July 16, 2013 5 Comments
(adj) befitting or characteristic of those who incline to social exclusiveness
Ahh… cliques. That societal phenomenon where a group of people bestow upon each other a certain level and an unspoken bond of exclusivity, and cling to each other like there’s no tomorrow. Ok, maybe that descriptor’s taking it a bit too far, but you get what I mean. :-P Neither wrong nor right, for better or for worse, it just happens. Similar-minded folks (or most of the times, of different strokes) gravitate toward each other and before they know it, they’ve already come up with a cheesy label to call each other. Actually, that group name is one of the telltale signs that you’re in one.
Years of being a social butterfly have gifted me with a select few: my Katipips from UP, my Bubong Pips from HP, and my Wednesday Group from ADB. (Notice the use of the possessive pronoun “my”?) Now that I think about it, listing that reads a lot like my CV, and that says a lot. Can’t go wrong with having a solid support group wherever you are, right?
What follows is a story about a recent lunch I had with my newest one. The sometimes “clean“, at times “dirty“, almost always crazy collective that has adopted me under their folds almost eight months in at my new company – the Bullies. (Woohoo! World premier ang peg! Haha!)
Last week’s Tuesday was a jovial one. Olivia and Nerison just celebrated their corporate anniversary, while Shelley reached her sixth month in the company. I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing, but milestones like these are reason enough for Filipinos to be in a festive mood. And feast we did at one of Olivia’s favorite restaurants, Izakaya Kikufuji.
More commonly referred to as simply Kikufuji, it doesn’t fall short on the aspect of authenticity. It’s a vibe one gets even with just that particular smell when one first steps in the izakaya. With interiors replete with wooden elements, display after display peppered with bottles of both untouched and partially consumed wines, and, most importantly, a considerable percentage of the diners Japanese, it’s no wonder it is considered a Little Tokyo institution.
As for the food, the Bullies were fortunate enough to have a lowlah Olivia. See, I did not mean it lightly when I alluded to her knowledge of Kikufuji earlier. Evidence #1. Even before she arrived, she’s already placed an order good for our group. Evidence #2: She did so over a quick phone call with a server she knew by the first name. Evidence #3: Everything that was eventually laid out in front of us lived up to the hype. O ha. Ansabe? Haha!
Setting the mood for a hearty meal, we started off with some tea (with an option to go either hot or cold), a light salad of cabbages, tomatoes and cucumber, and spicy tuna salad:
Appetites whet, we proceeded to the heavier dishes: beef teppan, pork katsudon, chicken teriyaki, and salmon and tuna sashimi over rice.
But wait, as if those were not enough (well, in reality, owing to the nature of our tummies, they weren’t :-P) there’s more! Three humongous plates of these:
Ha! Check out the marbling on that beef! Gorgeous yeah?
Now I’m not sure if this qualifies as teppanyaki since the cooking surface used is a cast iron pan instead of an iron griddle, but what the heck. Proper semantics aside, slabs of pork fat were rendered and served as the non-stick agent, after which the beef was quickly cooked, fried if you may, after being dipped in some sort of sauce. Please don’t blame me if I did not get the exact terminologies. (Points to Olivia :-P)
I had to run to a meeting so I wasn’t able to grab dessert afterwards, but everyone who stayed had complimentary fruit of the day (bananas that Tuesday) and iced coffee jelly. I am still waiting for their apologies (and their make-up munchkins) for not getting me a takeout of the caffeinated treat.
You know those meals where you’re aware that you’ve eaten so much and that you know you’re full yet you feel otherwise? It’s a chillax, leisurely meal, coupled with a raucous group that doesn’t fail to insert teasing every chance they get, that give you that.
Thanks again my Bullies! Cheers for indulging my “No one touches the food until I’ve taken photos!” rule. Haha! Here’s to more gustatory adventures and years of friendship ahead. :-)
Izakaya Kikufuji, Little Tokyo
2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City, Philippines
Telephone: +632 893 7319