54 Mercer (Soho)
I haven't been to Cendrillon in a long time, possibly 2 years at least. I wanted Alex to try some good Filipino(-inspired) food. This isn't my mom's homecooking. It's owned by family friends of someone I went to high school with but that's saying nothing because everyone in the Philippines knows each other somehow, through some family friend or another; more like 2 degrees of separation over there.
We started with some kalamansi margaritas. Kalamansi is a small citrus fruit about the size of a kumquat - green outside, golden orange inside. It tastes lime-y but sweeter, more juice-like.
For an entree I had my favorite, kare kare (oxtail stew in a peanut-based broth with okra and eggplant) with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). DISGUSTO! Yes, to the untrained palate. But the fattiness of the oxtail, the sweetness of the peanut stew and the saltiness of the shrimp paste are perfect with each other. My mom uses chunky peanut butter. Here they used ground peanuts.
Dessert: the traditional halo halo, which in Tagalog means "mix mix." It comes in a tall glass: jackfruit, red beans, coconut jelly, shaved ice, ube (purple yam) ice cream, evaporated milk, crispy rice and flan. With a long spoon you carefully mix it all up, ensuring that with each bite you experience something different.
A little too much money than what I would normally want to spend, especially for homecooking. But it was definitely good.
Alex: You can say that again... EXPENSIVE, especially for what it was. I had the Flank Steak which was really good. It was cooked slightly less than medium and was sitting in a sweet au jus. I tried the Ox Tail and wasn't feelin' it too much. I don't really like Peanuts in my food for some reason. I love peanut butter and I can eat peanuts all day, but cooked in food just doesn't do it for me. I also think I'm the type of person who won’t like something if I know what it is before hand and think it’s odd or "non-traditional" if that makes any sense. Maybe Alexis should just not tell me what stuff is before I try it. Yes, I'm lame.