Birthday Lunch at Barrio Fiesta (Milpitas, CA)
One of my birthday wishes came true this year which was to have my whole family celebrate with me over a sumptuous feast. As the celebrant, I treated my whole family to lunch. It was my pleasure to see them enjoy themselves, so I told them to “just order whatever you want!”
Boy, the power of those 5 words on my family’s appetite! They did not hold back that our server had to stop them from ordering more! LOL! They ordered TWO of the following:
- Crispy Pata (Deep-fried crispy pork thigh)
- Beef Kalderata (Beef stewed in tomato sauce)
- Kare-Kare (Beef inpeanut sauce served with bagoong or shrimp paste)
- Pancit: Canton and Guisado (Stir-fried egg and rice noodles)
- Beef Nilaga
- Chicharon Bulakbak (Crispy intestines)
- Crab Omelet
An order each of:
- Lumpia Shanghai (Mini eggrolls)
- Sauteed Bittermelon
- Chicken Adobo (chicken marinated in vinegar, soy sauce and garlic)
Drinks and dessert:
- 6 orders of Sago’t Gulaman (tapioca and jelly drink)
- 3 orders of Halo-Halo (shaved ice with jellies, fruits and topped with an ice cream scoop)
My family told our server that it was my birthday (even though I told them not to!) when I got up to use the bathroom. I was given a complimentary dish of ube and mango ice creams with a lit candle on it which I blew while my family sang “Happy Birthday” off-key! LOL!
It was a very enjoyable lunch because I was surrounded by everyone I love: my mom and dad, my BF, sister, brother, nephews and niece, brother/sister-in-law, and my aunt and uncle.
It was my pleasure to see them happy and laughing. However, my family’s consensus on the food was unfortunately a “thumbs-down.” My mom’s specialty is kare-kare which she makes from scratch. Her kare-kare is famous among friends and family. My mom and sister-in-law are great cooks. My brother-in-law makes killer sisig! Even my dad and uncle make really delicious paella. My parents dine out all over Metro Manila and beyond every Sunday on their date night, so they know their Filipino food.
The kare-kare at Barrio Fiesta tasted like cornstarch and lacking in peanut flavor. The chicken adobo was dry and tasted like it was re-heated so many times. My favorite was the crispy pata! Crispy skin and moist and flavorful meat! I will go back for this!
Nothing was bad but it did not meet our expectations of really delicious authentic Filipino food. The venue was decorated in Filipiana (bamboo and banana leaves), and dishes were served in traditional Filipino dishes like clay pot, rice cooker, etc. It is a nice venue to experience a little bit of the Philippines.
In the tradition of my food reviews, I often include our tab for future reference, value comparisons with other similar establishments and even inflation! (And for my personal record.) Our final tab was $390 which includes tax, service charge and extra tip that I added since our server was friendly and patient.
Not really a bad deal for 13 people since we took home half of the dishes — untouched! We could have gotten away with just half of what we ordered. Everyone went home happy, full and carrying tons of leftovers for 2 more meals!