Restaurants 4 through 6 in Little Manila in Carson, CA, USA. More details when available.
4. Casa Filipina Restaurant
22102 and 22104 S. Main St.
Carson, CA 90745
phone:310-835-5224, but sit-down menu says 310-835-5507 or 310-835-2193.
8/9/99 - This is two restaurants. 22104 is a full-service place with table service and a big menu. Everything is a la carte. Dishes from $4.50 to $14.95, most main dishes around $8 or $9, with a few combinations up to $20. This is one of the two full-service Filipino restaurants on the tour. On Saturday entertainment starts a 8 p.m. This section is open late some nights for Karaoke. Call to verify and for details. 22102 is fast food with combo plates: 1 item at $2.50, 2 items at $3.50, and 3 items at $4.50. I forgot to ask about days and hours, so call.
7/24/99 - This is the review of the fast-food section. I had such a good experience last night at Tita Celia (12) that I went back to try another place. It was about 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, and I drove around to see what was happening. Nobody was busy. Then I saw a new sign, something about a summer special for $2.99. They give you two items plus steamed rice and a small bowl of soup for 2.99, rather than the regular price of $3.50. This applies the fast food, steam table section.
I got beef mechado, pork with tofu and black beans, steamed rice, and vegetable soup. The beef was a stew with about one piece of potato and maybe four chunks of beef. Maybe a quarter of the beef was fat, but it was easy to cut off. The pork dish, also a stew, had about two chunks of tofu and three of meat, but the pork was almost all fat. Just a taste of meat. The rice was cold and hard as a rock, but when I complained she brought me a warm portion. The soup was a small bowl of vegetable broth with two pieces of vegetables. They also had a few good, quick pickles in the help-yourself section.
The beef was tender with good flavor, and I'd get it again. I was disappointed by the fatty pork, but the non-fat items tasted good. I'd probably get it again also, but I'd be sure to ask for some meat. The cold rice was sloppy, but she fixed it. For vegetable soup it was ok. I was impressed by the meat sauces, as good as or maybe better than Tita Celia. But, in every other way Tita Celia was better, so they move into first place. All these places have more items then I can mention. Like, these guys had a pork and eggplant patty that sounds good. They also had a couple of free Filipino newspapers.
8/7/99 - This is a review of the full-service section. Fate left the controversial review for the last Filipino restaurant in this area. It's Saturday night, and I got there about 6 p.m. The girl said there's no waiter till 6:30 p.m., and she invited me to sit and wait. I figured I'd read the menu, and there were a few dishes marked "NEW" that weren't on my to-go menu. After a while the waiter came over. I wanted to try a new, more complicated dish, but I decided to stay with pork adobo (called adobong baboy here) so I could compare it to the other places. I asked, and the waiter said the dish came with "potatoes and something." I figured he meant the "something" was soup, vegetables, or salad, something like that. Another waiter brought the food, just a plate of pork. I asked for the other stuff, and the waiter says everything was a la carte. I bitched, and the waiter said he'd bring rice. He came back with a medium bowl of sticky, steamed rice.
There was a lot of pork on an oval serving platter. It was enough for two, three, or more people to split. They were larger chunks of pork, and I just tried a few of the best looking chunks. These were tender, but slightly stringy, and had some fat on the outside. The disappointing part was the sauce. It was so mild it didn't have much flavor. The rice was just a glob of sticky stuff. I got it to go, and I'll report when I finish the leftovers.
8/10/99 - Bad news on the leftovers. I got them quickly into my 34F degree refrigerator. I heated up some tonight, and it tasted good, but I got sick within two hours. And again in an hour.
I put a $10 bill on the table, and the waiter came back with coins. The pork was $7.25, so with tax it should be $7.85. I asked, and he had charged me $1.50 for rice (a total of $9.47). He never showed me a bill, and I don't think he brought 53-cents in change. Anyway, I bitched about being brought the rice without being told I'd be charged. Especially when the first waiter said the meal included "potatoes and something." I told him I'd leave a $1.50 tip, I left him the rice. The two waiters should be in jail for running a scam.
I left and called and asked for the owner. I explained the situation, and she took the waiters' side, but she said I could get my money back. 8/21/99 - And, I remembered, she tried to tell me they didn't even serve potatoes, but they're listed on the menu with the combos; check for yourself. I wasn't sure if she meant $9.47 or $1.62. I was offered $1.50, got $1.50 plus tax, but because I may have been scammed or at least mislead by the waiters and the owner, I should have gone for the whole $9.47.
Both sections use the same kitchen and probably the same cook. The tables were dirty, and I had to ask for a knife. No condiments, not even salt and pepper. I got one glass of ice water and no refill. I was the only person in the restaurant. The sit-down side had better quality pork with less taste. The fast-food side had low-quality pork with more flavor. Even if you get this to go and split the pork between three people and make you own rice you're paying $2.42 per person plus tax for bland food. And there's no soup. Value alone puts them tied for last place. An a la carte meal here with just soup, rice, vegetable, and a main dish could add up to $39.90 plus tax per my to-go menu. You decide.
5. Casa Filipina Bakery
22200 S. Main St.
Carson CA, 90745
I went in to look, but no one came to the counter. Just a bakery.
22200 S. Main St.
Carson CA 90745
9/1/99 - A new sign says starting today they will be closed every Monday. Tue - Fri 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sat and Sun 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Another says they do breakfast Saturday and Sunday starting at 7:30 a.m. with all items at or under $3.00.
7/25/99 - I returned Sunday, about noon to try a third restaurant. First I stopped in Manila Sunrise (2), but didn't see anything that caught my eye. Then I went here, and the same thing. The pork adobo was dried out, and a beef dish was made with ground meat. I almost ordered a pork stew, but thankfully the lady gave me a sample which I didn't like. It had an unpleasant taste. I got the one item combo with something like Chinese B.B.Q. pork which came with steamed rice and a small bowl of beef broth with traces of vegetables. I forgot the price, think it was $2.75. No menu to go.
The pork was sliced and served in a slightly sweet red sauce. It should be used as an appetizer, not as a meal, but this was ok. It might be spelled tocino. This should be done with pork loin, it was just a little too fatty for me. The rice and the beef soup were good. They also had good quick pickles. In all these places keep an eye out for condiments around the cash register and/or plasticware. You'll probably see vinegar, hot sauces, hot peppers, etc. At least two places had serve-yourself ice water.
My fault, this was a stupid choice to evaluate the restaurant. Of the three I tried so far I'll put this in third place till I can return. Tita Celia (12) is still in first place. There are a couple of tables in the steam-table room, but just to the right is an open, central courtyard with vegetation and two tables. I don't usually sit outside, but I did here. Further to the right, through a door is a larger room with many tables.