Paleo Retiree writes:
Filipino food is something that’s having a moment in downtown NYC, so — trend-chasers that we are — The Question Lady and I have been checking it out. Thumbs up so far. Filipino food is related to other Asian-Pacific cuisines — heavy on the peppers, bitter melon, garlic, tropical fruits, fish and rice — while being its own distinct thing.
Our favorite of the restaurants we’ve tried so far is Jeepney, which describes itself winningly as a “Filipino Gastropub” and is half a sweetly earnest authentic place and half a sharply-designed hipster hangout. That’s a mixture that can be very pleasing, we’ve found. The real-natives side delivers heart and soul while the scenester side adds style and edge. Besides, what could be more fun than being in a room full of happy eaters half of whose inhabitants are smiley Filipinos bursting with homesick pride and whose other half are cute urban trendoids? Well, it works well in this case anyway.
The other night I enjoyed one of Jeepney’s signature cocktails, a San Felipe.
It’s really what a cocktail purist would call a mixed drink, but when it’s this good what’s the point in being a stickler? Ingredients: grapefruit juice, ginger syrup, barrel-aged bitters (did you know that bitters are HUGE this year?), lime and Bacardi rum. The sweet-sour bite of it, the surprise of ginger laid against grapefruit, the easy drinkability crossed with the grownup, bracing blast of bitterness … Well, I needed two more to fully explore the experience.
That thing floating in the middle of the drink?
Unsure whethere I’d been dealt something rotten or not, I asked our bartender about it. Turns out that it’s a sun-dried lime slice, and that sun-dried lime slices are standard brighteners in Filipino food. It adds an exotic visual as well as some nice nose-tickling.
Bonus points for the tastiest bone marrow we’ve ever had, a perfect mix of juicy-gelatinous and crispy/near-burnt enhanced by a wonderfully harsh blast of salt:
It’s all a little self-conscious, but it’s also lively, cheery, friendly and full of unexpected touches. Our adventures in Filipino eating — and some memories they’ve triggered of a couple of Filipina job-colleagues I liked a lot back in the day — have got me wondering whether I shouldn’t bump the Philippines a little higher up on the list of places I’m planning to visit before I die.
- Lots of overfancy writing about Jeepney and another Filipino joint from the New York Times’ Pete Wells. Man oh man has my tolerance for fancy writin’ shrunk to near-zero. What is it about food-and-drink as a subject that brings out the twee showoff in so many writers? But it’s a very professional and informative piece nonetheless.
- Some knowledgeable Chowhounders share their reactions in more plainspoken fashion.