Well, not really – I was born at Kaiser Sunset, but that’s neither here nor there. I was just trying to incorporate the song! *sigh*
Anyway, I got it in my head to go to Little Ongpin, but not to my favorite location on Beverly in Historic Filipinotown (or HiFi for you trendies), but to the one in Eagle Rock, which opened there maybe a year ago. Why go where I don’t know?
Well, I figured it was about time. Plus, I quite enjoy driving through Northeast L.A. It reminds me of Vermont and Pico, where my father had a dental office during my formative years, back in the day – full of independent shops and business, moms walking with groceries in one hand and a kid in the other, cute little houses where the lawns aren’t too full tires, cars or other miscellaneous crap, you know – before everything got Stapled, Targeted and Bed, Bath & Beyonded (as much as I love those stores). The trouble with driving Northeast L.A. is the curvy, short streets and the penchant for streets to turn into others quickly – like Avenue 40, which turns into Verdugo after Eagle Rock Boulevard. Crikey.
Plus, the shopping center where Little Ongpin is located is dope. It’s full of Filipino and Asian shops – a little market where you can get your fish fried for free (good for folks who don’t like the fishy smell, I’m told), a Valerio’s Bakery, a Filipino video store and a Chinese-Filipino trinkets shop (owned by a Filipino, selling Chinese trinkets). Plus, Little Ongpin and Nanay Gloria’s (a market/restaurant where you can eat) are there, too – what else could you ask for?
The parking, of course, leaves much to be desired. As with most Asian shopping centers, there was hardly any parking, so my advice to you, if you attempt a jaunt out there – if you see parking on the street, take it. It’ll save you circling time.
Now, why all this trouble to go to a tiny restaurant that by all accounts seems hard to get to? This is why:
Now, I’m the type of Filipino who doesn’t really like fast-food Filipino, but this is my exception. In the foreground is miki bihon, and blasphemous as this may sound, Little Ongpin makes it the best, even *sh* over *shhh!* my *SH!!!* mom’s. I also got beefsteak (they didn’t have caldareta – sp? – which is what I was really craving), pork lechon and pork adobo. I know what you’re thinking. This is a meal prior to a heart attack! but you know what? I eat meals like this very rarely, and man, was it good.