Thursday, March 19, 2009

Angelina's Philippine Cuisine

This evening Mr EA and I tried out Angelina's Philippine Cuisine in a strip mall at 36th and Minnesota. What a treat! This is another example of the genre of places that don't look like much from the outside, but are comfortable meccas of great food when you get inside. Angelina's has straight meals available, but the best best for Philippino newbies is their assortment of combo plates available from a buffet type of arrangement.
We are relative newbies ourselves - there was a Philippino place in PA, but it was not as sophisticated as Angelina's, not by a long shot. They had dishes like Meat On Stick. If you asked what kind of meat, the proprietress would look at you for a minute or so and either say "Meat - you like. Eat!" or "You will no like. Eat Rice Dish." They did not last long. Anyway, Angelina's is a wonderful contrast to that, as the counterman on duty when we went in was very willing to educate us on what he had on offer. He was friendly and helpful, and went out of his way to make us feel welcome. He was a big part of the place's appeal.
Anyway, you can have a meal, such as roasted pork, chicken skewers, and assorted other things. Their willingness to educate extended to the signs advertising these items, as they all had a picture, the Philippino name, and a translation in English. This is helpful for those of us who are willing to try new stuff, but are not that trusting in places we have not been in before. (I had a bad experience about a year ago involving an unexpected sheep head, and it has made me a little skittish. But that is another story.) Anyway, we went for the combo plates, which come with rice (either steamed or garlic fried) and one, two, or three items. Mr EA and I collaborated as usual by picking different things so we could each try more stuff. I had steamed rice, a crispy beef fritter, and a pork Sinigiang (I think). Mr. EA had the garlic fried rice, pork adobo and a stew of beef, chickpeas and peas with a ginger flavor to the liquid that we did not catch the name of. Everything was delicious! The garlic rice had a subtle perfume that built up over time. The fritter was composed of ground beef, potatoes, and onion, fried up together in a thin crispy patty. The stews, which we were a little afraid would all blend together, were in fact very distinct. They all were composed of similar things - big chunks of pork or beef, and vegetables in a sauce of the red-brown continuum. However, they all had their own character, and were all well worth sampling.
I was a bit ambitious and went for a cup of Halo-Halo with Ube ice cream. I am still researching what all was in this, but it seemed to me to be a parfait with gelatin cubes, coconut and banana slivers, ice chips, milk (or possibly coconut milk - there was a lot going on there), rice crispies, and Ube ice cream, which the proprietor said was made from a kind of yam - it was very tasty! This dish was characterized by mild, lightly sweet flavors.
I do have a few words of caution. I believe a vegetarian would have difficulty finding a full meal here. Also, if you are at all fussy about meat, you will want to look over the meat chunks you will find in your dishes. There will almost certainly be big wads of fat attached to them, so be aware. It still tastes great, but you will need to do a little trimming before you put a big wad of it in your mouth. Those issues aside, Angelina's Philippino Cuisine is a great place to eat. Go there - you'll be glad you did!


AKan said...

Thank you for this helpful review!

ayura said...

the recipe seems to b intresting i will definitely try it out at home
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