🙂 = Changing tables. Kids menu complete with mazes, crayon, and pictures. Dedicated children’s play area. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free option, in addition to, being a completely nut and seed free establishment.
🙁 = No high chairs due to high top seating which may prove difficult for kiddos with busy feet. But that’s offset by each table having banquette seating which also serves as a perfect platform for car seats.
Hours: Dining Mon-Sun 5P-10:30P. Bar Mon-Sun 5P-1A. Brunch Sat & Sun 10A-3P.
Notes: Brunch is hugely popular here, boasting a salivary-gland-stimulating menu full of Filipino and American favorites, as well as, cocktails for the parentals. They even have a parent/kiddie happy hour on Saturdays from 3pm-5pm where the old folk can indulge in adult merriment while the youngins socialize in the play area.
Purple Patch – a run of success or good luck. Our stars aligned on Thursday night and brought us exactly that. Success, good fortune…Purple Patch. It was a disappointing start to the evening as we were faced with yet another long wait for a table at Bad Saint. Being the fourth party in line didn’t even guarantee us a spot. 24 total seats – two tables, the rest, counter-seating – paired with a two hour turnover does not very family friendly a place make. Perfect for date nights though.
Our predetermined plan B was always Purple Patch. Another new Filipino joint just down the road. But after an amazingly fun-filled night with glorious food from the home country, down-home hospitality, new friends, and even some free dessert (Cassava Cake and Ube Cupcake/Ice Cream compliments of, owner, Mrs. Patrice), I’m thinking it should have been our Plan A all along!
When you first walk in you’d never know it was a Filipino restaurant. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s inviting and familiar to everyone who walks through their doors. The basement rocks a modern, tavernous space. The upstairs, a more formal atmosphere. Touches of Pinoy are subtle. And the employees are – gasp – young, hot, Americans! In fact, I was crushing hard on our waitress, Ms. Mickey. She was sweet, genuine, helpful, and pretty. What wasn’t to like? Except maybe having to share her affection with my baby bro.
She seated us toward the back where there was – dig this – a designated kid’s play area complete with toys and board games (kindly donated by Mrs. Patrice’s, seven year old son), walled in by a huge flat screen TV that she tuned to a kiddie network for me! A Filipino restaurant with a play area? Heck, a restaurant, period, with a play area? Good gosh almighty! This night was progressing just dandy!
I inspected the play-area like a thirsting, desert wanderer happening upon a tropical oasis while I put nanay and tatay (Tagalog for mom and dad) to work and had them do the ordering. The menu reflected Mrs. Patrice’s, Filipino and American heritage. But mom, wanting to discover different takes on Philippine classics decided to keep it exclusively Filipino. Lechon Kawali (crispy fried braised pork with mang tomas sauce) and, my personal favorite, Mama Alice’s Lumpia (fried beef/pork spring rolls with banana ketchup) were on the appetizer radar. For our main dishes, they locked in on Sisig (fried pork, onions, chili, vinegar, lemon juice, and fried egg served on a hot platter) and Ginataang Shrimp and Kale (sautéed with onion and ginger, served in a creamy coconut milk broth).
Mama, if you’ve been reading my past entries, is extremely critical when it comes to food. She’s also whatever the opposite of “descriptive” is. Yes and no are her default replies to “Do you like the food?”. So when she strays from the norm and starts searching for a list of adjectives to describe her pleasure, that’s when I know we’ve struck culinary gold. She couldn’t stop gushing about everything she tried. Playborpool (flavorful), daylishoos (delicious), and hebbenly (heavenly) were some of the Filipino-accented words that came out of her mouth. While laughter-induced tears steadily streamed out of dad’s eyes.
Not understanding what was so funny, pops dropped some knowledge and told me Filipinos, like mom, that grew up in the motherland mix up their F’s and P’s with reckless abandon. He mimicked her and said “Dis Pilifino pood at Furfle Fatch is so ferpect”. Ma was not impressed. Impressed with the trueness of his statement. The sarcasm behind it? Not so much. Her stank face appeared almost immediately. And through the stankness, called dad a “foo foo pace”.
Ladies and gentlemen, my parents. For better or worse. Whether I like it or not. I’m stuck with ‘em.
After dinner Mrs. Patrice paid us a visit and shared her story with us. How they grow their own herbs in-house and support locally owned businesses. How her mom’s words “If you know how to cook, you’ll have a career for life” never left her. How her husband’s Aussie fervor birthed the idea of using Habit, their coffee shop next door, to introduce meat pies to DC’s palate. How her son influenced the menu’s allergy friendliness – which is why favorites like Kare Kare (oxtail with leafy greens in a roasted peanut stew) have been, thoughtfully, left off the menu.
It was a narrative filled with family, culture, and passion. A love story as beautiful as the food itself.