I used to joke that there are a total of two Filipinos in Irvine and I knew both of them. I reasoned that this was why there was no Filipino restaurants and markets in the Kingdom of Bren and will never be. But then Seafood City opened up and rendered my joke obsolete.
Now on the heels of that news, there's even more Pinoy-ness to celebrate. This next scoop was sent to me by one of those Filipinos I know (our own Anne Marie). She told me that Jason Montelibano, the executive chef at Chapter One: The Modern Local, is now cooking for Hotel Irvine at its Eats Kitchen & Bar.
No, he hasn't revamped the menu into South County's Magic Wok (yet), but he did stick a few Pinoy treasures amongst the burgers and fish & chips. There's a Filipino Egg, in which homemade longanisa is wrapped around a soft-boiled egg–a version of a Scotch Egg that Anne Marie reports is "damn good".
And there's an "Adobo Sandwich," a baguette stuffed with the quintessential Filipino home dish of vinegar-and-soy-sauce braised pork.
Altogether these two dishes represent just a fraction of a menu that still largely caters to the flatbread-burger-salad crowd…but just you wait. If the lines at Jollibee and Grill City (two of the handful of eateries inside Irvine's Seafood City) are any indication, Irvine and its surrounding cities are ready for this and more Filipino food!