Caldereta and kinilaw are two stalwart offerings at the 5 Seasons Grill and Restaurant in Glendale
“Reminds me of home,” declares PinoyWatchDog.com Advertising Manager Carlo Sillona after his first spoonful of calderetang kambing at this new Filipino restaurant in Glendale. Carlo is a caldereta and kilawin devotee, and he and many other Pinoys who swear by these Spanish-inspired delicacies, have discovered that their search for these regional delicacies end at 5 Seasons Grill, a new restaurant in Glendale.
Well, not really new. 5 Seasons used to be Asian Noodles, a Chinese-style eatery on Colorado Bl., just across from another foodie destination in this L.A. suburb, Arko Foods. As a matter of fact, Arko, when it was still a little market more than 20 years ago, was located in the same spot as 5 Seasons is today. But that would be another story for another day. Long story short, the owner of Asian Noodles sold that restaurant to the present owners, but retained all the original offerings of the previous establishment plus an array of Pinoy favorites.
The new owners tweaked that menu a little bit to cater to a wider segment of the Fil-Am community and other ethnic groups. One of the entrees’ that the owners introduced are calderetang kambing (goat) and kilawing kambing. It was a brilliant idea, although not a novel one, as other Filipino restaurants in the Los Angeles Basin offer those same entrees’. But where this restaurant is situated, close to Glendale’s Civic Center, no Filipino restaurant of note offers these culinary specialties.
I do not cook calderetang kambing routinely, but one of my scratch-prepared favorites is calderetang baka, which I prepare routinely. Caldereta and kilawing kambing may not enjoy a wider following compared to that of calderetang baka, but I am aware that it is a staple in some regions of the homeland, like in Ilocandia and some provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. And here in Los Angeles, there are many devotees who would drive several miles to get their calderetang kambing fix.
At 5 Seasons, the honor of preparing this spicy stewed goat meat belongs to 37-year-old Richard Peralta who hails from Pangasinan, one of those places where this iconic meat stew is a party regular. Richard carried with him a caldereta-cooking expertise that was started at a small carinderia that his parents opened in San Juan, Metro Manila. He tells me that he had been cooking since he was 14 years old, and I believe that coming from a kindred spirit.
I ask him how he makes 5 Season’s calderetang kambing, and he began to tell me how he utilizes his many years experience cooking it back home and turning goat meat into a sublime treat. At the risk of giving away his cooking secrets, Richard tells me that the secret is the goat meat itself. “Kung matanda na ang kambing, mas matigas at mas matagal palambutin. Pero yung batang kambing, sandali lang pakuluan.” The stewing process takes as long as several hours or as short at one hour, depending on the goat’s age.
Richard gets the goats from a supplier already skinned. He does the butchering himself, cutting the carcass into bite-sized cubes, then boiling them in a broth seasoned with lots of ginger bits, onions, jalapeno peppers, pineapples, cheese, black pepper, ketchup, tomato paste and, listen to this, Reno hotdogs and olives. He then grills the meat and puts them back in the broth to stew some more until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. I am sure that there are lots of cooks out there who already know this drill, yours truly included. So I will let your imagination run wild. For those who can’t differentiate onions from scallions, the caldereta cooking process is quite ponderous and many notches above boiling water.
Richard, an accomplished cook, also cooks some of the popular Filipino delicacies, like adobo, menudo, bistek, sinigang and afritada, to complement 5 Seasons’ Chinese-inspired offerings like mami, lumpiang Shanghai, pancit guisado, pancit canton, and siopao.
If you want to find out what we are talking about here, please call (818) 548-4277 or be there in person and order these two popular entrees at 5 Seasons Grill and Restaurant, 1428 East Colorado Blvd., Glendale, CA 91205. Find out why 5 Seasons sells them like the proverbial hotcakes. – Rene Villaroman