I Reminisce I Reminisce; Jeepney Grill in Cerritos
I grew up in mid-city LA, before it was Koreatown, and one of my favorite spots for a plated Filipino meal was Jeepney Grill on 6th street. Jeepney Grill was one of the many Filipino restaurants that ruled Los Angeles in the early 90’s, and although they are long gone, they are definitely not forgotten. (Shout outs to Betsy’s on Vermont, Barrio Fiesta on 6th and Turo Turo on Wilshire). From what I can remember, LA’s Jeepney Grill was delicious, decorative and…there was a real life, bad-ass Jeepney sitting in the middle of the restaurant!
Fast forward to 2012, I’ve heard grumblings about a new Jeepney Grill. Wha? Could it be? I did a little research, set up a breakfast meeting with Splendid Studio Booth, who happen to be from Cerritos, jumped on the 605 and headed to the South Bay. Sure enough, nestled in a strip mall, right next to Red Ribbon and Pinoy Pinay, sits the 2.0 version of my beloved Jeepney Grill. The place, like the original, is a sit down restaurant, but there is no jeep (whomp whomp). There is, however, a fun and colorful gelato counter. The menu is big and has an array of dishes with appetizing pictures to match. I ended up ordering the “pan de sal french toast” and the “adobo flakes” breakfast.
Pan de sal french toast – sounds so good right? Why the heck didn’t I think of that? The toast looks like the American/French version, except the bread is a pan de sal bun, split down the middle and soaked in batter. The morning treat is grilled til lightly golden and is dense and moist. The dish is served with a side of maple syrup and crispy cinnamon chips? WTF? They need to save the cinnamon for the carb concoction and scratch the fried slivers of lumpia wrapper.
The adobo flakes breakfast came with garlic fried rice and two fried eggs. For those of you familiar with the consistency and texture of Chinese dried and shredded pork, this version of our “national dish” omits the sauce, yet retains the distinctive tangy, salty-soy garlic flavors.
The aromatic black pepper rice and over-medium fried eggs were perfect accompaniments. The deep fried lumpia wrapper-bowl was a creative effort, but not necessary. My favorite part of the meal, besides the company (and the affordable price), was the customer service. It was excellent. Our server was approachable, attentive, helpful and friendly. If you want to sit and enjoy Filipino food, give the new Jeepney Grill a try.