Walter Mencken 9 a.m., May 23
Filipino Secret: Mix Your Dessert with Your Main
If you want a good meal, follow the crowds to the noisiest joint, right?
Real people noise, not canned noise.
That’s sure the case with Tita’s Kitchenette (2720 E. Plaza Boulevard, Suite E, National City, 619-472-5801). Each time I’ve been there, mornin', noon, night, there’s a line.
The eatin’’s Filipino, meaning you can mix your savory and sweet, your mains and afters, all at once.
At one table you’ll have great-grandpa, grandma, a young mom and pop, and piles of kids all chowing down together, sitting on knees, laughing, talking like they really know each other.
We don’t do that, most of us. We’ve lost something.
The food comes in polystyrene boxes, yes, but such deals (around seven bucks for combos) and so delish.
My fave? Dinuguan, pig’s blood stew, is sweet and interesting. Tastes like chocolate. Plus, I’ll usually look for the standard pancit (stir-fried noodles) and lumpia (Filipino spring rolls). Also love adobo (pork braised in coconut milk), pork menudo (a stew not like Mexican tripe soup menudo, made of pork and pork liver, and potato, carrots, pepper, ketchup), chicken barbecue on a stick ($2.75), and mix in some Filipino ice cream. Purple yam, corn, and avocado flavors are great. Sweet and sour, baby! Sweet and sour.
Weekends, of course, it’s lechon, roast pig. Mega lines for that. Round up your family. (I know. Good luck. I tried it with mine, too.)
But it’s worth it.