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Epicuryan: Irenia – 07/13/2016

400 N Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(657) 245-3466

I’ve at all times puzzled why there aren’t extra standout Filipino eating places in Southern California. Each time I posed this query to a Filipino good friend I received a variation on the identical theme: nothing beats mother’s dwelling cooking. Sadly having by no means had the chance to style dwelling cooked Filipino meals my understanding of the delicacies is restricted to informal restaurant fare (which I discover overly heavy) or Jollybee (which is of course scrumptious as a result of its fried hen). Once I heard Irenia was providing up to date Filipino influenced delicacies I jumped on the likelihood to attempt it.

DILIS – Fried anchovies, sukang sili, herbs
This jogged my memory of the anchovy and almond sliver snack that I used to like as a child. The anchovies are fried to a pleasant crisp and ship a fish oil laced saltiness whereas the spiced vinegar provides a pointy tangy chunk.

SINIGANG – Tamarind dashi, braised daikon, sitaw
Sinigang refers to a wide range of bitter and savory soups and stews and Irenia’s preparation has each of these in spades regardless of being a skinny elegant dashi-based broth.

MANI – Peanuts roasted shell on, muscavado vinegar, Philippine sea salt, harissa
Although I loved the smoky bitter seasoning on the shell, the mechanics of orally breaking the shell and extracting the peanuts was a bit tedious. The precise nuts had been comparatively bland with a disconcerting texture paying homage to boiling moderately than roasting.

THE SUPPER CLUB – lambanog, jasmine, calamansi, ginger beer
24 KARAT MULE – barbados rum, lime, carrot, 5 spice bitters, ginger beer
BOTTLE ROCKET – mezcal, mango, ancho, tamarind, bergamot
The primary spherical of cocktails was a nice shock with every being stronger than the final. The Supper Membership was a fragile effervescent libation with loads of citrus and spice. Regardless of its unconventional combination, the Baguio Previous Long-established had loads of boozy citrus and cherry much like the unique. The 24 Karat had underlying chunk of ginger and citrus of a traditional Mule overlayed with an refined trace of unique spice. The Bottle Rocket was probably the most elaborate cocktail with a tropical mango assault, boozy petrol mid-palate and spicy herbaceous end.

CHARRED LITTLE GEM SALAD – Charred little gem salad, milkfish tonnato, cherry tomato, anchovy crumble
This was a totally pleasant salad. The crisp greens have a contact of smoky heft augmented by the savory twang of the tonnato and anchovies whereas the tomatoes add a burst of contrasting sweetness.

GINATAAN CORN – Roasted candy corn, corn ginataan, Hope Ranch mussels, lime, chili oil
I assumed the coconut milk was going to be overbearing when coupled with the corn however the citrus and warmth had been equally forceful making for a really properly balanced dish.

KULIPLOR – Roasted cauliflower, bagoong “moleXO”, mango, toasted sunflower seeds
This was my favourite of the vegetable programs. Dense stalks of delicately roasted cauliflower had been imbued with an unexpectedly daring savor due to the bagoong (fish sauce) whereas the mango added a deft sweet-sour raise to the greens.

PANCIT – Santa Barbara ridegeback prawns & prawn head sauce, canton noodles, blue lake beans, heirloom carrots, dried shrimp powder
This was most likely probably the most disappointing course of the evening. The prawns had been overcooked whereas the thick buttery noodles coupled with the sauce tasted eerily like Fritos.

SAN MIGUEL SLING – ginebra, pineapple, cherry heering, calamansi, angostura bitters
PETITE COLADA – corn whiskey, madeira, toasted cocnut, pineapple, pandan, nutmeg
HURRICANE FIGHTER PLANE – bourbon, jamaican rum, lime passionfruit, maraschino, charcoal 151
NEGRONI TROPIKAL – pineapple rum, campari, hibiscus, falernum bitters
This spherical of cocktails was rather more difficult due to an array of bolder flavors that both ran too bitter or too candy. The sling was most likely the most effective of the bunch with vivid tropical fruit upfront and a dry citrus-y end. The Colada was fairly traditional that’s to say thick candy and filled with coconut with a woody booziness on the end.

ADOBO Sluggish roasted pork stomach w/ adobo jus, ginasang mung beans, braised mustard, spring onion
No Filipino meal could be full and not using a rendition of that nation’s unofficial nationwide dish. Irenia’s preparation comes off somewhat extra Chinese language than most preparations with a candy chashu-like taste overlaid with char. The mung beans had been in step with that theme although I a lot most well-liked this savory rendition to the sweeter preparations seen in Chinese language meals. The braised greens and onion present differing contrasting flavors that mood the fatty pork Adobo.

CHICKEN INASAL – Pan roasted Jidori hen thighs, “Hen Pleasure” gravy, gailan, summer time squash
The hen thighs had been one other notably robust dish. For me the flavors of 5 spice, ginger, and scallion had been paying homage to my mother or father’s barbecue marinade. The refined vegetable accompaniments of gailan and squash had been a hearty but succulent praise to the flavour of the hen.

INIHAW NA PALTAT – Passmore Ranch catfish, roasted japanese eggplant & heirloom tomato, bokchoy, patis French dressing
This was the weakest of the three mains for me. The catfish had a fragile flaky texture and slight butteriness complimented by properly crisped pores and skin, however the greens had been only a bit too astringent for the delicate taste of the fish.

Ube Brown Sugar Pie
Conventional Ube pie is made with purple yam or candy potato giving it an arresting violet hue. This was a a lot tamer trying dessert with a taste that jogged my memory of moon cake. Having by no means eaten a conventional ube pie I haven’t got a body of reference to make comparisons however I fairly loved this preparation.

MAIZ CON HIELO – Roasted corn caramel, panna cotta, candy corn, frozen peaches, ice
I although this was going to be a no brainer and it was scrumptious with a heavy dose of sweetness shaded with a contact of savor from the bits of puffed corn. The fruit had an unexpectedly

Given my relative inexperience with Filipino meals I attempted to get a pair specialists to return with me however they had been all turned off by the concept of upscale (learn: costly) Filipino meals. I think about they checked out Irenia with the identical suspicion that I really feel for “fashionable Chinese language-inspired cooking” overpriced crap to trick gweilo. However in case you can put apart that bias constructed up from a lifetime of consuming cheap conventional cooking and strategy Irenia with an open thoughts I feel you may be richly rewarded for the expertise. Individually this was palms down the most effective Filipino cooking I’ve had and my new go to put subsequent time the longing for Adobo hits.

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