There’s always something about coming that brings with it both excitement and anxiety. Am I still good enough? Do I still know what I’m talking about? Are my readers still there? Am I still relevant? All valid questions swimming in one’s head as you start banging away on your keyboard hoping for some words to drop in and come together in a cohesive manner. But then the excitement of actually creating something again. Writing something that means something to someone helping them decide where to to eat or what dish to try out overpowers and you bang out another set of sentences strung together to become paragraphs and paragraphs into a blog post.
I decided for this “comeback” performance, to stick to something familiar. The friendly. The unapologetic. The one-can-do-no-wrong’s.
So what a fitting way to come back into blogging by setting out to try what SPOT dubbed as the best Crispy Pata in town. (http://www.spot.ph/eatdrink/57124/top-10-crispy-pata-in-manila/2)
You see I’ve had a long standing relationship with pork. Whether it be the chasu kind swimming in ramen, or the roasted pinoy style lechon, or the ever pleasing porcetta, and even the simple breakfast bacon, pork and I we go together. So when I decided to blog again, it was no doubt that pork was going to be my first article.
The best crispy pata in town according to SPOT.ph’s article is located about 30-40 mins away (on a good day) from where I lived. So imagine the horror on my gf’s face when I told her that we would be driving to Quezon City for lunch. A drive from The Fort BGC to Quezon City could take anywhere from a quick 20 mins drive to a 2 hour life changing ordeal. But luckily the EDSA gods smiled upon us and it took us only 25 mins to get to general vicinity of the restaurant.
The place called is called Livestock and according to their facebook page emphasizes “tail to snout cooking”.
Livestock is a pork specialty restaurant inspired by the family’s Hog farm, which was built from ground up by our patriarch since 1977. This restaurant is a testament of our family’s love for pork. The menu is a collection of our version of our most loved pork dishes pulled from multicultural cuisines. It is a showcase of our devotion to creating good food – food you love to enjoy and sit down with family and friends. Food that makes you feel good, warms the heart, nourishing not just the body, but also the soul. No complicated presentations & garnishes, just straightforward dishes that are robust in serving and flavors, pleasurably filling, cooked with much love. And what better way to savor good food, than in a relaxed, lounge-y atmosphere of contemporary Zen inspired ambience with a 200 comfortable seating capacity, served by the friendliest, most accommodating service.
The restaurant was easy enough to spot. It had ample parking space. And despite not having a reservation, we were able to get a table right away. I was a bit worried that it being the a Saturday and us arriving just after lunch rush that we wouldn’t be able to get a table.
As we perused through the menu, I quickly noted how many different pork dishes they had. They had everything. From the crackling lechon belly, to the kapampangan sisig, and the much touted crispy pata.
Here’s what we ordered:
- Tokwa’t Baboy (in lieu of 3-way chicharon and oysters and mussels as they were all out. According to the waiter it was a big drinking night and they had just run out)
- Adobo Lumpia with Kesong Puti
- Crispy Pata
- Garlic Rice
- Bacon Infused IceCream on French Toast
Kitchen service was quick. It took less than 20 mins before our food started arriving. I think they were understaffed for lunch as the waiters could barely keep up with the tables. Not to mention that one table had about 15-20 seniors for a meeting of some sort.
The waiter we had was courteous, helpful, and generally a nice guy, so despite having to compete for his attention with other guests, he generally made up for it.
First up to bat: Abodo Lumpia with Kesong Puti
It was an absolutely good way to start.
Max loved this dish. The lumpia wrapper was thin and crisp and the adobo was cooked just about right. Meat was soft and tender and full of adobo flavor. Only gripe was I wish there was more kesong puti though. It didn’t have the whole peppercorns that usually come with shredded pork adobo which could be an unpleasant experience. I wish they had a dipping sauce of the adobo sauce though instead of the vinegar. My thoughts being since adobo is already both a soy and vinegar combination, I think dipping it in vinegar overpowers the soy garlic pork flavor.
Their tokwa’t baboy made use of a different cut of pork that I am used to. For tokwa’t baboy I would usually use a lechon kawali cut and cook it as such. Add the fried tofu. Drench with soy sauce, shallots, a bit of brown sugar, a hint of ginger and top of it with jalapenos to add just a little bit of kick. Their dish did the pork differently, tofu was just right and the sauce perfectly. The serving though was huge!
When the crispy pata finally arrived, true enough there was a popsicle stick buried deep into the meat.
I quickly dug into it.
Took my first bite.
And my second.
And my third.
It was ok.
The meat was absolutely tender. I used the popsicle to actually separate the meat from the bone. The skin was crispy and the juices oozed out of the meat as I cut into it.
I think they used too much pepper in this one.
I do understand that Crispy Pata is deep fried in oil and served with all its fatty goodness. But I just felt that this one was dripping with it, swimming in oil was the term Max used. A good crispy pata for me would have all the gelatinous goodness sticking between the skin and the meat and that made the entire dish just a bit sticky to the touch. This crispy pata I think had melted that gelatinous goodness straight into the oil and none was left for the meat. Others might like it that way, but for me I miss that particular experience with my crispy pata.
It was ok for me. I’ve had my fair share of crispy pata and to claim that this is number one might be stretching it too far. The meat tasted a bit bland and might require a bit more of marinating or reconfiguring the brine.
I still prefer a Gerry’s Grill or Sentro’s Boneless Crispy Pata.
And to finish everything off, we had the Bacon Infused Ice Cream on French toast.
Its ice cream topped with bacon bits sitting atop of french toast.
You may try it for the twist, but if you are looking for something different, I’d suggest to skip this one. The bacon came out soggy or soft and the ice cream aside from the salty bacon bits tasted like vanilla ice cream with bacon bits. I would have used a candied bacon or made my own ice cream and simmer the milk/cream with bacon so as to really infuse the flavor or saltiness with the sweetness of the ice cream. I would have topped it also with bacon jam on the french toast.
So verdict on my first try of Livestock?
They pass because hey value for money they’re pretty good. The amount of food we ordered could have fed a group of 4 at least. Total bill 1,400 pesos.
I’d definitely be back to try those other cuts that I saw on the other tables. They seem to do a really good pork belly and other porcetta cuts. For the pork lover that is me, I will definitely give these guys another try.
It might have been an off day in the kitchen. Its a really good concept but sadly, execution falls short of expectations.