Imelda at La Tienda

Something I wrote back in January, 2003 (reminded of this by the latest and most improbable hit in Manila, the Imelda documentary):

Saw Sex and Lucia, and after the screening, asked the director of Instituto Cervantes where he'd eat for good Spanish food, and he mentions La Tienda. So we went there.

Salad was slices of smoked blue marlin over greens with sweet white onions, capers, julienned beets, and a green & black olive vinaigrette. Soup was sopas de mariscos--clams, shrimps, squid and fish in a soup so thick and flavorful and garlicky they must have pureed a whole mess of seafood (plus cloves of garlic) for the broth and THEN added the chunks and bits of whole meat after.

Main course was baked lapu-lapu (I think that's snapper), prawns and squid in a white wine, toasted garlic and onions sauce. The onions were so sweet, they seemed candied. The other main course was lamb shank in garlic sauce--falling off the bone tender lamb in a thick and creamy and faintly sweet garlic sauce.

Dessert was pan de sal (dinner roll) ice cream with pureed olives and tomato jam. It was delicious--sweet, bread-flavored ice cream with a trace of cummin, over a layer of olive puree, and a bottom of sweet and faintly tart tomatoes.

Great food. We take pride in having the best Spanish food in Asia, better than you can get in far wealthier Hong Kong. It's one benefit of being opppressed by the Spaniards for four hundred years.

Plenty of Japanese clients--the place was full. The waitress also recommended the dessert to a pair of Japanese execs, who looked doubtful till she pointed at our table. So they ordered it. They were having fun arguing over the actual contents of the dish with the waitress when we left...

Oh, and guess who sat behind us, impeccably dressed and made up and all: Imelda Marcos. The Iron Butterfly has to eat her Spanish food in a restaurant now, like everybody else...that said, she was one classy looking lady, even with extensive plastic surgery, even at her age.

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