Sometimes those that are worthy of being written about comes in the most unassuming places. I have taken photos of restaurants I wanted to write about but they seem to get stuck on my phone and not get on pages of my blog. It’s like a person you just like but not passionate about. He does not keep you awake at night or make you smile when you think about them.
Anyway, after a while of not writing about food (I missed it) and fed up with business writing, I came across a restaurant that reminded me of my childhood and made me want to write again, Rose & Grace Restaurant in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. I just came from Hidden Valley Springs in Laguna (still looked good even after 20 years) and Shrine of Padre Pio that weekend and we had an early lunch there.
|Hidden Valley Springs resort|
|Shrine of Padre Pio|
And like a long lost relative, Rose & Grace beckoned me into its arms. When I saw their pork adobo with this orange sauce among the rows of viands in the counter, it reminded me of my Lola’s adobong Batangas. I can’t help but smile when I pointed it to the waitress. By the way, Rose and Grace Restaurant is like an airconditioned canteen where you can choose from a wide food selection behind a glass case and the server will bring your food to you.
And their adobo did not disappoint. It was identical to what I used to eat in Batangas when I went on vacation in my Lola’s house during summer. We would eat adobo on a wooden table while sitting on wooden benches with an overhead fan rotating above. The piping hot rice that accompanied the adobo would smell of pandan leaves which until now I can’t recreate.
Rose and Grace's adobo like my Lola’s was tender and oily. Yes it was sinful. The orange, annatto oil with pork fat was yum (okay pardon the cliché ). I felt like a kid again eating in my Lola’s kitchen. Adobo slow cooked in soy sauce and vinegar then simmered with annatto powder or atchuete for more color and flavor was my kind of adobo.
But I did not order adobong baboy only, I also ordered their adobong pusit, also a favorite of mine. Not as strong a flavor like the adobong baboy and not as oily but just as tasty. I like adobong pusit not only because I do not know how to cook it but because as an avid rice eater it went well with rice. Crunching on those small squid tentacles may sound morbid but was a treat especially pouring that dark, sweet and sour liquid sauce on warm rice :)
I also ordered their sinaing na tambakol (yes, we ordered a lot, I got excited) also a reminder of my childhood. A far cry to the sinful adobong baboy, this one is the”healthy dish” but just as satisfying. It lends a fresh taste to the palate and went well with the other dishes. From what I know, sinaing in Batangas is a type of cooking where fish is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a clay pot. Maybe it was marinated too because there was surprisingly good flavor on that fish.
Another surprise for me was the pork barbecue my son ordered. Grilled bite sized chunks of pork slathered in this rich red, tangy sauce. It didn’t look out of the ordinary but it was one of the better barbecues I had in a while. It was also tender not stiff or rubbery, just goes to show they know how to cook their barbecue well. Maybe that’s why my son wanted to hoard it all for himself.
To cap it off, we ordered their leche flan. It was ¼ of its actual size. It was also a nice reminder from childhood where there was always leche flan during fiesta. Here, their flan was bigger though not as creamy but still, a sweet way to end a good meal.