I'm getting this done rather quickly because FOY (friend of yoso) "TammyC" was wondering what we ate.
It had been at least three years since I last visited Villa Manila, and really hadn't posted on the place since October of 2005, so I figured why not. Come to think of it, I hadn't had Filipino food in quite a while. I pretty much knew the dishes I wanted, but there was no way I'd be able to eat all of that wonderful fried food and come out in one piece, so JohnL, PeterL, and Ange were nice enough to accompany me.
The place looks essentially the same as it did a three years ago, though the menu has a couple of new dishes, lunch specials, and so forth. So why don't we get right down to the food and the one item that arrived first and thus nary a remnant of it saw a doggie bag...the Chicharron Bulaklak, deep fried intestines, delicious......
Crisp, with a slight "stickiness" to it, these went down quite easy when dipped into vinegar and garlic.
I've always enjoyed the Nilagang Baka - Beef shank soup. At $17.75 it ain't cheap, but the broth is pretty rich.
There was a good amount of meat under what seemed like half a head of cabbage. What I didn't know is that you get free refills of broth....they refilled this twice and John left with what seemed like an entire container of Nilagang for later on.
One of my favorite dhishes at VM has always been the Bicol Express and was a bit dismayed when I couldn't find it on the menu. But when I asked the gentleman informed me that they still make it. For those uninformed critics of Filipino cuisine (you know who you are) this would be a surprising dish, with origins in Bicolandia, the dish utlizes coconut milk, bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste made from krill), and surprisingly for many, chili peppers.
The pork was very tender and the sauce tasted great on rice....of which we had ordered the bagoong rice and garlic rice along with the steamed version (Are you reading this AZ?).
For me, I thought the fried chicken wasn't particularly good.
It was pretty dry and though nicely seasoned, there was no crispness to it. It seemed severely over-cooked.
For me, the meal (the world and my heart literally) stopped at the Crispy Pata.
Man, I love the crisp skin, a couple of bites of the fat and gelatin kind of makes me light-headed. But hey, a pata every couple of years.......that's not bad at all! I was pretty much wiped out after this. I'm not used to eating so much rice anymore either......
Peter and John kept on trucking with the Daing Bangus - fried (yet again)whole boneless milkfish.
And Angela also ordered the eggplant salad............
The prices at Villa Manila are not cheap, but we ended up payingabout $24 a head, which I don't think was too bad. After all, it was fun ordering a huge spread of food (tons of leaftovers), eating and "talking story"...good friends, good food......good times, always.
500 East 8th Street
National City, CA 91950