Forgive the bad picture, but I just had to get this out:
We have Filipino food.
It's about freaking time.
It's probably been about a year since I wrote about the lack of it here in the Capital Region, despite the sizeable Filipino population this area has. And since then I've been tinkering with the idea of doing something about that, but a busy schedule and absolutely horrible luck with real estate has put that on hold.
But I can rest easy now, as someone has stepped up and is attempting to fill the void. Collar City Cafe in Troy is now serving Filipino food. I only knew the place as a sndwich shop, but I knew the owner was Filipino and wondered if he would consider it.
Their set up is the same as any lunchonette/chiboogan/Filipino take out place. A variety of prepared dishes you can order individually or as part of a combo. This combo, which they are selling for $12.99 gets you two entrees, rice, and a soda or water. They give out samples if you need help deciding. I picked kare kare and papaitan.
Just some quick thoughts as I am eating this and writing. For starters, I appreciate the generous serving of rice. Most places only give you a cup of rice, which we all know is NEVER enough. You have to have that extra rice to sop up the sauce.
Kare Kare is meat and vegetable stew in a peanut based sauce. Traditionally it is made with oxtail. I forgot to ask if that's what they used, and my container only had bones, no meat. I take that back... just found the smallest bit of meat in there. Still can't tell you if it's oxtail. I'm pretty sure I saw eggplant and green beans in the tray, but I just got baby bok choy which thankfully was still crisp and not mushy. They may have forgotten to also include a small container of bagoong to go with it, as is customary.
Papaitan. I have my Dad to thank for loving this dish as much as I do, and order it every chance I get. People cringe when I explain it's an organ meat dish with a broth made with bile. It is bitter, and spicy, and rich. Do not pass up on trying this. Unless you have gout... then yes, avoid eating this. Most likely you'll see this in its beef version, but it can also be made with goat. The Collar City Cafe version has plenty of tripe, heart, and liver. Long hot peppers are used in the dish whole, and asked they put some in my container. Not bitter at all. Or perhaps slightly bitter? Either way, it is a level I don't think will offend.
There was a sign for sisig, and FYI it's made with pork belly. $12.99. And speaking of prices, it's more than I'm used to. Like twice. Just saying.
If you plan on going there, it's not hard to find. If you know where Bella Nappoli is in Troy, it's right across the street. Not much room to eat there, so those of you who object to carry out just need to suck it up. If you get the Kare Kare, ask for bagoong. Try the samples. Have an open mind. Be happy you've got something else to try.