At the Tienda-A A +A
Saturday, August 31, 2013
I KNOW, I know. I may be among the Dabawenyos who have visited Tienda del Mercado too late, but hey, I still made it even if it was already to be the last weekend there of Gorilla Grill.
I was in a vacuum, no friends in sight, when Tintin Loyola pm’d inviting me to try Gorilla Grill at the Tienda along Acacia Street just across the read edge of the Ateneo Matina campus. They’ll be there, she added. Yey. Instant group.
I invited Carlos, too, anyway, just to drag a familiar companion to these eating binges.
There right beside the Gorilla booth were Tintin and Tata and a bunch of female friends. There was a crowd in fact, and they looked all ready to eat.
I walked around, looking at the grille, and feeling my arteries clog. They were grilling slabs of pork belly, and making a lot of stuff in large portions and no hint of greens I can eat them with.
The young man earlier introduced to me as one of two chefs offered to make me small portions if I want to try them all. Like, all? I backed out and asked Tin what they were having.
They already ordered, Tin assured me, and by the looks of it, they ordered a lot.
I decided: makikain, knowing I will have to finish up whatever I will be ordering and will thus not be able to eat as many of the offerings.
Background: the grill is a partnership of two friends, Michael Lawrence “Mykie” Hao and Charlon Jay “Chino” San Jose, who both went to culinary school but have yet to open their own restaurants. It’s a partnership for the season.
Now keep an eye out for these two young chefs because they know their food.
Their steaks are just right, tender too. But what can grab your palate and drag you back to the kitchen area to see how they’re doing it are the gambas and the native chicken lechon.
Uh, yes, lechon manok may be too mainstream, hoi polloi even, it’s in every corner of Davao City; but wait till you taste theirs. The greater joy is seeing among the lush green stuffings the liver, gizzard and heart giving the bones its finger-licking goodness, you will not mind nibbling on the bones till the conversations end.
But on that night, conversation was non-stop, and so the eating too went on.
If you are of regular tummy size, be sure to order a philly steak sandwich only if you have a companion. I saw the sandwich shared around and still a reinforcement had to be called in, and it wasn’t because it wasn’t good. It was yummy. It’s just too much.
Even the grilled pork belly was yummy.
Just a taste of this and that, without rice at that (may bayad raw ang rice, Ana Lopez was constantly reminding us, as a joke of course!), I was already very full even before Carlos arrived.
Well, Carlos trying to stick to a low-intake diet and is thus not a good eating companion these days, except that, all other gobblers are not around. Life…
But that’s it for the season as they take a break and wait for Tienda to liven up again.
Tienda, as you should know, is an open lot rigged with tents just like those other tiendas in some other cities. It goes up during festival seasons, like Kadayawan this August, Araw ng Dabaw in March and yes, the eating binge month of December. August is now over, and so they all pack up.
But promise. Keep an eye on these two young lads. They know their food. Now, where am I going to get that lechong manok while they’re taking a break? Oh, sorrow of all sorrows…
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 01, 2013.