First, there’s not a fusion thing about this place … standard turo-turo (Filipino steam table) with a small bakery/deli counter.
Second, I’m glad I gave them a second visit. My first impression was mainly meh.
However, the steady stream of Filipino customers, the sheer pleasantness of the owners and the lure of cassava brought me back. Yes … the food gods ... Filipino division ... smiled on me.
FRESH FILIPINO LUMPIA: NOT what you think. The best thing I’ve tried here is unlike any fresh lumpia I’ve tried. No spring roll wrapper.
It is a thin egg pancake that is wrapped around a filling of fresh, chopped green beans, shredded carrots, crunchy jicama cubes (I think), diced pork, onions and probably some other chopped things. There are lovely leaves of fresh red leaf lettuce inside the lumpia which is about the size of a burrito.
It comes with a thin, slightly sweet sauce that has lots of chopped garlic. I thought the lumpia was good enough that it didn’t need sauce, but dipping a little of the crèpe in it made me think of a savory version of pancakes and syrup … with garlic … it was good though it sounds odd.
CHOP SUEY WITH QUAIL EGGS: Large chopped veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, fresh green beans, carrots, red pepper with chicken livers and whole quail eggs.
This looked like over-cooked veggies but the pretty white quail eggs caught my eye. I’m a little squeamish about quail eggs, so I told them to only put one in the container … big mistake … big, big mistake.
That was one of the best quail eggs I have ever had … and I’ve had lots of quail eggs at some top restaurants. This was delicate and creamy. I also love chicken livers so the surprise of that was nice for me. The veggies are like a stewed version. I’d definitely get this again … with more quail eggs.
CASSAVA CAKE: On my first visit they seemed quite proud of a dessert called cassava. I was told not many places make this and that it takes two hours to make it.
There were only whole cakes on the first visit so I passed, but I was curious because of the enthusiasm they had. Today they sold it by the piece and they were justly proud, IMO … delicious. It is very buttery with a chewy mochi-like bottom topped with a thin layer of egg custard. I may have found something I like even better than Chinese egg tarts.
FILIPINO MACARONI SALAD. Sweet, but not too with lots of shredded (almost ground) chicken. There might be some sweet pickle relish in there.
HOPIA: Different. Like a dense biscuit.
LANGONISA (Filipino sausage): No complaints here. Plump, meaty with a slightly sweet coating.
YKOY: Not on the regular menu. Think a large lattke … but with zucchini. It comes with a sauce with vinegar and chopped onions. This was cold and it needed the punch from the vinegar. Never tried this before..
GARLIC RICE: Didn’t like it too much. On the dry side and it had the strong flavor of garlic salt. The tables have large containers of McCormick spices and I’m guessing that is where the garlic flavor originated
PORK EMPANDA: The crust was dense like the hopia. It is best microwaved slightly. There is a generous filling of chopped pork with a few raisins and I think I saw a small olive. It wasn’t too interesting to me though and on the dry side. Next time I’ll try the chicken.
ATCHARA: Haven’t tried this yet but this chutney-like condiment is made by the mom. Judging from the label she has a business in Antelope, CA called Filipino Mart & Bakery.
MOON CAKES: I forgot the Filipino name, but they are half-dollar-sized and filled with sweet yellow beans. These were very good.
This place was formerly Eva’s Meal Stop. They removed the market and added more tables. They are very helpful. I like them. I don’t see them all that much in competition with the Hercules businesses. They are a little different though they have most of the standards. .
Filipino breakfast is served all day. Lunch is $3.50 for one item with rice (regular or garlic). Two itmes are $4.50.
In the first link I’ll list what is on their standard menu though they seem to have a number of dishes not mentioned. Next time I want to try the banana blossom. I don’t think I’ve seen that at the other local Filipino restaurants.
There is a parking lot in back of the restaurant. The business card says the owners are Larry and May Honorio ... which explains the LMH part of the name.
2511 San Pablo Ave, Pinole, CA 94564