Saturday, May 23, 2009

Four For A Dollar Lumpia @ Olga's Food Place

The blue awninged Filipino Lumpia spot.. Olga's Food Place is what is written on their business card. The white house with the white Corvette off Linda Vista Rd is technically on Morley, a narrow parallel street to Linda Vista Rd that is an access way to many homes and apartments directly opposite of the Linda Vista Shopping Center.

Olga's reminds me a lot of the kind of places I used to hang out with my close friends after school in my pre-teen years. We got some quick eats that would tie us until dinner but most important for cheap so that we have some change left to compete high scores on the even then outdated arcade games.

Only here the plastic wrapped Yakisoba-pan (a Yakisoba Sandwich!?) and 10-Yen (~dime) Chiroru Choco are replaced by Lumpia. Four for a buck and fried to order while you wait creating those high scores in distinctive Casio sounding music.. Ok not exactly in that the cowlick haired punky me behind the large glass game console is now replaced by a savvy iPhone sporting kid with tattoos that expresses his favorite bands. The only persons I was aware of with tattoos back in my days.. were the feared kind! And they were not allowed in public baths.

Anyhow I very quickly warn here that I know close to nothing about Filipino Food. My first experience with Lumpias were from a friend's GF in college and they had raisins in them. I loved it. These Lumpias are probably smaller in size than others (and without raisins) but piping hot, hot. The free dipping sauce provided were the standard spicy-sweet-sour Thai egg roll kind.

There are steam trays with some dishes where two-item combos can be purchased for $5.

I picked out a spicy string beans with pumpkin in coconut milk dish, Chicken Adobo, and fish (Diang?) fried rice.

I loved the pumpkin with string beans. A light coconut curry flavored and medium spicy that as far as I can tell was vegetarian. The Chicken Adobo was a familiar light soy sauce flavored chicken with a hint of bay leaves while the fried rice was an interesting twist with a mixture of flaky salty fish. I ate it on the comfortable office furniture type seating while wishing I had ordered more Lumpia to-go.

I forgot to ask the extremely kind gentleman behind the steam trays his name but I really wished I was brave enough to ask for a photo. His mustache, longer hair, and loose discotheque-ish shirt were all so very charming, especially his personality. Chances are you will be asked if you are part Filipino. I almost wanted to say yes so to not disappoint him. :)

Munggo was my second visit's exploration dish and was explained as a Mung Bean and seafood stew. Here as far as I can tell with bitter melons, onions, squid or octopus, tiny clams, white fish.. etc. When experimenting with one (as such the Munggo) I like to hedge my bets with another tried and true.. So had it with Chicken Adobo again and also together with a very simple chicken Pancit.

The munggo as you can imagine was a cornucopia of flavor and texture but also tied together by the stewing. Lightly salty and briny, and the mung bean which pretty much reminded me of lentils nice. For me a little of this went a long way with my Pancit which was good because I had a whole lot of it.

I asked for two orders of Lumpia today having half of it later in the evening. Eight for two bucks. Obvious simple arithmetic, haha, but I really did think these were a bargain. They take a few minutes to come out so order them first thing.

I had my lunch this day on their little balcony facing the shopping center. Yes, I might as well have been spinning a sign but it was my volunteered contribution. It was great fun.

Btw did you know.. Linda Vista in Spanish means "Pretty View"?

Also according to Wiki, "Linda Vista was home of the very first mall-type shopping center in the United States, which was dedicated by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt herself, in honor of this new planned community with all the amenities that an American could want, including a movie theater."

That's right. In fact "Many of the homes in Linda Vista were built in 1940 as part of a government project to house aircraft workers for the war effort.."

While I love reading about and at times even search out for myself the best __ a particular city or town has to offer most times my quest is for different reasons. I don't rate, "star," or even rarely recommend a place. I just simply enjoy writing (and photo-documenting) about it while learning something in the process. Olga's also serves Cuban food. I think I'll do some research on that today.. :)

Olga's Food Place, 2314 Morley St., Linda Vista, CA 92111


Masa Assassin said...

yummm I have a lumpia addiction. When ever I order a large tray for parties I end up eating waaaayyyyy to much lumpia. I want to check this place out.

