Everyone loves a surprise. There is nothing to describe the feeling one gets when opening gifts on Christmas day. The thrill of not knowing the content or just knowing your expectations could be surpassed is simply delightful. I carry this thrill over to food.
In childhood, we had a car pool with the Sison family. It was my tita Lily who would pick us up. How I wished she would be late. Being late meant a surprise either in the form of a hamburger sandwich or an emapanada made by the staff of the UP Home Economics where she worked as supervisor.
I loved those snacks. I remember my first bite into those empanada. The crust had a layered crusty cover with slightly sweet taste. It was crunchy.
The surprise inside was tasty ground pork with few chunks of cheese, raisins, pickle relish and hard cooked egg. I would dream about them.
Through the years, I have learned to make empanada like those.
I simply have a weakness for snacks with fillings. Adobo rolls, asado rolls, siopao, burgers, curry puffs, samosas, sandwiches. Most of the time that anticipation leads to a letdown but occasionally, a bite turns into a surprise that will cause me to hum or make my legs do the kuyakoy (swinging movement).
Whenever I see a sign that offers these tasty delights, there’s no way I will not check out the place. I have been to Conti’s, Dexters, Gateau De Manille. The filling at Dexters is good but I’m not too crazy about the crust.
Any new burger place also has to be sampled. I have tried Craves, Army Navy, Boot Camp, Wham, Good Burger and others I drive by.
Among those I’ve tried, I like Good Burger at Burgundy Tower and Wham the most. Lately though, I find that the burger at Wham tends to crumble. I love the blue-cheese burger with crisscross fries.
One Christmas get-together, a shooting buddy, Romy, gave me a box of goodies. Inside was a dozen chicken empanada. One never knows what taste one would encounter on the first bite.
But what a surprise!
The crust was yellowish, a bit soft and sweet, the filling was full of chicken chunks. As I bit into it further, I tasted the sliced mushrooms and the slight cream sauce. Flavors were subtle and I could tell they did not scrimp on the filling.
The ham-and-cheese roll was also to die for. The mini chocolate cakes were also a winner. The cheese rolls were bite-size. It was like eating Pringles, one couldn’t have only one.
The bread was soft and sweet with a filling of slightly salty ham and creamy cheese.
The chocolate cake came in mini forms good for two. They were sinfully coated with thick chocolate icing, with moist layered chocolate cake inside.
My never-ending search for snacks with inside surprises continues. And like gifts, some are a letdown, others satisfy, still others surprise and surpass expectations. Those are the ones I will continue to search for.
For chicken empanada, cheese rolls and mini chocolate cakes, call 9207282 or 0927-2341990.
Erratum: In my May 31 column, I mentioned the Human Rights Museum; it should be the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.