Feasting on Filipino Fusion at Mercury Lounge
Last night, Mercury Lounge chef Dominic Ainza showcased Filipino food like SFoodie's never seen before. Think kare-kare dumplings, pinakbet pizza, and tocino truffles ― purists may have been crying blasphemy, but we thought Ainza's menu represented Filipino creativity at its best.
Jun Belen Mercury Lounge's Dominc Ainza turned embutido, Filipino-style meatloaf, into a variation on Spam musubi.
Take Ainza's kare-kare, oxtail stewed in a sauce thickened with ground rice and peanuts. Ainza wrapped savory morsels of oxtail in delicate dumpling skins and served them with bagoong, Filipino fermented shrimp paste.
His embutido, Filipino-style meatloaf stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and andouille sausage, was a playful take on the infamous Spam musubi. His laing, collared greens and black-eyed peas in spicy coconut milk, was a delicious Southern twist on the fiery Bicolano vegetable stew.
Ainza spooned pinakbet ― a kind of ratatouille of long beans, onions, and tomatoes in shrimp paste ― worked surprisingly well served on flatbread, topped with mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. And his tocino truffles, a dessert he collaborated on with Filipino food blogger Jo Boston-KwanHull, were a huge hit. The crunchy bits of sweet-salty tocino (cured pork) were truly delightful.
Last night's dinner was organized by Dishcrawl's Tracy Lee and Boston-KwanHull as part of a Filipino restaurant series. The next Filipino Dishcrawl is scheduled for South San Francisco's Intramuros on Feb. 24. Tickets are now available through Eventbrite.