Maharlika: Filipino Breakfast Magic / by Mike Dawson

I swore off brunch many years ago before leaving NYC for Seattle. I still eat a weekend meal involving eggs around 1PM every Sunday with my friend Emily, but I aggressively avoided a.) anything more than a ten minute walk from my house, b.) anything that had opened in the past six months, and c.) any brunch group larger than three people. I couldn't handle waiting in line for my first meal of the day, in a restaurant that didn't take reservations, and wouldn't sit anything less than a full party. 

But in the last few months I've mellowed. I've managed to generally eat a solid meal early in the day, gotten to the gym, and had several cups of coffee before venturing on a train to suffer the indignities of people really excited to see and be seen drinking their first mimosa of the day.

Modern love

Last week, I had a wonderful meal with Kasumi at Ngam, but sadly got few workable pictures of the delicious meat skewers, sweet and savory banana pancake, and awesome thai ice tea ice cream we shared. The meal was so good I briefly felt love for the teens texting in front of us and ignoring each other and the incredibly wealthy foreign family to our left. We plan to return in the near future and hopefully this time I'll have the right lens/camera equipment.

This weekend, my friend Colin and I went to Maharlika, keeping with the theme of the cuisine formerly known as "Asian fusion." I had prepared poorly. I had only eaten a low-fat yoghurt in the early AM and then worked out intensely. I was short of caffeine and got a text on my walk over informing me we couldn't be seated until I arrived. I walked in and Colin was waiting at the bar in an essentially empty restaurant. The menu did little to inform an American reader what the various Filipino delicacies were. The information architecture was off. The waiter was helpful though and once my initial wave of hangry wore off we were treated to an amazing meal.

First off, was the Eggs Imelda, described to Colin as "our version of Eggs Florentine." However, no one had prepared us for the huge head-on prawns.

Eggs Imelda

I became incredibly jealous until my plate came out. Taro Root Chicken and Waffles, with a sardine butter and caramelized syrup. It was sweet and rich and fatty and salty and umami and wonderful.

Flip'D Chicken and Ube Waffle

I don't remember much after that. The restaurant filled up and I didn't care. My stomach was happy and so was I.


Colin, however, remained skeptical about the world. Oh, Colin!