Today I’d like to share some videos. The first is of me, looking yellow on webcam, and the second is one I found yesterday and just HAVE to share.
In case you’re reading this at work and don’t want to give that up, here’s the lowdown in writing: I’m starting a new fun feature called “Bykle-Upon.” I know that word sounds Icelandic or Greek or something, but trust me, it (sort of) makes sense. Since I’m always on my bike, I figured I’d name it after the term “bykling,” which my fellow bicycle gang members and I used to use instead of “cycling.” I don’t know how it started or why, but “bykling” eventually became such a regular part of our vocabulary that we forgot the word “cycling” even exists. Therefore, “Bykle-upon,” (instead of Stumble-upon) sounded utterly natural to me, and yes, I was part of a bike gang called The Cheese Wheels. We even had a logo. Now that you know just how bad I am, you might want to keep your kids away from me.
The concept behind Bykle-Upon is that I get on my bike, head in any direction, and ride until I happen-upon a restaurant that looks promising. I’ll go in and give it a try, with no help from readers, Google, or Urbanspoon.
The first place I Bykled-upon was Casa Pinoy, a Filipino restaurant located on a stretch of Bridgeport Road that’s largely industrial. I bet there’s a very good chance someone recommended this place after my last Filipino meal, in which case I didn’t really discover a hidden gem at all. But whatever, I still found it. All! By! Myself!
The restaurant is run by a couple, and in addition to their Filipino dishes they offer burgers, pastas, and various other western-style plates. Apparently they cater regularly to the surrounding businesses with orders for delivery and takeout.
I ordered a homemade empanada ($1.50), because who can say no to a homemade empanada? Well, I guess vegetarians could, as the only ones on offer were chicken and beef. I went with the chicken, and enjoyed the contrast of savoury ground filling with the flaky, slightly-sweet crust. They’re such darling, delicious little packages.
On the recommendation of my server, I also had the Relyenong Bangus ($10.99), a national dish of marinated and stuffed milkfish served with rice and vegetables. Milkfish is the most typical fish in Filipino cuisine, and is often eaten for breakfast.
The owner explained that because it takes a long time to prepare, Relyenong Bangus is typically eaten by Filipino families during special occasions; the entire fish must be de-boned, then the meat is mixed with chopped carrot, pepper, potato, peas, soy sauce, and raisins before being stuffed back into the fish. It’s marinated in the juice of a lemon called kalamansi, then baked until the skin is dark and crunchy.
The flavour of the cooked fish was both sweet from the raisins and savoury from the soy sauce, and had a texture similar to cooked tuna. With the rice and sautéed fresh vegetables, it was a fantastic meal, and one that didn’t weigh me down.
Which was helpful because I needed room for dessert! Any flan fans out there? If so, you must try Casa Pinoy’s Leche Flan; it tastes SO BAD FOR YOU, and is therefore wicked good. It was creamy, richly caramelized, and sweet.
It’s a completely decadent way to end a meal, and just a warning: unless you’re the world’s biggest fan of flan, one slice can easily feed 2-3 people. It is rich.
Though the service was a little slow, I felt welcomed and comfortable inside Casa Pinoy, and am altogether quite pleased with this first Bykle-Upon adventure.
Now I’d like to share another video, one that I found yesterday via The New York Times. In it, professional actor Chris Kipiniak performs a dramatic adaptation of a Yelp review, and it is GENIUS.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available.