Cruising the chow roads turned up another Filipino restaurant in Vallejo, this time in a small storefront within a strip mall east of Hwy 80. Goshen Foods has been open for two years. I was greeted warmly by Rosalyn of the husband and wife owner-operator team. Her husband is in charge of the kitchen; hes Ilokano. The first thing I noticed was how clean and bright the small dining area was with chairs and tables neatly lined up. Also, the powerful air conditioning was pacing with the heat of the day and keeping the place well-ventilated of stale cooking odors. I wouldnt mind eating in.
Not recognizing me, Rosalyn inquired where I was from. She was dumbfounded that a San Franciscan had stumbled onto her restaurant and even more so that a non-Filipina was having garlic rice for breakfast. I guess she hasnt encountered any chowhounds yet! I ordered garlic rice with eggs over easy and ticino to go. In addition I got a fresh cantaloup drink, similar to a Mexican aqua fresca, with fine shreds of cantaloup melon added to the juice, plus, for later a dessert wrapped and deep-fried like a large lumpia filled with banana, plantain and jackfruit and dipped in honey. Total tab with tax was $8.
When I got to my meeting and popped open the lid of the styro clamshell, I was stunned to see an enormous mound of garlic rice topped by what were either double-yolked eggs (doubt it) or FOUR fried eggs, plus two big and hefty slabs of ticino and two thick slices of tomato. The other folks in the conference room are nibbling politely on muffins or sipping Slimfast as the aroma of garlic wafts from my hot and substantial breakfast. Ah well, theyre used to my ways by now.
This was the first time Id had garlic rice and I really liked Goshens version. While not made of glutinous rice, the grains were soft, broken up and somewhat glued together as if leftover rice had been smashed together in the reheating process. The garlic bits were golden and sweet and not pungent. The ticino was nicely marinated and firm in texture from the sweet cure. It was hard to not devour all the pieces of firm almost crisp fat from the pork shoulder cut. I barely made a dent into this for breakfast, and couldnt finish the whole thing for my lunch either.
Besides breakfast, Goshen offers a steam table with a menu of specialties that rotates by day of the week. When I was there on Monday, an interesting looking green jackfruit stewed in pink-tinged coconut milk was on the line. Adobo and dinuguan are offered every day, and at dinner time, some cooked-to-order dishes are available. Theres also a large catering menu. I had noticed too late (my ticino was already on the grill) a sign saying they make their own garlicky ilokano-style longaniza here. Something to look forward to for next time.
Goshen Foods of Vallejo [Solano County]
2568 Springs Road
(website with discount coupon)
P.S. I have also tried Banana Q recommended by GraceAnn Walden and mentioned in the link below. It is dark and dingy, plus the prepared food and baked goods are inferior to any of the other restaurants or bakeries described in my earlier post or Goshen Foods. Its main attractions appear to be proximity to the waterfront and karaoke.
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