I will reveal something. On Sundays, on the way to mass or even during mass, and on the rare days when he forgets, right after mass, Jobo, my younger boy, is always the first one to ask: “where are we having lunch?”
When we miss good, home-cooked food, when we must go home right away because there are still pending school work to be done, when our King is lazy to drive long and far, we all agree that Lola Idang’s is the best destination. Home-cooked does not mean my cooking. I cook from scraps, I cook from recipe books, I even cook from TV cooking shows. I also cook from conversations I just heard. Because my pantry is not complete with ingredients, I experiment by substituting. When impossible, I experiment by omitting. Some days I get them right. Some days I do not. Some days I get a request for food “like what you did the last time.” Oftentimes, I am unable to repeat. I am such an inconsistent cook. So home-cooked to us means the food we buy from our neighborhood stores made by mom-preneurs. I agree, they are delicious; as delicious as Lola Idang’s selections.
Lola Idang’s nothing fancy, totally basic look is relaxing. The restaurant’s size does not overwhelm. But of course, on those days when guests are many, I wish they expand the dining area.
My peg for Pancit Malabon is Lola Idang’s recipe. Its noodles are cooked right, ingredients are fresh and plenty, and its sauce is what I look for when I try other Pancit Malabons. Nothing compares. Have you tasted it yet? Don’t you agree?
There are days when I indulge, and when I do, I order tokwa’t baboy. The suka and toyo blend is exactly how I want it. Honestly, I try duplicating it at home. No success, to date.
The kare-kare having gone too soon, it did not allow my boys a second serving as they used to have. Maybe, they eat more now. But of course, they have gotten older! Maybe, they have lessened the serving to maintain the same price and taste. Maybe. Because of this observation, we got to talk about prices going up and what we do to combat its effects on our life.
We came up with a lot of creative ways, it deserves another post.
For now, let me talk about how to enjoy Lola Idang’s even more, based on our many past trips to the resto:
1. On your way in, pick up a pack of shing-aling. This serves as appetizer. When you have ordered and your one pack is consumed, go get another pack. It is crispy and fun to eat, but STOP at 2! Hwag magpaka-busog. You should be able to enjoy what you ordered, when they are served.
3. If you are 3 or more, it is better to order a bilao for 2 of Pancit Malabon. With your other viands, this is not bitin. This should suffice.
4. After the meal, go to the counter again and pick sweets for dessert: puto, kakanin, merengue…they have quite a variety.
5. Do not leave the resto without taking home some longganiza or tapa. The perfect way to extend your Lola Idang’s happiness is to serve them for breakfast the next day.
I hope you watch out for my post on how to combat the effects of higher prices in our lives.