This Hole-In-The-Wall Life

Almusal of Champions

You've enjoyed Norms' breakfast specials since the days of Bob Dornan; now graduate to the next level in straightforward, gut-filling morning meals. Behold the Filipino almusal: fried rice, eggs any way and your choice of meat, all served on a paper plate and sold for a pittance. Many of the county's Filipino restaurants offer some type of almusal, but Fountain Valley's Kapamilya offers this breakfast of champions (and mangled Spanish—the wab way to say it is almuerzo) all day and in different formats.

The three constants in Kapamilya's almusal are scoops of fried rice with a faint garlic taste, eggs over easy (you can order them to your liking, but why deny yourself the pleasures of runny yolk?) and a superfluous tomato slice. A list reveals the meats available for consumption. You'll probably order the corned beef due to its familiar name, but you'll be surprised at how tart it tastes. More reassuring to your American palate will be the longanisa—a lean, plump sausage similar to linguiça but with more of a snap—and tapa, beef sweetened with multiple glazings of sugar and soy sauce until it makes Snickers taste like chalk. Another choice, tocino, means "bacon" in Spanish, but at Kapamilya, it's homemade marinated pork slathered with more sugar and soy sauce. Sometimes, you wonder if the almusal is more Willy Wonka creation than wholesome breakfast—but then you slice off another mouthful and shut up.

The rest of Kapamilya's meat choices are a bit more Pinoy. Pork adobo is almost sour but spectacular, usually marinated until the meat dribbles through your fork. Tiny fried squid lend a Southern bent; the dried danggit is not a grizzled gold prospector but something called rabbitfish—whatever it is, it's salty. If you choose to dine like a Filipino, choose the bangus fillet, a fried milkfish with creamy flesh.

No matter what the meat, the almusal just works—the plump grains of rice fill the stomach, the egg adds a yolky tang, the meat provides protein, and the tomato does absolutely nothing. (Sorry: I'm more of an onion guy.) All of this for $4.75—top that, Norms!

Don't want breakfast? Kapamilya serves other Filipino standards such as pansit bihon (tiny, tasteful glass noodles), pork and other meals—but the almusal is what you came for, what you'll eat for breakfast and lunch, and the greatest OC restaurant meal since the two-tacos-for-a-buck special in Huntington Beach. Almusal away!

KAPAMILYA RESTAURANT, 10964 WARNER AVE., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, (714) 593-6212.

 
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