Dennis K. said...

Hi MA, thankfully these were hot or I would've stuffed way too many of them in my face too.. I loved your squash blossom quesadilla post btw!

KirkK said...

Hi Dennis - Been here a couple of times.....nice couple, Rocky is the very friendly Guy, and his wife is Olga. Have you sampled the Cuban food they serve on Friday's and Saturdays? I'm going to check those out before doing a post.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirk, thanks for the info on the Cuban they serve. I'll have to do a part two for those.. Rocky is awesome. Did he ask if you were part Filipino too?! ;)

caninecologne said...

hi there! i'm glad that you posted on this place. i was curious about it after driving by it during my rare trips to linda vista (to go either sab e lee or viend dong III, which is now tuan phat supermarket). it's hard to miss that Filipino sign outside.

that fish is called daing. it is fish that's marinated in vinegar, garlic and black pepper and then fried.

thanks for a very informative post - i'll be sure to check it out next time i'm up in the area! :)

Dennis K. said...

Thanks CC! I'm in my infancy with Filipino cuisine as you can tell so any info is great help. Rocky is a super cool guy and places like Olga's bring a smile to my face. :)

caninecologne said...

actually the fish dish or style of cooking is called daing. not the fish itself. my parents like to make it with 'bangus' (aka milkfish) which has a lot of bones!

btw, i've been enjoying your blog (found it thru kirk's)...

if you want to try a really squah blossom quesadilla, try it at Ranas, which is a Mexico City style eatery located at the Kenwood exit off the 94 (like you're on your way to Rancho San Diego area). they have some really unusual offerings there.

my gripe about filipino food - there's not a lot of "nice" sit down places. the majority are mom and pop "point point"/steam table places with food that's been sitting out for who knows how long. not that there's anything wrong with those types of places, but our cuisine continues to be marginalized and eclipsed by other mainstream Asian cuisines, when it's just as exciting (in my opinion). sorry for rambling.

Dennis K. said...

Hi CC, thanks for the additional info and also the tip to Ranas! I've been having a craving for Mexican food lately but been wanting to try a new spot.
I hear ya about your gripe. It all boils down to having a population to sustain such I guess. I'm curious now in trying some made to order Filipino food.. At least I know where to get some Lumpias.. :)
Please let me know if you have any suggestions for Lechon!

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - check out kirk's old posts on ranas too.

i don't usually eat lechon much, but you can check out kirk's blog. he knows his way 'round Filipino food and he's not even Filipino! plus, if you love PORK,you must try SISIG! again, check his blog for the places he'd recommend as well as posts on sisig and lechon.

i usually order my filipino food down south (i live in chula vista). usually at JNC Pinoy Foodmart. My sister likes ordering from Lola's Grill as well. There's tons more places in National City, but sadly, I'm not an expert on what's good and what' s not over there.

there's the mentaliy among filipinos that, 'why bother going to a filipino restaurant when i can either make it myself or get it from (insert family member here)?" it's that kind of crabby and may i add, cheap mentality that kills places that try to start up nice Filipino spots, like the recently opened and closed Masarap in the Gaslamp It opened in January and closed the same month! it had promise but the economy and some other shadiness was its downfall (from what i hear). in the bay area, there's ton of really nice Filipino restaurants that aren't point-point places. my family and i intend to hit some up during our upcoming road trip.

looking forward to your future posts...

Anonymous said...

4 for a dolla? Sounds like a perfect midnight snack(good thinking on ordering more for later).

Dennis K. said...

Hi CC, thanks again for all the info! I guess it's good to be frugal sometimes.. especially when certain restaurants only serve marginally better food than what one can have at home (at least some homes..). Sorry so random but wouldn't a Filipino Iron Chef in the lineup be awesome?!! Anyway, I hope you eventually post about your coming trip and the meals you had. Looking forward! :)

Hi BB, next time I'm ordering a dozen for umm... three bucks!