 0917-5296918.
Best cake ever was from Dessert du Jour/ Mara dela Rama. You can pick the cakes up in Ecology Village, right next to Dasmarinas Village in Makati. Call or Text 0917.811.6272 / 0917.803.6272 / 02.806.9511 for all orders.