Every so often we yearn for that Filipino fix. We long for the flavors we grew up with. Every Filipino understands that yearning. The farther away we are from home, the more we miss it. There is nothing like the familiarity of those aromas that send our senses spinning : patis (fish sauce) in a garlic-onions saute, toyo (soy sauce) mixed with freshly squeezed calamansi (the Filipino lime), or the fiery siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) in vinegar dipping sauce.
So one day, while walking in the Gramercy area of the Big Apple, we stumbled upon this quaint, corner bakery. Lo and behold, to our delight it was a Filipino bakery. Even better, we discovered they had a Filipino buffet at very affordable New York city prices. We walked in and had lunch, merienda (afternoon snack) and dinner, in that order, all on the same day. That’s how comfortable the owners made us feel, we didn’t want to leave!
“There are Filipinos outside and they’re taking photos of the store and themselves,” the owners exclaimed to each other. Charming, pretty Filipina owner, Marissa T. Beck smiled at us through the glass door. “Hello, come inside!” she invited. Without hesitation we gladly walked in from the cold. A warm welcoming atmosphere awaited us. We were at Pan de Sal Pattiserie and Resto Bar in mid-Manhattan for the first time and we felt like we had just walked into a dear aunt’s home. It was sheer comfort all over. The food, the comfortable seating, the superb service made us stay and linger for long time. What set them apart from other restaurants I’ve been to? It was just like eating at mom’s !
We came back a second time a few weeks after and had a sumptuous lunch at their sister restaurant Grill 21. The food was just what we needed to appease our Filipino food cravings.
As a bonus, Grill 21 owners Marissa and Henry Beck obliged us with an easy to do recipe for the Sarsiadong Tilapia we savagely attacked with a platter of rice. For the complete story and how to get to Pan de Sal Pattiserie & Resto Bar and Grill 21 Restaurant plus the recipe for this amazing Tilapia dish, head on to my article “Like Eating at Mom’s” on the ezine PositivelyFilipino.com. I’m positive you’ll enjoy the piece and everything else in this edition because it’s all about being Filipino and how proud we are of it.
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