Carin de Ria (Escondido)
A new Filipino fast food/casual restaurant called Carin de Ria opened in Escondido a little over two months ago. I am practically a newbie when it comes to Filipino food so before we headed there, I asked my trusty Filipino coworker for recommendations! Lumpia, pancit and adobo... sounds like a plan to me!
We easily found the restaurant in the middle of a small business plaza right off the Via Rancho Parkway exit from the 15 and took a seat inside. The restaurant fit approximately 3-4 tables on each side but did have a stream of customers doing pickup or to-go orders. I had to know what made this Filipino restaurant special so the owner Archie informed us that all food was made fresh to order and without MSG! There are also a couple of gluten free and vegetarian options, which helps cater to a bigger crowd (always good for a restaurant)...
To start, we got the Chicharon Crispy Pork Rind Cracklings ($3) complete with a vinegar dip. I do not like a strong vinegar taste but this particular dip was light enough and balanced out the slight salty pork rinds (as I believe they tend to be). It may sound a bit silly too but I really enjoyed dipping these just to hear them crackle * crackle * crackle before I ate them!
Pork rinds and beer are a great combination. We got to try a Filipino beer, San Miguel, the most popular beer in the Philippines. It was very similar to a Heineken in taste from what I could tell. There was also a light version and a few other beer choices available at the restaurant. To the left of the cashier in the back was a TV so diners may be able to catch some sports while visiting during their 4-6 happy hour.
The Classic Lumpia ($3) were probably the best lumpia we've tasted so far. I liked that they weren't completely meat and had some shredded vegetables mixed in. The outside was fried to a nice flaky shell and wasn't oily. These were served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
The pancit ($5) contained glass noodles and stir fried vegetables. I noticed that the carrots had a little snap when biting and carried a strong "fresh carrot" taste for me. Dennis liked this dish because it reminds him of some vietnamese noodles. It wasn't too bad for me but I think a little shredded meat wouldn't hurt either (but that might make it non-filipino)!
The Seared Tofu with Bean Sprouts ($4) used a medium firm tofu in smaller chunks in a mild saute. Since I'm not a fan of beansprouts, especially raw, I liked how the beansprouts blended in with the rest of the dish and were softer to the bite. The carrots were similar to the ones in the pancit. It's a good vegetarian option though.
This was the Adobo Na Baboy ($8) which was pork cutlet. This dish was reminescent of Vietnamese pork and egg in brown sauce (minus the egg) but less thick and less sweet. This tender plate of pork was our favorite entree.
Each entree came with either white rice or brown rice and two sides. It's nice that there wasn't an extra charge for going healthy with the brown rice. There was also four different sides to choose from. One of our sides here was the charred corn salad which I thought didn't have much seasoning so swayed on the plain side for me. The other side was the pepper, jicama & mango salad populated with chunky fresh slices. *crunch crunch*
The Bistek ($8) was a grilled carinderia steak. The center was cooked to a nice medium and topped with carmelized onions, which had a slight vinegar flavoring. The outer edges were cooked a little more but the middle was relatively tender for steak and paired well with the onions. We ordered the other two sides to go with this dish. The Fire Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad had an interesting marinated eggplant with spices. We also nibbled on the refreshing Cucumber Tomato Salad. This was a decent entree as well.
We ended the evening with Banana Turon ($2). These were stuffed full of a yummy banana mixture and a similar fried shell to the lumpia. It was also drizzled with something sweet and was a great finish to our meal. We were super stuffed from sampling so many foods!
For my first Filipino food experience, I was relatively pleased! If I find happen upon another Filipino restaurant or catering, I won't be as clueless! Dennis thought this was the best Filipino food he had tasted in a while plus the prices were reasonable. We don't travel to north county that often but grabbing some more of that delicious lumpia would be a reason to stop by! Fresh is always YUM!
Disclaimer: we were hosted for this meal but the opinions are strictly our own.
Carin de Ria
3440 Del Lago Boulevard
Escondido CA 92029
You had me at the fried pork rinds...those look fabulous! I've never had freshly fried ones. I've tried the ones you get in a bag at the markets and I always thought they tasted stale and bland. Were the ones here seasoned enough so you didn't need the vinegar dipping sauce?
