Ryan had Friday the 17th off for President’s Day and since the opportunity for us to go out for lunch together is so rare, we grabbed it.  I was craving Asian food and he was craving burgers so he suggested The Aloha Grill (1151 Harry Wurzbach Road San Antonio, TX 78209).  He had been there before with some of his fellow soldiers and thought I’d like it so off we went.

There’s an interesting mix of American, Korean, Filipino and Hawaiian flavors on the menu.  Ryan ordered the Menehune Burgers, the Aloha Grill’s version of sliders.  They come four on a plate and the buns are sweet Hawaiian bread.  The meat has a mild teriyaki/Asian flavor which pairs nicely with the sweetness of the buns.  There were a number of sides offered but Ryan went with the traditional French fries.  He offered me a bite of one of the sliders.  Quite good, and, in hindsight, I wish I’d ordered them.

I ordered a dish that I had I hopes for…like I said, I really had a hankering for Asian food.  I found a pork and cabbage dish on the menu that sounded like it would meet that craving.  Wrong. It was basically just a very bland soup.  I love cabbage and mostly just ate all of it out of the soup.  Luckily I thought to order Kimchi as a side dish so I did get at least a modicum of Asian flavor.  The additional side that came along with the soup and kimchi was an interesting hybrid macaroni/potato salad.  I rather enjoyed this salad because most macaroni salads have this intense tangy Miracle Whip/mayonnaise flavor but this one didn’t.  If I go back, I’ll MOST DEFINITELY get Ryan’s Menehune burgers…but with kimchi, no boring fries for me!

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Today, after a meeting at Aidan’s school, I decided I wanted Filipino food and lucky for me, there are (or were) a couple of Filipino restaurants in the Randolph area.  I was actually supposed to get together with a fellow #foodiemama, Amanda, to eat at Mekeni Filipino Restaurant (Kitty Hawk at Pat Booker) last week.  Unfortunately, I had to cancel because I got called to sub but as it turns out, that was a good thing. I drove by today and they’ve closed!  Luckily, I knew of another Filipino place nearby from the Asian Festival and headed over.  I found the little Tabares Filipino Bakery, Cafe and Market in Randolph Plaza at the intersection of Randolph Blvd. and Pat Booker.  I walked in and saw that there’s a market/grocery on the left and a cafe on the right, separated by the cash register/wrap stand.  While waiting for my food I learned that there is a Filipino cable channel and that there are over 7000 islands in the Philippines.  You learn something new everyday!  What I’d like to know is why there’s a little pocket of Filipinos near the AF Base?  I know why there are always Koreans near Army posts…do we have an AF presence in the PI?

I ordered what I was familiar with from the Asian Festival, adobo chicken with rice, pancit and lumpia. At the festival it was served as a plated dinner…when they brought it out today I could’ve picked my jaw up off the floor.  There was SO much food!!!  I’m pretty sure I could have fed my entire family with all the food!!

A quick food lesson: 

Adobo, the Spanish word for marinade, sauce or seasoning, is the name of a popular dish and cooking process in Philippine cuisine.  Although the name is taken from the Spanish, the cooking method is indigenous to the Philippines.  Typically, pork or chicken, or a combination of both, is slowly cooked in vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, black peppercorns, and soy sauce then often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterward to get the desirable crisped edges. (From Wikipedia)

Pancit or pansit is the term for noodles in Filipino cuisine. Noodles were introduced into the Philippines by the Chinese and have since been adopted into local cuisine. Pancit bihon or bijon is the type usually associated with the word “pancit”, very thin rice noodles fried with soy sauce some citrus, possibly with patis (fermented fish sauce), and some variation of sliced meat and chopped vegetables.  (From Wikipedia)

Lumpia are pastries of Chinese origin similar to fried spring rolls popular in Southeast Asia.  The recipe, both fried and fresh versions, was brought by the Chinese immigrants from the Fujian province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular where they settled in Indonesia and the Philippines. (From Wikipedia)

I immediately dug into the adobo chicken.  There were 6-8 pieces of chicken swimming in delicious, tangy gravy.  I poured the gravy over the sticky rice and ate it with the chicken and the occasional bite of pancit.  The adobo sauce was not overly sour with vinegar flavor.  I tend to enjoy flavors on the tangier side, though, so these were right up my alley.

The lumpia (6 for $4!) came with a tasty sort of tangy ketchup-y type sauce.  Not quite ketchup but not quite sweet and sour sauce.  It was unique and really good.  I quite enjoyed the whole meal and I have plenty of everything (except the lumpia, I ate the rest of those while waiting for Aidan to get out of school…oops!) for lunch tomorrow!  The whole meal was around $18…not bad for something I’ll get at least two meals out of.  If you’re ever out near Randolph AFB or Pat Booker & 1604, give Tabares a shot and say hi to all the sweet little Filipino ladies in there for me! 🙂