I'm a newbie to Filipino food too. This place looks 'oh so yummy' so I hope to visit it soon.
Happy Valentines day :)
I don't eat pork rinds much either but I thought these were tasty! The food seems pretty healthy here too so that's a plus, but the thing I like best happens to be fried haha!
I dont think these pork rinds are salted on the exterior like the ones you get in the package. From what I recall speaking to the owner, he cures the rinds himself so it has an inherent slight saltiness to it. What make the fresh cooked rinds stand out is their light and crunchy texture. Kinda like fresh house made potato chips vs lays classic. IMO vinegar is not needed and these go great with beer too.
Yum, that makes it even better then! They are indeed good by itself and with the vinegar.
How interesting - I don't think I have seen a sit-down Filipino restaurant around here. I have been to and seen the "to go" places but nothing where it was made to order. I'll have to check this out! I am personally used to see pancit with chicken or pork in it, not veggie only (at least, that's how my mom makes it). The lumpia and the pork rinds look tasty!
I feel like I should go peek in a few other restaurants just to see if there is seating! I think there are at least two in mira mesa so maybe I'll drop by one day. Coworker also mentioned that he often takes to-go from one of those.
I'm glad your first experience with Filipino food was positive and thatyou tried a few other items besides "lumpia" and "pancit". As a 2nd gen. Filipino American, I understand that those foods are considered the most "popular" but it's not really "everyday" food. Those are party foods. If you want to expand your Filipino food horizons, I would suggest pinakbet (a vegetable stew with pork and bagoong, a fermented shrimp paste), tinola (a ginger based soup), sinigang (a soup made with souring agents such as guava, tamarind, or lemon), or a stew like menudo (not like the Mexican menudo), afritada, or mechado. If you want to go for the big guns, try 'dinuguan' (pork blood stew), aka 'chocolate meat'. It's good, I swear it is!
The type of pancit you had used 'sotanghon' noodles, a type of glass noodle made from starch (mung bean or yam or cassava). The type of noodle used will also dictate the name of the pancit, such as Pancit Canton (using egg noodles), Pancit Bihon (bean thread), Pancit Luglug (corn starch).
Sorry for the longwinded response.
Also why is the steak referred to as 'carinderia'? It's confusing because it seems to refer to it as the 'cut of meat'. The term is the same as the restaurant's name which means "native food shop", a precursor to the typical point point (turo turo) Filipino food joints we often see in San Diego. If this is a sit down place, I've got to check this out one of these days.
Wow, I'll refer to your comment next time I check out a Filipino place! This place mainly serves the popular foods and is quicker due to its smaller menu, allowing it to be fresh made! Some of the other questions I think we'd have to defer to the owner or someone who is more knowledgable on this type of thing!
Thanks again, Lynn, for coming by and trying us out. Our restaurant's name is CarinDeRia, and if you are from the Philippines, you would know that it is one of our culinary mainstays where people from all walks of life find it easy to either buy/bring home or eat in and enjoy as-close-as-you-can-get homespun dishes. Our CarinDeRia Steak is named so, being our current best seller, and is an ode to the Filipino Bistek (beef steak). PS Would love to meet caninecologne one of these days, you know where to find us!
Dont like to order pancit from any pino place cuz its always disappointing. Too bad my mom never opened the restaurant she's always dreamed of owning. Her pancit was literally the best. I'm not being biased! Every single person who's ever tasted it (all nationalities) used to say she should open a restaurant. Some people say they never want to order pancit from the Filipino places around town because they just don't hold a candle to hers. She's in her 70's now so she doesn't hardly cook anymore. I'm trying to live up to her God given culinary skills. Anyway, try Conching's in National City. They're pretty good. I go there if I'm in the area. Or, Pinoy Fiesta. And, they have really good portions, especially Conching's.
Aww, I wish I could try that pacit! The one here was just okay for me. Thanks for the additional recommendations though. We came here recently for the lumpia but still haven't tried any other filipino places quite yet. I hope to finally use my Medispa spa gift certificate this year and make it into a foodie visit down south as well! And of course check out the bakery that you mentioned. We hardly ever drive farther than downtown/South Park!
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